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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

15-18 vacancies
33 trainees
141 partners
850 staff

Leading UK and International law firm with broad practice areas across business services, real estate and private individuals.

Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP.

More info

Vacation schemes

To apply for our Easter or summer vacation scheme in 2023, please complete our online application form by accessing:

Recruitment is conducted on a rolling basis. Applications must be submitted online and assessment centres typically start in December and are completed by March. Our assessment centres are made up of three exercises: a written assessment, a one on one interview and a simulation client interview. 

Upon completion of the scheme you will be asked to submit an application for the training contract. Those selected will take part in an interview with a partner and member of HR, which will also incorporate a presentation based on a legal case study. 

Deadline: 3 January 2023 (recruitment is conducted on a rolling basis).

Training contracts

To apply for a training contract to start in 2025, please complete our online application form by accessing:

All of our applications are received online and assessments are conducted on a rolling basis. To avoid disappointment, please apply as early as possible as places may already have been filled by the deadline date.

First stage

The first stage consists of a competency based telephone interview with a member of the early careers team.

Second stage

You will be required to complete a written assessment and a critical thinking test.

Third stage

The final stage consists of an interview with a partner and member of the HR team, which will also incorporate a presentation based on a legal case study. 

For the best start to your career, we recommend applying for one of our vacation schemes, as they offer real insight into what it is like to work at Penningtons Manches Cooper. A large proportion of our training contract positions are recruited through our vacation scheme, and if this is your end goal, applying for and completing the vacation scheme is a good route to take. 

Deadline: end of April 2023 (recruitment is conducted on a rolling basis).

Penningtons Manches Cooper is an equal opportunities employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

Applications to

Mrs Helen Lewis

Method of application

Online Application Form

Method of assessment

  • Assessment centre
  • HR-led interview
  • Partner interview
  • Presentation
  • Psychometric testing
  • Written exercise

Penningtons Manches Cooper is a leading UK and international law firm which provides high quality legal advice tailored to both businesses and individuals. Today, we have 130 partners and over 880 people in total across our UK and international offices.

We are a full service firm with high ranking lawyers in a multitude of practice areas. Through a strong team ethic and an emphasis on collaboration, we are able to use our extensive technical knowledge and unparalleled market insight to solve complex legal and strategic issues.

Among our clients we count multi-national corporations, public companies, professional partnerships, banks and financial institutions as well as private individuals, owner managed businesses and start-ups.

The firm has enjoyed substantial growth in recent years, including the merger with shipping, international trade and finance specialist Thomas Cooper in July 2019. We have a continuing commitment to excellence and a drive for innovation alongside our expanding international footprint.

We believe that a varied workforce generates vitality for our firm. We focus on representing the diversity of our people and creating an inclusive culture that enables everyone to reach their career potential by being their true selves.

We offer vacation scheme placements in our Basingstoke, Cambridge, Guildford, London, Oxford and Reading offices. Interns spend time in one of the firm’s practice areas in either business services, private wealth or real estate. You will be involved in real assignments, working alongside a trainee in the team to get a realistic view of what life is really like at Penningtons Manches Cooper. Activities regularly include drafting documents, attending client and team meetings, conducting research or sometimes even attending court. The majority of our offices are open plan so getting to know the wider teams will not be an issue. You will be given a senior mentor, and networking with others is strongly encouraged. Some sessions will be put on to facilitate this, but the more you put into the vacation scheme, the more you will get out of it.

A large proportion of our training contract positions are recruited through our vacation scheme, so if this is your end goal, applying for the scheme is a good route to take. There is an informal interview that takes place as part of the scheme, but it is only once you have completed the vacation scheme that we ask you to apply for the training contract.

The dates of our 2023 vacation schemes will be listed on our website when confirmed, but we typically run one programme at Easter and three one week programmes in the summer.

The vacation scheme is open to those candidates who are planning to take up a training contract in two years’ time.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for dedicated, diverse candidates with a strong academic record and commercial awareness. You should be passionate about law, a great team player and have exceptional communication skills.

We welcome applications from all degree disciplines and from applicants at all stages of their careers. You’ll have, or be on track to have, a 2.1 degree or higher and a minimum of AAB at A level (or the equivalent if educated outside the UK). Please note that undergraduate applicants must be in their penultimate or final year of a law degree or their final year of a non-law degree.

Trainees apply for and work in one of our office locations, all of which offer a high quality, varied training contract. We know our trainees are happiest and most successful when busy with good quality work. We believe in introducing trainees to challenging cases from the outset. We recognise the value of giving trainees responsibility and allowing direct contact with clients with the knowledge that our experienced solicitors are always on hand to give support.

You will be given a through grounding in the law, spending four, six month seats across the firms three main business divisions. Our award winning training enables trainees to develop into confident lawyers who are able to help us maintain our standard of excellence. In addition to this with a retention rate of 80% we hope our trainees become our partners of the future.

The training contract begins with a formal induction which provides trainees with an overview of Penningtons Manches Cooper, its areas of work and general office, accounting and compliance procedures. You will also receive training in IT, drafting, dictation, business development and legal research.

There is lots going on from a social perspective too. Be it through getting involved in one of our diversity and inclusion streams, sports and social committees, charitable foundation initiatives, PennWell activities or just attending the regular training and social activities put on for trainees, you won’t need to look far for something extra to do.


We recruit approximately 15-18 trainees across our locations each year. We seek high calibre candidates with enthusiasm and resilience. A high standard of academic achievement is expected: three or more good A level passes and preferably a 2.1 or better at degree level. 

How to apply

Application forms can be accessed via our website and the submission deadlines are 3 January for the vacation scheme and likely end of April for training contracts.

Please note recruitment for our vacation scheme and training contracts is completed on a rolling basis so early application is strongly advised.

Inclusion is integral to life at Penningtons Manches Cooper. We focus on creating an inspirational culture that enables everyone to reach their career potential by being their true selves. By recruiting and retaining the most talented and motivated people, regardless of identity, background or circumstances, we can deliver the best possible real world outcomes for our clients. We are wholly committed to fostering an environment where our people are valued, motivated and feel empowered to make the most of their working and personal lives.

EMpower programme

As part of our wider commitment to increasing the representation of Black and ethnic minority individuals in the legal sector, in Spring 2022, we will be launching our brand new programme, EMpower. EMpower is open to all first year law students and penultimate year non-law students from a Black heritage or ethnic minority background. The programme will provide a unique opportunity for students to gain invaluable application advice, meet our lawyers, work shadow, build key networking skills and better understand the culture at Penningtons Manches Cooper. There is a simple application process which focuses on motivations to participate in the programme, but no formal interview process. Applications for the Empower programme are now open until 13 February - apply here.

Race Fairness Commitment

The firm has joined the Race Fairness Commitment, a series of pioneering measures aimed at tackling inequality in the recruitment, progression and retention of talent from ethnic minorities in the UK. Launched by diversity graduate recruitment specialist Rare, it encourages the use of data-driven and contextual techniques to identify areas for improvement.

Under the commitment, we pledge to publish annual, aggregated data comparing outcomes for white and minority ethnic colleagues and candidates in six areas - interview, selection, retention, pay, promotion and belonging. By doing so we will hold ourselves to account publicly to address barriers to inclusion. The pledge reinforces the work we have already begun with Rare to enhance our recruitment processes. It is also accompanied by another new initiative we have implemented to create a positive impact – our decision to adopt the Halo Code.

Women in Law Pledge

As part of our continued commitment to gender equality in the legal profession, we have signed the Law Society’s Women in Law Pledge. The pledge, launched in partnership with the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), was created to bring gender equality to the forefront of the conversation.

Penningtons Manches Cooper pledges to promote gender equality by; focusing on senior leadership accountability and specific targets for gender diversity and inclusion, continuing to drive and refine our gender action plan, removing any sex discrimination, bias or bullying to create a culture we’re proud of and ensuring pay, reward and recognition are tied in to our gender equality targets at senior leadership level.

The Women in Law pledge builds on the work we have been doing to create a more equal legal profession for all, and supports our gender pay gap action plan.

Mental health

We have taken an increasingly strategic approach to tackling mental health problems within the firm in recent years. This has paid dividends in the step change we have seen in attitudes towards mental health at all levels of our business and has helped shape our response during the covid-19 pandemic.

Since 2018, we have recruited and trained over 30 mental health first aiders and mental health champions internally. By rolling out carefully tailored training and accompanying toolkits, we have been able to help line managers deal with mental illness within their teams empathetically and constructively. We have also run a variety of stress, resilience, and other awareness sessions to improve understanding of the issues so many of us are facing.

Time to Change is a national campaign that was set up to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. By signing its Employer Pledge, we have underlined the importance of creating a working environment in which people are comfortable enough to be open about their feelings.

Work experience

We are signatories of the PRIME commitment, which encourages meaningful work experience opportunities for students from low income backgrounds in law firms across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

To ensure we maintain a fresh approach, our programme is reviewed each year. We are currently working with Speakers for Schools to run online work experience and insight events over the summer. Students interested in obtaining work experience at the firm can find out more on our trainee lawyer pages which include full details on how to apply.

Full LPC fees plus a maintenance grant of £6,000.

  • Corporate
  • Corporate finance
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Employment
  • Marine
  • Trade
  • Energy
  • Real estate
  • Construction
  • Personal injury
  • Clinical negligence
  • Private client
  • Family
  • Commercial
  • IP
  • IT
  • Social housing
  • General Commercial
  • General Practice
  • Corporate & Commercial

Practice Areas

Extra info

125 Wood Street, London, EC2V 7AW
Phone: 020 7457 3000
Email: [email protected]
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 50
Minimum qualification: 2.1 preferred
Start salary: £41,000 (London 2022 salary)
Fees paid for:
  • LPC
  • SQE
Turnover: £32,300,000 (2012)
Profit per partner: £301,000 (2012)
Training contract applications: 400 (2022)
Retention rate: 94% (2021)
Partner diversity:
  • 73.0% male (2022)
  • 27.0% female
Lawyer diversity:
  • 50.0% male (2022)
  • 50.0% female
  • London
  • Basingstoke
  • Cambridge
  • Guildford
  • Oxford
  • Reading
  • Singapore
  • Madrid
  • Paris
  • Piraeus
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group)
  • Aspiring Solicitors
  • Black Solicitors Network
  • City Solicitors' Educational Trust
  • InterLaw Diversity Forum
  • Legal Apprenticeships
  • Rare Recruitment
  • Social Mobility Business Partnership
  • Stonewall
  • UOL Menotring Scheme
  • Urban Lawyers Careers Conference