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We are looking for talented individuals to join us as trainee solicitors in August 2024. Applications are made via our online form. The deadline for applications is 23 May 2022.
If your application is successful, the next stage in the current recruitment process is a full day assessment centre. Our assessment centre comprises of a mixture of challenges throughout the day, designed to test you against various competencies such as collaboration, communication, and problem solving. Before the assessment centre takes place, you will be invited to a welcome session where you will be given the opportunity to learn more about the firm, and what to expect on the day of your assessment. Our assessment centres are currently being held online and we expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.
At present, those who are successful in their assessment centre are then invited to attend a final interview with partners in the firm and a member of the people team.
Our assessment process has been carefully designed to give you the opportunity to shine. We want you to show your authentic and best self throughout the whole process, whilst also having the opportunity to meet us and learn more about our firm.
Our assessors blind screen applications, and our programme is continually developed and improved with the goal of selecting brilliant future lawyers and championing diversity across our business in all its forms. We care about the whole person here at Shakespeare Martineau, and whether you got a first in your degree or a 2.2, we want to hear from you. For us, grades don’t tell us who will make a great solicitor, and that is why we have removed them from our assessment process. We recruit based on competencies and potential. We promote diversity on our assessment and interview panels and challenge ourselves on our own unconscious biases throughout the process.
We expect trainees to have completed their LPC by the beginning of their training contract, and we will sponsor this for the successful candidates. In addition, we expect to offer the SQE route to those looking to qualify in 2024. If this route is of preference to you, please identify this at the appropriate point on your application. As an SQE trainee, you will complete your SQE1 and 2 exams before starting your training contract. Shakespeare Martineau will fund your SQE1 and 2 exams and prep courses.
How to applywww.shma.co.uk
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Method of applicationOnline Application Form
Method of assessment
- Assessment centre
- Partner interview
- Written exercise
Shakespeare Martineau is a leading law firm, with over 910 people. Our ambition is tounlock the potential of our clients and each other.
This last year has shown just what we can achieve when we work together, when we are kinder, when we are brave and ambitious, when we are empowered, when we represent neurodiversity in decision-making and when we trust each other to do the right thing.
We previously stated that we were viewing 2020 as a unique opportunity for a permanent change in our thinking, behaviours, words and actions and we were accelerating our change programme. Pledges that we have turned into reality.
As 2021 started, we set our ambitions to become a ‘house of brands’ and to becomea top 30 legal and professional services group by 2025. That growth is coming to fruition with the expansion of our firm into new locations including Glasgow and Lincoln.
Our clients are at the heart of what we do and we continue to grow our areas of expertise in key sectors, for example, education, social housing and investment funds, as well as increasing our presence in growing areas of law e.g. renewable energy and sustainability. Take a look at our insight articles on ‘Building a renewable future for housing’, and ‘How is the UK government going to achieve its net zero carbon targets?’ for an insight into the type of work these teams do.
While our legal teams are supporting our clients to achieve their goals, our business operations teams are helping us to achieve our own. This year we launched our 'Responsible Business' programme, building programmes and leading on change for our people (e.g. through our More in Common network), our communities (e.g. through mentoring and our target of 10,000 hours volunteering across the business), and our environment (e.g. through our Ampa litter pick, and our pledge to become net zero by 2025). We have also started our journey towards becoming a Certified B Corporation, ensuring we consistently balance profit with people and the planet.
We look for bright trainees who want to fulfil their ambition with us. We expect you to share our enthusiasm for our business and to be able to demonstrate the skills that make a great lawyer. But we want more than that too. Show us what sets you apart. You’ll be a great candidate to us if you are able to demonstrate a clear alignment to our values: authentic, collaborative, trusted, and brave.
As a business, we aim to be as transparent as possible with our clients, and employees alike. Find out more about the actions we have taken over the past year and promises we have made in our Back to Growth statement. We are on track to reach our goal of becoming one of the most admired top 30 legal and professional service groups by 2025 and are still committed to following the two key principles we announced at the start of the pandemic: remaining in it together and in it for the long term. We look forward to you joining us.
Whilst we don’t offer any formal work placements, we offer a variety of other programmes to students eager to grow their experience, develop their skills, and build their networks. We currently offer the following virtual event schedule to help you to do so:
1. Monthly future leader Q&As: When we recruit our trainees, we aren't just recruiting future solicitors, but future leaders of the firm. These Q&A's give future leaders the opportunity to network with current trainee solicitors, partners, responsible business leaders, operational leaders and others at our firm. They take place on the first Tuesday of every month at 11:00am and you can register for these sessions on our website.
2. Virtual insight evenings: On a quarterly basis we run a virtual insight evening for those eager to develop themselves, network, and learn more about us. Each session varies, but in general you will have the opportunity to learn about some of the work that happens in our different teams, network with partners across the business, and get hints and tips on applications and assessment centre processes. Hopefully helping you to expand your commercial awareness, grow your network, and land the job!
3. Virtual insight week: In December we hold a virtual insight week. This immersive week puts you in the driving seat. With upwards of 15 different events, from a Q&A with our CEO, to a mock assessment centre exercise, to a debate on current commercial topics with our leaders, to experiencing a training session from our Shakespeare Martineau Academy on communication styles, this week has you covered. You can attend as many or as few sessions as you like, and those who attend over a certain percentage of sessions during the week will receive a certificate to confirm they have taken part in a virtual placement with our firm. We expect to advertise this in October, so keep your eyes open!
Please keep an eye on our social media pages and website for more information as it becomes available.
Our in depth training is set in the real world, with real caseloads and responsibilities. This is first-class, hands on training you can trust to develop your career. Whether you are following the SQE or LPC route, as a trainee you will spend two years experiencing at least three areas of the law. This will involve having four six-month stints, called seats, in our various teams. You will also benefit from a structured training programme from our training academy to strengthen your skillset, and those progressing down the LPC route will complete the PSC during their training contract.
Our training contract exposes trainees to a combination of contentious and non-contentious work, tailored to individual strengths, preferences and business needs. It is important that in building future leaders, we look beyond the legal experience, so our training programme also encompasses other programmes to broaden your knowledge, confidence, and commercial acumen. For example, all our trainees take the lead on projects of strategic importance to our business, working as a team, driving change, and presenting to our main board and other key stakeholders across the business.
Trainees also receive regular support and feedback through our buddy and mentoring schemes in place across the firm and there is the opportunity to get involved with other initiatives like our responsible business programme.
Our ambition is to build brilliant lawyers and future leaders. Whether that be through the LPC or SQE route to qualification, what matters is the attitude and competencies you bring to the table.
We want to create an inclusive approach to adopting the SQE, so from 2024 our training contract route will be available to those wanting to progress down this route.
We expect trainees progressing down the SQE route to complete both SQE1 and SQE2 before commencing their training contract and we will fund your prep courses and exams. With the flexibility provided by the SQE, we also envisage our SQE trainees starting their training contract a couple of months early and taking on a seat in operations. With this operations seat, you will finish your training contract as a rounded solicitor and future leader, with a better understanding of a law firm’s finances, how business is won, and what happens behind the scenes - putting you in a great position for building a better relationship with your clients and growing your career.
We are excited to launch our SQE route to start in 2024 alongside the current LPC and PSC route to qualification. Trainees recruited in 2022 to start in 2024 will therefore have the option of the SQE or LPC route.
Our purpose at Shakespeare Martineau is to unlock potential in our people and clients. Equality, diversity and inclusivity is fundamental to achieving this purpose. We know that we are more confident, more effective and perform at our best when we can completely be ourselves, and that the more diverse perspectives we have, the more we are able to learn, grow and thrive.
Over the past year we have established our Responsible Business Principles, covering three main streams: Our people, our communities, and our environment. We have selected leads and champions across the business to drive each of these streams and their ambitions. Diversity and inclusion is fundamental to our people, and our purpose with this is to:
1. Provide an open, supportive, inclusive environment that ensures everyone can be their authentic selves
2. Recognise, value and celebrate diversity; continually seek to improve diversity across the organisation
3. Provide a culture that prioritises wellbeing for our people, to better support our clients and investors
4. Dedicate time and resources to improve social mobility within the communities we work in.
Our positive actions over the past year have led to the following outcomes:
- Maintaining our gender balance which stands above the SRA benchmark of 49%
- Increased female membership representation to 38%
- Increased the firm’s representation of racial diversity to align with the SRA benchmark of 21%
- Increased racial diversity membership representation to 10%.
We recognise there is more work to do and are working to strengthen our 'More in Common' diversity network across the business, engage all of our people on all areas of wellbeing and embed our mental health first aiders into our wellbeing programme.
We strongly believe that taking responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusivity is not just a nice thing to do, or a moral thing to do, it’s a commercial thing to do. It’s better for business, better for the economy, better for society, better for the world.
Should you be successful in gaining a training contract at Shakespeare Martineau, we will sponsor the cost of your LPC or SQE. If you commence your LPC/SQE through our preferred supplier after accepting your training contract, we will pay the full amount. Should you commence your LPC/SQE before accepting your training contract, we reserve the right to reimburse your qualification in line with our preferred supplier rates.
- Recoveries & insolvency
- Commercial litigation
- Property litigation
- Clinical negligence
- Contentious probate
- Residential development
- Commercial development
- Social housing
- Legal planning
- Private client
- Commercial & IP
- Corporate finance
- Real estate finance
- Residential conveyancing
- Corporate & Commercial
Advertising & marketing
A fresh and exciting area of legal practice, specialist lawyers provide copy clearance advice and work with big-brand clients.
Agriculture & rural issues
It is unsurprising that some of the country's strongest agricultural law practices are to be found in rural regions.
Banking & finance
Banking and finance involves many financial products, from bank loans to companies to highly structured financing arrangements across multiple jurisdictions.
Charities lawyers advising the not-for-profit and social enterprise sector cover wills and trusts to commercial and real estate law.
Clinical negligence lawyers advise on instances of injury or death arising from incorrect or inadequate medical treatment or diagnosis.
Commercial property/real estate
Commercial property lawyers work on a wide range of transactions including offices, retail developments and infrastructure projects.
Company & commercial
Commercial lawyers focus on trade, from commercial agreements about supply, manufacture and distribution to identifying the best routes to market.
Competition & EU law
Competition and regulatory work includes merger control, regulatory and court proceedings, issues arising from sector-specific regulation and utility procurement issues.
Construction & engineering
Contentious construction work involves the resolution of disputes while non-contentious work involves drafting and negotiating contracts and advising on projects.
Corporate finance/mergers & acquisitions
Corporate finance lawyers advise companies on all aspects of the buying and selling of whole businesses or business assets.
Corporate tax involves advising on the most tax-efficient means of acquiring, selling or restructuring assets.
In this area of legal practice, clients generally fall into two categories: the rich or famous and the media.
Commercial litigation involves the resolution of disputes in the corporate and commercial sphere.
Employment, pensions & incentives
Employment lawyers work across all areas of employment law, including handling discrimination, staff restructuring and whistleblowing issues.
Energy & natural resources
The energy sector is an important part of the legal landscape and is making more headlines than ever before.
Issues such as climate change and the need for alternative energy sources make environmental laws more important than ever.
Family lawyers deal with diverse issues including marriage, civil partnerships, cohabitation, separation, divorce, financial claims and pre and post-nuptial agreements.
This area of legal practice involves advising financial services clients on the myriad regulations that affect their sector.
Housing/landlord & tenant
Relationships between the owners and occupiers of properties, both residential and commercial, can be fraught with problems.
Immigration lawyers deal with all legal matters relating to immigration and nationality.
Restructuring and insolvency lawyers are necessary when a company, individual or other organisation is in financial difficulties.
Insurance and reinsurance is an integral part of commercial activity throughout the world.
IP barristers advise on issues that range from commercial exploitation and infringement disputes to IP rights in large commercial transactions.
The term ‘Islamic finance’ refers to a system of banking that is consistent with Sharia law.
Personal injury law falls under the law of tort and involves civil claims brought to obtain compensation for injuries.
Private client solicitors looks after the affairs of individual clients and trustees, managing all aspects of their personal wealth.
Offending behaviour can relate to incompetency or inappropriate or unlawful activities, be this fraud, assault or inappropriate sexual relationships.
Lawyers specialising in professional negligence disputes will handle claims ranging from the relatively low-value to the absolutely enormous.
Large projects involve lawyers specialising in finance, construction and corporate law.
Sports law involves the legal issues at play in the worlds of both amateur and professional sport.
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