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Ward Hadaway

10-15 vacancies
25 trainees
90 partners
450 staff

One of the largest multi-disciplined law firms in the North of England, with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.

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LawCareersNetLIVE Manchester 2023: trainee panel

At our LawCareersNetLIVE Manchester event on 24 November 2023, the panel of trainee solicitors provided insights into their experiences of the law firm application process, what being a trainee is really like and their advice for prospective candidates.


Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Ward Hadaway.

More info

Our recruitment process begins with an online application form which can be accessed via our website.

It is critical we recruit talented people with the right mix of competencies, skills, attitudes and motivation. Therefore, we ensure our recruitment process is multi-dimensional so that you have the best opportunity to show us what you're capable of.

Once the deadline has passed, we will invite you to complete an online critical thinking test. If you are successful during the application stage, we will invite you to attend one of our assessment centres which involves a range of activities, as well as the chance to meet some of our current trainees and trainee supervisors.

At every stage of the process, we will assess you against our training contract competency criteria and our firm behaviours and values. We also provide personalised feedback at each stage after the assessment centre, regardless of the outcome, so you can strive to improve.

The deadline for our training contract are as follows:

Vacation scheme and training contract 2026: 31 January 2024

Training contract 2026: 31 May 2024

Applications to

Graduate Recruitment Team

Method of application

Online Application Form

Method of assessment

  • Assessment centre
  • Panel interview
  • Partner interview
  • Presentation
  • Psychometric testing
  • Written exercise

Ward Hadaway is a northern-based, client-focused legal firm that believes in the strength of its people and business. With offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, the firm has a substantial client base of regional, national and international clients from both the private and public sectors.

We have a vast depth of expertise and experience to meet the diverse needs of all the clients we work for, whether they are businesses, built environment sector specialists, healthcare providers, public sector organisations or private individuals. We recognise that an exceptional service can only be provided by exceptional people, which is why we strive to recruit, recognise and reward the very best in legal talent.

Our approach is firmly commercial, with a clear focus applied to delivering the outcomes our clients require in the most appropriate and cost-effective way. We value our client and workforce diversity, and our trainees have the opportunity to interact and work with some of the best lawyers and specialists in the country, who support and inspire them every day.

As a trainee, you'll be offered varied and challenging work from our portfolio, within a friendly and open culture. Ward Hadaway is invested in supporting the development of its people, as well as recruiting and maintaining talent across all areas of the business.

Trainees can apply for NQ roles three months prior to the end of their training and, in 2023, we have retained 100% of our qualifiers.

We offer a one week vacation scheme, which will take place in spring/summer (depending on your availability).

Our one week vacation scheme is a great way for us to get to know you and for you to get to know us! During the vacation placement you really will experience life as a trainee lawyer at Ward Hadaway. You'll get plenty of hands on time dealing with real client matters and engaging in quality time with a wide range of our people.

You'll be given a structured programme made up of a range of learning tasks,and we deliberately include a variety of extra activities including welcome meetings and social lunches/evening events to ensure you leave having obtained an understanding of our culture, our people, and how we operate.

Once you've proved to us that you are part of the next generation of lawyers, we'll make you an offer for one of our training contracts. We aim to support you through every day of your training contract from your induction to your qualification. We'll also keep in touch before you join us and introduce you to the other trainees, so you'll feel at home before you arrive.

All of our trainees are given a comprehensive two week induction at the start of their training contract, which blends a hybrid approach of online training sessions and in-person sessions at our Newcastle head office, with the entire trainee cohort from all three offices. This ensures you can get to grips with our systems and processes, meet each other and the key individuals within the firm, such as the managing partner, training principal and heads of departments.

During your training contract, you'll get experience of four different practice areas, spending six months within each 'seat'. This provides a wide range of experience, as well as helping you to decide where you want to qualify. From the outset, our trainees are given responsibility in their seats which ultimately prepares them for qualification.

During each seat you will be given a supervisor. If you're working in an open plan office, you'll sit near your supervisor and among the wider team. If you're working on a floor with a more traditional office plan, you'll share an office with your supervisor. Both set-ups make it easy for you to ask questions about any work that is delegated to you. You will get a full appraisal at the end of each seat, a mid-seat review, and regular formal and informal feedback.

We encorage you to tell us your preferences so that, where possible, we can tailor your training contract to the areas you are most interested in. We'll also ensure you develop in a range of contentious and non-contentious areas to achieve a well-rounded legal experience.

We'll ask you to tell us in which department you might like to start your journey as a trainee and although we can't guarantee you'll always get your first choice, we will do everything we can to accommodate your specific preferences.

There is a breadth of opportunities to get involved in outside of your training contract at Ward Hadaway, such as charity and pro-bono work. Each year, our trainees have a day out of the office to volunteer with an organisation of their choice. Throughout the year, the trainees also offer mentoring to sixth form college students who are interested in a career in law through various schemes, support school-aged children in business enterprise programmes and represent the firm at the various law fairs we attend year on year. While this is extremely beneficial to those receiving the support, it's equally as important to our trainees when developing their skills and networks.

We will sponsor law students who are successful in gaining a training contract with us to undertake a one-year SQE preparation course and take the SQE1 and 2. We will sponsor non-law students who are successful to undertake a one-year PGDL prior to the SQE preparation course. 

We are still accepting applications from individuals who have already commenced or completed an LPC course (to include any courses which build in the LPC, such as four-year combined undergraduate in law and LPC course), and these candidates will not need to complete the SQE as part of our training contract.

GDL/SQE funding available.

  • Corporate
  • Commercial
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Employment
  • Health & regulatory
  • Housing
  • Real estate
  • Private client
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • General Commercial

Practice Areas

Extra info

Sandgate House, 102 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3DX
Phone: 0330 137 3000
Email: [email protected]
Work placement: Yes
Minimum qualification: Minimum 2:1 degree preferred/AAB A level (or equivalent) preferred
Start salary: £30,000
Fees paid for:
  • SQE
Retention rate: 100% (2023)
  • Newcastle
  • Leeds
  • Manchester
  • IntoUniversity
  • Mindful Business Charter