Closing soon
Closing soon

This is an exciting opportunity to join our growing and successful Dispute Resolution department based in our city centre office.

Under the umbrella of the Dispute Resolution department are several specialist teams focusing on contentious probate, property litigation, employment, commercial litigation, and general civil disputes.

This role is within the Contentious Probate team and the work requires any successful candidate to be engaged in both opposed and unopposed applications. These matters will provide candidates with the opportunity to work alongside other departments and teams, including Debt Recovery, Family, Court of Protection, Property Litigation, and Probate + Estate Administration. The successful candidate will be supervised directly by Senior Associate, Mark Scanlon, with overall supervision provided by the Head of Department, James Bell. Candidates will assist with existing cases within the team.

You will undertake legal work and contribute to the department in line with the firm’s business plan. Our firm aims to nurture and grow its own talent. To that end, we will support and mentor your development and progression. The firm aims to support successful candidates to ultimately become members of ACTAPS (the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists).

The Contentious Probate team is recognised by the Legal 500 and nationally as a provider of excellent legal services for individuals and organisations. Consequently, the team has experienced an exponential growth of instructions in contentious probate matters. We are therefore looking to recruit to meet increasing client work demands and assist with the continued growth of the team.

The role

Our Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme has been designed to provide immediate direct exposure to a range of live cases, giving you the opportunity to gain invaluable experience. Throughout the programme, you will be assisted and trained on the required practice area of Contentious Probate. You will have 121 mentoring from senior colleagues and a supportive team.

You will be working with the team to assist in all areas of their work. Consequently, the role is varied but some of the types of work you can expect to be involved in are:

  • Disputes arising out of lifetime transactions, including:
    • Undue influence
    • Death bed gifts
    • Joint ownership and resulting Trusts
  • Burial and ashes disputes, including:
    • Rights and responsibilities
    • Funeral expenses
  • Grant disputes, including:
    • Rules of intestacy
    • Caveats, Warnings, and Appearances
    • Full and limited grant applications
  • Will and trust disputes:
    • Rectification of Wills and Trusts
    • Construction of Wills and Trusts
    • Disputes as to the validity of Wills, including on the grounds of:
      • Lack of due execution
      • Lack of testamentary capacity
      • Want of knowledge and approval
      • Undue influence
      • Fraudulent calumny
      • Fraud and forgery
  • Claims by and against Personal Representatives, including:
    • Breach of Trust
    • Removal applications
    • Substitution applications
  • Disappointed beneficiary claims, including on the grounds of:
    • Proprietary estoppel
    • Constructive Trusts
    • The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975
  • Claims against Professional Advisers
    • Professional negligence, including:
      • Drafting and advising in respect of Wills
      • Drafting and advising in respect of Trusts
      • Drafting and advising in respect of estate planning

Associated duties

Some of the associated duties you can expect to be involved in are:

  • Opening files and some administrative work
  • Attending client meetings with fee earners
  • Preparing draft documentation
  • Contacting clients and opposing parties
  • Liaising with third parties
  • Organising documents and entering information into our practice management system
  • Preparation of letters and bills

The role will involve increasing levels of responsibility with experience and:

  • You will be expected to pass the probationary period of at least six months before enrolment on the Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme.
  • You will be enrolled on the Graduate Apprenticeship Programme with the University of Law on the earliest possible date following the successful completion of probation (August or February).
  • When enrolled on the Graduate Apprenticeship Programme, you will work four days a week in the relevant department and one day a week ‘off the job’ studying as required.
  • You will be granted study leave as required by the Graduate Apprenticeship Programme in advance of the SQE 1 and 2 exams.
  • You will work five days a week in the department during probation, before being enrolled with the University of Law and when there is no requirement for ‘off the job’ studying or study leave.
  • You must be prepared to study in your own time as required.

All other expectations are summarised in the Graduate Apprenticeship Programme Pack. The Apprenticeship is delivered mainly online, meaning you will spend most of your time studying independently.

About us

Barcan+Kirby is well known in the Bristol legal market, both as a provider of excellent legal services for individuals and businesses, and as a progressive employer.

We are committed to developing and nurturing our people, and encouraging positive wellbeing and mental health is central to our culture. When we say we offer a work/life balance, we mean it, and we were advocates for flexible working long before the Covid-19 pandemic.

We work hard to maintain a culture of kindness and friendliness, and we like to think that we do things a bit differently from other law firms.

The ideal candidate

Candidates must have:

  • A law degree (minimum 2:1) within the last three years to attend the 27-month course; or
  • A law degree more than three years ago/ non-law degree (minimum 2:1) to attend the 33-month course (this includes the Law Essentials module); and
  • Mathematics and English GCSE – grade 4 minimum (or equivalent).

Please note the following:

  • Internal applicants must be in a Senior Paralegal role, Paralegal role or moving to a Paralegal role
  • Candidates with the Legal Practice Course or any SQE qualifications are ineligible to apply

Location and working hours

  • Full-time (office hours are 9:00am – 5:15pm, Monday to Friday)
  • The role is based at our Bristol city centre office.


  • £22,620 per annum.

Closing date for applications

Applications for this role close on Monday 17th June with interviews on Monday 1st July.

How to apply

Ready to apply for this role? Download the application form on the right-hand side of this page or click here. Got a question? Email our recruitment team.