S&C’s award-winning trainee solicitor programme offers recruits the opportunity to do some of the most interesting and exciting work available, meet exceptional people and develop their legal and personal skills in a supportive environment.

S&C will accept applications for its 2026 trainee intake from 1 May through 12 July 2024. To apply for a training contract starting in 2026, please click here and complete the online application form.

About the Programme

S&C's London office has been recruiting trainee solicitors for well over a decade. By recruiting the very best law and non-law students and graduates to train as solicitors with a view to continuing their careers with the Firm, S&C aims to continue the organic growth of its London office and its English and EU law practices. S&C sees its trainees as the future associates and partners of the Firm.

Your time as a trainee with S&C will be divided into at least four six-month seats. The Firm distinguishes its trainee programme by offering genuine mentoring from partners and senior lawyers who take a keen interest in their trainees' career development. Trainees are, in each seat, supervised by a partner who is a leader in his or her field or by other senior lawyers, in each case who guide the trainees through their work and help ensure that they are engaged and challenged.

These partners and senior lawyers ensure that the trainees see a range of outstanding work and receive guidance to help make the transition from academic study to legal practice.

Eligibility

S&C's goal is to employ the brightest minds, regardless of subject studied at university. The Firm seeks trainees who have strong academic credentials (including a projected or achieved First or Upper Second Class honours degree, or equivalent) and an excellent prior academic record.

Most importantly, however, candidates should also have intellectual curiosity, integrity, common sense, commercial awareness and an ambition to succeed as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading law firms. Strong interpersonal skills will also be important: S&C is looking for team players.

While S&C expects most of its applicants to be penultimate-year law students and final-year non-law students, graduates and postgraduates are also eligible.

Professional Development and Formal Training

S&C is committed to helping you develop into the best possible lawyer. We will provide you with an unparalleled foundation for your career. At S&C, you will be encouraged to acquire leadership skills more quickly than you would at other law firms. You will have decision-making authority and client responsibilities as early as practicable. We believe that hands-on experience is the best training. However, we also recognise the importance of formal training, which will begin before you join the Firm.

All our future trainees will, in the year prior to their arrival, undertake the Solicitors Qualifying Examination,(SQE), which is the single assessment for all persons qualifying as solicitors in England and Wales. Any trainee who has not obtained a law degree will, prior to the SQE, be required to undertake a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) prior to the SQE.

After you arrive, you will take part in an induction programme introducing you to the way we work in London. You will learn about our information technology, library and research and other office resources as well as how to be an effective trainee. You will also attend the firmwide orientation programme in New York, learning more about the Firm and getting to know your colleagues from elsewhere in the S&C network.

Throughout your time as a trainee, you will attend regular formal group training sessions on the key building blocks of commercial legal practice. These will include a training programme designed specifically for trainees and presented by our partners and associates. These sessions may also be led by external speakers and training providers. In addition, all of our other in-house training sessions will be open to our trainees to attend. Some of these sessions involve video conferencing among offices, helping you to get a feel for the international issues relevant to our practice.

International opportunities

Although our trainees will be working on international representations in London as a matter of course, we aim to provide interested trainees with the opportunity to spend time in one of our other offices during their time as trainees.

These assignments will primarily take place in our New York or Hong Kong offices, although there may also be openings for trainees to spend time in one of our other offices in Europe or Asia. To date, trainees have been seconded to our offices in Hong Kong, Paris, Melbourne, New York, Palo Alto, Sydney and Washington D.C. Further secondment locations among the Firm’s other offices in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific are likely to be added in the future.

How to apply

To apply for a position as a trainee solicitor starting in 2026, please click here and complete the online application form. S&C will accept applications for its 2026 trainee intake from 1 May through 12 July 2024.

We expect to offer up to eight trainee solicitor positions starting in 2026.

Supportive Culture

Our partners and associates embrace an “open door” policy and will always be happy to find time to talk to you. The broad range of our practice means that all of us, even the most senior lawyers, encounter new issues and challenges on a daily basis, and a collegial and supportive approach is key to our continued success.

You will have the opportunity to work with a variety of lawyers who approach problems in different ways. This rich experience exposes you to a wide range of attributes and working styles, which you can adopt as your own in a way that best suits you, providing you with the tools and confidence to advance your career.

Life at the Firm is not all hard work. Lawyers enjoy regular social, sporting and cultural events and are encouraged to pursue outside interests and passions. We have an excellent subsidised restaurant on-site, and subsidised memberships in a private health club and gym in our building are available. We also offer a concierge service to help you manage your daily personal needs.

General Practice Areas

A seat in our General Practice Group will provide you with a thorough and broad-based training in the legal, technical and organisational skills required to be a successful well-round business lawyer. The group comprises lawyers working in a wide range of different practice areas, including the following:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions, in which we help clients of all sizes to structure, negotiate, complete and implement all types of M&A transactions, including acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, partnerships, minority investments and strategic alliances, across all industry sectors.
  • Capital Markets, in which we work with both issuer and underwriter clients on some of the largest, most intricate and most significant securities transactions, whether involving shares, bonds or other securities.
  • Private Equity, in which we advise some of the world’s leading privately managed funds on all aspects of the investments they make, including issues related to M&A, consortium arrangements and financing.
  • Project Development and Finance, in which we advise project sponsors, lenders and governments and other agencies on the development, construction, operation and financing of some of the world’s most important infrastructure and natural resources projects.
  • Credit, Leveraged and Acquisition Finance, in which we work with borrower and lender clients on all types of financing arrangements, including bank and bond financing being raised for acquisitions, the refinancing and restructuring of existing bank or bond financing, and bank or bond financing that is secured against particular assets or revenues.
  • Restructuring, in which we work with banks and other financial investors, companies and their directors, and other professionals to help companies in financial distress reschedule or restructure their debt, raise new capital, sell assets or reorganise their businesses.
  • Real Estate, in which we work with investors on their investments in real estate transactions in a wide range of countries.

Competition

A seat in our Competition Law Group will expose you to a varied spectrum of work. This could involve merger control work, including competition and foreign investment law aspects of M&A transactions and the obtaining of the requisite competition law and/or foreign investment approvals.

You might also represent companies under investigation by the European Commission or relevant national authorities for alleged breach of competition law, as well as provide advice to clients on general competition law issues and on state aid issues.

Tax

The Firm’s U.K. Tax Group deals with a variety of contentious and noncontentious U.K. and cross-border tax work. Your work may include offering advice on tax aspects of M&A, private equity, capital markets and other financing transactions; structuring investment funds; and advising on tax aspects of employee incentives. Tax is a fast-moving area in which EU and other international developments are increasingly significant.

Quality of Work and Broad Experience

We will expose you to a wide range of different practice areas, enabling you to follow your interests and abilities without isolating you within one discipline.

We avoid routine and commoditised work in favor of interesting and challenging matters. In each of our practice groups, you will work with small teams of partners and associates that include U.S. and English qualified lawyers in London, as well as lawyers from other offices. These integrated teams reflect the international scope of our practice.

From an early stage, you will be encouraged to take real responsibility. You will prepare draft written advice, participate in meetings and conference calls; deal with clients and other lawyers on a regular basis; review and draft contracts, notices, letters and other documents; review and draft public disclosure documents; co-ordinate the signing and closing of transactions; carry out research into specific questions of law or practice; and participate in discussions on tactics and strategy.

Salary and Benefits

We offer the most attractive trainee salary and benefits package of any major law firm in London. First year trainees currently receive a salary of £60,000 per annum and second year trainees currently receive a salary of £65,000 per annum.

We cover PGDL course fees (where applicable) and Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) course and examination fees for prospective trainees who accept our offer of a position as a trainee. We also pay a maintenance grant, which is currently £20,000 per annum.

Our associates normally receive a discretionary bonus paid at the end of each calendar year, and trainees will also be eligible to receive a portion of any discretionary bonus that our newly qualified associates receive. In addition, we offer a comprehensive suite of employee benefits, including private health insurance; dental insurance; life insurance; travel insurance; a group personal pension scheme with the option to contribute via salary sacrifice; paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave plans; a subsidised gym membership; concierge service; and 24 vacation days (plus bank holidays) each year.