Learn more about the process of applying for a training contract.

How many training contract places are available and for which year are you currently recruiting?

We recruit for training contracts two years in advance, and will have six contracts available for the August 2026 intake.

What method of application do you accept?

Only online applications received via the portal on our website will be accepted.

What are your academic requirements?

We are looking for evidence of academic achievement or potential – we do not only look at grades.  We work with REALRating, provided by upReach, and use their contextualised recruitment tool to help us recruit candidates from a diverse socio-economic background. The tool provides us with a valuable insight into the context in which grades were achieved. Working with upReach means we can recognise talent that we might otherwise have missed based on our selection criteria. This means we encourage everyone to complete this information on the form so we can have a more complete picture, particularly in relation to A-Level grades.

It’s not at all a pre-requisite of applying to us for a training contract, but if you have embarked on any postgraduate study please tell us about it.

Please note that academics are only one part of the form and one part of what is taken into consideration. We are also interested in your wider lived experience, how your values align with ours, and what practical examples you can provide to demonstrate this as well as why you want to be a trainee solicitor at the firm. We are interested in finding out who you are, and why you’ve decided to apply, so academics form only part of the decisions.

Please be aware that we take into account mitigating circumstances, and encourage you to include them on your form. We take mitigating circumstances very seriously, and if you’re unsure if your experience/situation constitutes a mitigating circumstance we encourage you to include it anyway – any extra information or context is helpful, especially if you believe such circumstances have impacted your academic performance at any stage. You are welcome to speak with our Emerging Talent and Recruitment Manager, Daisy Mortimer, if you have any questions before submitting your application. Daisy can be contacted on [email protected]

Will my application be considered if I do not meet the minimum academic requirement?

Yes. All applications will be considered and judged on their own merit. We do not automatically screen out applications based on grades, and we work with upReach using their contextualised recruitment system as part of the application screening process.

Who can I speak to about adjustments needing to be made to the process?

If you decide to apply to us and know what adjustments you require or would consider helpful owing to a disability, there is an opportunity to include this information on your application form. If you’re not sure about what adjustments you might need, or wish to speak further, contact us at [email protected].

What can I do to find out more information about routes into law?

We have a video series available aimed at giving younger people a “peek behind the curtain” as they consider starting a career in law. Whilst these are targeted at 16 to 18 years olds, you may also find it useful to watch or share with anyone who wants to understand more about life working in a law firm.

The videos include an introduction to Bates Wells, a conversation with some of our employees about their own paths into law, a deeper dive into one of our key practice areas (charity law) as well as skills videos on debating and drafting: https://bateswells.co.uk/considering-a-career-in-law/.

Can I apply for both a vacation scheme and a training contract at the same time?

No. If you apply for a vacation scheme, you’ll need to wait to hear from us on the outcome before proceeding with a training contract application in the next recruitment cycle. You can only have one application per cycle so you will need to decide to apply for a vacation scheme or training contract. Applying for a vacation scheme means you will be automatically  considered for the training contract if you’re successful.

Do you fill all trainee vacancies from your vacation placements?

No – we consider all direct training contract applications.

How many people are invited to attend a vacation scheme?

This varies each year and we encourage you to submit an application form sooner rather than later.

What should I do if I want more information about the vacation scheme?

Click here.

When can I apply?

Vacation Scheme Applications: 2nd October 2023 – 31st January 2024

Training Contract Applications: 2nd October 2023 – 13 May 2024

Please apply here

When does your vacation scheme take place?

Our vacation scheme will take place from Monday 8 April – Friday 19 April 2024.

What approach will Bates Wells take to the SQE?

We have moved  to the SQE route for qualification for Training Contracts commencing in 2024 and beyond. If you are working towards or have already completed your LPC,  you are still eligible to apply.

What is the Watson Glaser test?

It’s a short assessment that tests your critical thinking skills, which are relevant to decision making or problem solving. It’s an approach we use alongside other methods to test your suitability for joining us. The test has 40 questions and there is a 30 minute time limit for completion, though adjustments can be made to those who require them as part of the process, and information about adjustments will be sent to you if you are selected to complete the test.

If you would like to start practising how to tackle the Watson Glaser test, then please click on the below link which will take you to a free test, which you are welcome to complete whether you are planning to submit an application to us or not.

Watson Glaser free practice test: https://www.talentlens.com/uk/about/practice-tests.html

When can I expect to hear back from you?

We appreciate that you’ve taken the time to apply, so we respond to all applicants who have applied for either a vacation placement or training contract. We aim to have responded to all applicants by September 2024.

Do you offer sponsorship or a maintenance grant for the SQE?

Yes, if you accept a training contract offer before applying to or starting your SQE studies. We will cover your course fees and offer a maintenance grant of not less than £8,000.

If I am invited to the office for an interview will the firm contribute towards my travel cost?

Yes, we will reimburse reasonable travel costs for train and bus tickets, for anyone travelling into the office in London as part of the trainee recruitment process.

Is there an opportunity for secondment during my period of recognised training?

We have seconded a small number of trainees, but secondment opportunities are more common among our junior lawyers.

Can I defer my start date once I have accepted an offer?

We’ll consider requests on a case-by-case basis, taking mitigating circumstances into consideration. Any deferral will need to be by agreement only.

Do you keep in touch with future trainees during the SQE year?

Yes, we invite future trainees to a number of our social events.

Can I apply for a paralegal position at Bates Wells?

Any paralegal vacancies will be advertised on our website. Training contract offer holders are welcome to apply.

Do you accept applications from applicants who have previously been rejected?

This depends on the stage of the application process that you reach. Candidates who reach the assessment centre or the final stage interview, and are not successful, may only apply once more.


Meet our trainee team