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London Trainee Solicitor Programme

Why Choose Sidley?

Sidley’s London office offers students the best of both worlds—the experience of working in one of the largest international law firms along with the relaxed, down-to-earth friendliness of a smaller office. Here you will find high-quality work on par with Magic Circle firms and an energetic, meritocratic and supportive environment.

There is a world of opportunities for you to get involved and make your mark at Sidley, from trainee right through to partner. We have a reputation for working on innovative, complex transactions, which helps to make life here all the more interesting and challenging.

During Your Training

You will have many opportunities to learn and develop during your training. You will get involved in real work from day one, and will gain international experience not by constantly traveling but by working on multijurisdictional matters and with people from all around the world.

Trainees spend time in at least four of our practice groups, which include: Banking and Financial Services, Capital Markets, Global Finance, Healthcare and FDA, Insurance, Investment Funds, Litigation, M&A and Private Equity, Regulatory and Enforcement, Restructuring and Tax.

Trainees also have the opportunity to apply for international secondments to Hong Kong and Brussels as well as a client secondment..

In each group, you will be supervised by a partner or a senior associate to ensure that you receive individual training, which is both effective and based on practical experience. In addition, there is a structured timetable of training on a cross-section of subjects.

We take a flexible approach that is driven by your ability and willingness to contribute and develop. As a result, you can get as much as you like out of a particular seat, depending on how much you invest in it.

Salaries and Benefits

Our trainee solicitors currently receive an annual salary of £50,000 in their first year and £55,000 in their second. Our newly qualified associate salary is £135,500.

As a trainee, you will also enjoy an exceptional range of benefits, including:

  • 25 days holiday per year
  • Non-contributory pension scheme
  • Private medical insurance
  • Life assurance
  • Income protection insurance
  • Gym allowance
  • Season ticket loan
  • Free use of private clinics for GP appointments
  • Employee assistance programme

GDL/LPC and Financial Assistance

We offer financial assistance to our future trainee solicitors for the GDL (if applicable) and the fast-track LPC, and expect both courses to be studied at BPP Law School. We pay the course fees and provide an annual maintenance grant, which currently is £11,000.

Continuing Your Career with Us

When you join us, we’d like it to be for the long term. We have an excellent track record of retaining trainees on qualification. Ideally, you will stay at Sidley once you’ve qualified and continue developing with us all the way to partnership.

How to apply

Each year we take on around 12-14 recruits. We’re looking for people who are bright, with outstanding academic qualifications. You’ll need to have a minimum of three A-levels (at least three A grades), and to have (or be expected to achieve) at least a 2.1 degree or equivalent (not necessarily in law).

Beyond pure academic ability, we’re looking for people who are genuinely intrigued by the commercial world. People who are sociable, who can work well with others and get on well with clients. People who have demonstrated self-discipline, the ability to persevere and use their initiative. If you can focus, analyse things and ask the right questions, you’ll be in a strong position.

Applications for the 2022 intake will opened on 3 February 2020 and will close on the 17 July 2020. Our application form is available here.

If you have any questions, please email graduaterecruitment@sidley.com.

London Vacation Scheme

We run a one-week winter vacation scheme and two-week vacation schemes in spring and summer each year.

The Scheme

Students will spend time in at least two different departments and will work with a qualified lawyer. You will experience the day-to-day life of a lawyer at the firm and will have the opportunity to undertake real work rather than just observing or shadowing. This practical experience will be supplemented by a programme of presentations and workshops that will ensure you get to know as much about the firm as you possibly can during the placement.

There will also be some organised social events to help you get to know our current trainees.


Students will receive £500 per week.


Winter vacation scheme: Monday, 9 December to Friday, 13 December 2019
Spring vacation scheme: Monday, 30 March to Thursday, 9 April 2020
Summer 1 vacation scheme: Monday, 22 June to Friday, 3 July 2020
Summer 2 vacation scheme: Monday, 6 July to Friday, 17 July 2020

Application and selection

The application for our 2019/2020 vacation schemes is now closed.

If you have any questions, please email graduaterecruitment@sidley.com.

Open Day

After careful consideration we have made the decision to postpone our open day in light of the COVID-19 risks associated with holding an external event. 

Sidley Austin LLP are offering first year law and non-law students the opportunity to attend an Open Day.

We hope the day will give you a real insight into life at Sidley and help you decide whether this is the firm at which you would like to train.

During the Open Day you will be given the chance to speak informally to Trainees, Associates and Partners. Our Graduate Recruitment team will also be available to offer advice on applying for training contracts.

You will be given an overview of the firm and its practice areas so that you get a feel for our environment and culture.

Application and Selection

We are looking for candidates with excellent academics and who are expected to achieved a 2:1 or first class honours degree.

If you have any questions, please email graduaterecruitment@sidley.com.

U.S. Summer Associate Program in London

We are pleased to announce that we will be recruiting this August for our Summer Associate Program in Sidley’s London office. Openings are available for a select number of eligible students who have completed their second year of law school and are interested in private equity. The 10-week program provides an exciting opportunity to gain insight into our thriving London office and to work closely with our team of extraordinary lawyers on a variety of complex transactional matters, including leveraged buyouts, distressed investments, debt and equity restructurings, growth equity investments, joint ventures, fund formations and management incentive plans. Please note we are not currently hiring for non-transactional roles for practice areas such as litigation, arbitration, international trade and antitrust.

Outlining Your Success

We have a reputation for representing sophisticated clients on innovative, challenging transactions, which makes life here at Sidley both engaging and incredibly rewarding. Our summer associate program is structured to provide law students with the opportunity to obtain substantive, hands-on experience in some of the most interesting private equity deals in Europe. While at Sidley, you will be surrounded by dynamic, driven individuals who not only are recognized leaders in their respective fields, but are also passionate about associate mentorship and training.

About the Firm

Sidley is a premier law firm with a practice highly attuned to the ever-changing international landscape. The firm is well regarded as an exceptional adviser to global businesses, with more than 1,900 lawyers in 20 offices worldwide. Sidley maintains a commitment to superior client service and to offering creative, commercial advice in litigation, transactional and regulatory matters spanning virtually every area of law.

We are dedicated to offering an inclusive and welcoming culture, and to increasing the diversity of the legal profession as a whole. Our mission is to continually attract, retain and promote outstanding lawyers who reflect the global marketplace and communities that we serve.

Our London Office

The London office is Sidley’s largest in Europe, where we also have offices in Brussels, Geneva and Munich. Our lawyers work on domestic and cross-border matters in many European jurisdictions, and have led myriad high-profile transactions across our multidisciplinary practice areas.

Sidley has one of the preeminent private equity practices in Europe and will offer students the best of both worlds in London—the experience of working in one of the largest international law firms in the world with the relaxed, down-to-earth friendliness of a smaller office. Here, you will be able to develop the skills required to become an entrepreneurial, well-rounded lawyer in an energetic and collegial environment.

Our office is located at Woolgate Exchange in the heart of the City, with views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and close to all that the area has to offer—fantastic restaurants and bars, the Barbican arts complex, shopping and sporting facilities.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2020 Summer Associate Program have now closed and applications for the 2021 Program will open in June 2020. For general enquiries please contact Nicole Katz at ukrecruitment@sidley.com.


How many trainees do you typically take on?

We are looking to recruit 12-14 trainees per intake.

Do you have more than one intake per year?

No, at present we have one intake starting in August.

I do not meet the minimum academic criteria, can I still apply?

Our minimum criteria is AAA at A Level and a 2:1 degree in any discipline. Applications are not screened automatically and mitigating circumstances are taken into account.

Do you take contextual information into account when screening applications?

Yes, we use the Rare Contextual Recruitment System to make sure that all candidates are assessed fairly and in context of their circumstances.

Are there any other academic requirements?

We expect candidates to pass the GDL (if applicable) and LPC at first attempt.

I have applied before, can I apply again?

If you feel that there is a considerable difference in your application please feel free to reapply.

Do you recruit on a rolling basis?

Applications for vacation schemes are assessed on a rolling basis. Training Contract applications will be assessed after the deadline.

I am a mature/international student, can I still apply?

Yes, as long as your academic grades meet the equivalent of AAA at A Level and a 2:1 degree.

I am qualified in another jurisdiction, should I apply for a training contract?

No, as a qualified lawyer please send your CV to ukrecruitment@sidley.com and you will be considered for an associate position with a view to completing the QLTS.

Do you have a preferred law school?

Yes, we ask all future trainees to complete their GDL and/or LPC at BPP. However, it will not hinder your application if you have already completed your GDL and/or LPC at another institution.

Do you offer financial support through law school?

Yes, the firm will pay your GDL fees and Fast Track LPC fees plus a £11,000 maintenance grant for each academic year paid in instalments.