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London Opportunities

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 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.

We aim to recruit all of our trainees from the vacation schemes.

If you have any questions, please email

London Vacation Scheme

We run a one-week winter vacation scheme and two-week vacation schemes in spring and summer each year. Due to COVID-19, our 2021 vacation schemes will be virtual as per the dates below.

The Scheme

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.


Spring vacation scheme (virtual): 
12 – 16 April

Summer 1 vacation scheme: 
21 June to 2 July
21 – 25 June if virtual

Summer 2 vacation scheme:
5 – 16 July
5 – 9 July if virtual

Application and selection

The applications for our winter 2021 and spring/summer 2022 vacation schemes open on 1 October 2021, the closing date for our winter scheme is 29 October 2021 and 28 January 2022 for our spring/summer application. To make an application please complete the online form, available here.

If you have any questions, please email

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 first/second year 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.

If you have any questions, please email


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.

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 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.

When can I apply for a Vacation Scheme?

You can apply for a vacation scheme from your penultimate year of a law degree or final year of a non-law degree.