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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.

Click here to view our trainee solicitor recruitment brochure.

The London Office


Sidley London’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme has been designed to allow our employees to help with the causes that mean the most to them while also working collectively to address the primary needs of our local community. All Sidley London personnel are allowed up to two community investment days, which allow them paid time off to work with any registered charity of their choosing. Our charitable partnerships focus on young people and equal access to City careers. Annually, Sidley personnel mentor around 20 young people from a local academy to raise aspirations and encourage them to focus on their studies. The London office also runs a work experience week in collaboration with the PRIME Commitment. This allows a group of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn more about life in the City. In 2021, our CSR programme is expanding to include a CSR flagship so we can have an even bigger impact on our local community.

Diversity & Inclusion

Sidley’s commitment to diversity & inclusion is not limited to policies but shown in the level of support provided, making this key to life at the firm. We have two global committees, both of which focus on pursuing strategies that maximize the firm's success in attracting, recruiting and promoting lawyers from groups typically underrepresented in the legal profession to partnership and positions of authority and leadership within the firm. Such underrepresented groups include, but are not limited to, ethnic minority lawyers and women. The key thing to note is that both committees have a direct line of communication to our Management Committee and our Executive Committee. This means that all voices are heard and information about the experience of being a lawyer here flows to the very people who make decisions about how the firm is run.


Sustainability has always been a key priority for the London office and impacts the way we work on a daily basis. Externally, we ensure that all vendors who provide a service for our London office share our environmental values and are focused on limiting our impact and finding suitable eco-friendly alternatives. In 2020, the London office relocated to a brand new building which was designed with sustainability in mind. All Sidley personnel are required to use a central recycling bank and are given reusable coffee cups, there are no single-use plastics in the office, and printing capabilities are tailored to minimize paper waste. Sidley London also runs an awareness initiative in collaboration with our working group, the Environmental Awareness Group. This group allows employees from all levels of the firm to generate ideas for change and best practice, and has a key focus on increasing internal awareness about the small differences individuals can make to minimise our impact as a collective.

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.

Compensation and Benefits

The firm provides a market leading benefits package. Click here to view the details.

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 Undergraduate Bursary Programme

Sidley is a premier law firm with a practice highly attuned to the ever changing international landscape. The firm has built a reputation for being an adviser for global business, with more than 2,000 lawyers in 20 offices worldwide. Sidley maintains a commitment to providing quality legal services spanning virtually every area of law. The firm’s lawyers have wide-reaching legal backgrounds and are dedicated to teamwork, collaboration and superior client service.

Sidley’s London office offers 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.

During your time as a Sidley bursary recipient there will be a world of opportunities for you to get involved, from connecting with your trainee solicitor mentor to attending one of our vacation schemes, you will see that the work we do is innovative and challenging.

The Bursary

As part of our ongoing commitment to increasing diversity at Sidley and in the wider legal profession, our bursary programme will provide financial support to talented law undergraduates from less advantaged backgrounds. We hope that our financial support will minimise financial concerns and enable recipients to focus more on their studies and making the most of opportunities available to them during their time at university.

Successful students will receive a bursary of £3,500 upon commencement of their law degree in 2022. This will be paid in three equal instalments of £1,166.66 in September 2022, January and April 2023.

Assuming that you achieve a 2.1 or above in your first year of study and engage successfully in the additional elements of the bursary programme, Sidley will consider providing the same level of financial sponsorship for your second year at university. The same will apply to your third and where applicable, fourth year at university.

Additional Elements of the Programme

We recognise the importance of non-financial support in ensuring your time at university is as successful as possible. Whilst you are in receipt of the bursary you will also participate in the following initiatives:

Trainee Solicitor Mentor

Whilst in receipt of the bursary you will be paired with a current trainee solicitor who will act as an invaluable buddy. The trainee will be available to assist you with questions related to your university course and your potential legal career.

Work Experience Placement

You will be invited to undertake a week of work experience with the firm during your first year at university at a time convenient for both you and the firm. Not only will the placement give you an insight into the work of a lawyer at Sidley, it will also provide you with useful information about the firm and skills based sessions to help you pursue a legal career.

Should it be required, the firm will provide you with, and meet the cost of, suitable accommodation in London during the placement.


In order to apply for our bursary programme, the following criteria should be met:

  • You attend a UK state school (i.e. non-fee paying school) or sixth form college; and
  • Your family has an annual aggregate family/household annual income of no more than £30,000; and
  • You will be the first generation of your immediate family to attend university;1 and
  • You are predicted to achieve AAA at A-level (or equivalent);2 and
  • You have an offer to read law at a UK university to commence in 2022.

Additionally, you must be able to provide evidence that you are:

  • A full time carer; and/or
  • Eligible for free school meals or attend a school where 20% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.3

How to Apply

Please follow this link to access our online application form. The deadline for this application is the May 16, 2022. The form requires you to provide some personal and academic data and answer some short answer questions explaining your interest in a legal career.

You are also required to upload an academic reference. This should be written by one of your teachers who can comment upon your academic achievement to date, your predicted grades and your personal attributes.

The Selection Process

Applicants will be shortlisted based on their written application, academic records and reference. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview with Sidley personnel, likely to include partners from our London Recruiting and Diversity Committees. The firm will meet the cost of reasonable travel expenses to enable you to attend our office in London for the interview. We may be able to accommodate a virtual interview.

If you have any questions, please contact Katy Webb (020 7360 2052) or Jerry Gallagher (020 7360 3796).

1 You are eligible if your siblings or cousins attend or have attended university.

2 We will ask your school or sixth form to confirm your predicted grades.

3 You do not need to be claiming free school meals. You only need to be eligible to receive them. If you are unsure whether 20% of pupils at your school are eligible, you can ask your school or check online at

London Vacation Scheme

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

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. 

Application and selection

The applications for our winter 2022 and spring/summer 2023 vacation schemes open on 1 October 2022. To make an application please complete the online form, available here.

Vacation Scheme dates:

Winter Vacation scheme 2021:
13th Dec – 17th Dec

Spring Vacation Scheme 2022:
4th April – 14th April

Summer 1 Vacation Scheme 2022:
13th June – 24th June

Summer 2 Vacation Scheme 2022:
27th June – 8th July

If you have any questions, please email

Sidley Insight Day

Sidley Austin LLP are offering first year law and first/second year non-law students the opportunity to attend an Insight Day on Thursday 24th March 2022 in our office.

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 Insight 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.

Applications are open from 27 January 2022 and close 4 March 2022. To make an application please complete the online form, available here.

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.