In accordance with the Law Society’s requirements, contracts last 2 years* during which time a trainee will take on a minimum of 3 seats, each seat lasting a minimum of 3 months. At stevensdrake we try to offer 4 different seats each of 6 months, although this may vary according to departmental requirements and the aptitude of individual trainees. Trainees have to acquire skills in advocacy and oral presentation, case and transaction management, client care and practice support, communication, dispute resolution, drafting, interviewing, legal research and negotiation. As a Training Establishment we must ensure trainees are provided with training in these specified skills and regular monitoring and appraisal of progress is checked by our Training Principal.
* Applicants with previous relevant working experience in a legal field and former Barristers may be permitted to complete shorter training contracts. Applicants who think they may be eligible should contact The Law Society in the first instance.
How many places and what qualifications do you need?
We generally offer two training contracts each year, commencing in September. The minimum academic requirement is a 2:1 degree in Law or another subject provided the Graduate Diploma is completed. Where a candidate has achieved only a 2:2 degree, their application may be considered if extenuating circumstances can be shown although generally further evidence of ability will be required (such as a masters degree/ doctorate or at least two years relevant working experience in a law-related field).
Successful completion of the Legal Practice Course is essential prior to joining. We have no preference as to whether it is completed on a full time basis over 1 year or part-time over 2 years. References from all previous employers together with a personal reference are also a requirement and will be taken up only if successful.
What else do we look for in an applicant?
At stevensdrake, we believe that trainees should become involved in substantive legal work as early as possible. Trainees are allocated some administrative tasks generally during their first seat while they find their feet and get to know the firm. Thereafter, a trainee can expect to work closely with their supervisor, carry out research, prepare paperwork (including court papers), attend court and liaise with clients and other professional parties.
As with any law firm, we expect trainees to be hard-working and committed. In addition, we place a high premium on good people skills, common sense, practical intelligence and self-motivation.
How and when do you apply?
We require a CV together with a covering letter preferably by post, although emailed applications will be accepted. Receipt of a copy of a bulk application (whether by post or email) is unlikely to lead to an offer of interview. We have also noted in recent years that far too many applications show a lack of attention to detail, including misspellings of both the firm’s and partners’ names and simple grammatical mistakes. We will generally take a dim view of applications which are not flawlessly presented and those which suggest the applicant has not clearly researched this firm and its areas of interest.
Applications must be made a minimum of 18 months in advance, between September and December. For example, an applicant wishing to be considered for a training contract commencing September 2014 must submit their application between September and December 2012. We regret that no applications will be processed between January and August.