Life of a Trainee

Neely Middleton

As someone with an interest in fashion, it's been really amazing working with big luxury and non-luxury fashion brands during my Training Contract. I love the inside scoop on what's going on in their business, helping with their transactions, and being involved in client interactions

Neely Middleton Trainee Solicitor

Raphael Kelion

I think the best thing about Bird & Bird is how approachable andfriendly everyone is, from Business Services to the Partners. Everyone willfind time to chat to you about everything and anything

Rafi Kelion Trainee Solicitor

Freddie Eastwell

I loved the Sports Group in my Commercial seat, as I had the chance towork with national and international sporting federations, including asecondment to a leading sports association.”

Freddie Eastwell Trainee Solicitor


Whilst I was a Future Trainee Solicitor, Bird & Bird provided work opportunities, remained supportive throughout my law studies, and organised socials to ease our transition into the firm. Prior to starting my training, I was able to Intern with one of the firm’s top clients, and was a Paralegal in the firm’s Risk & Compliance team. I was also encouraged to connect with the firm early on, by meeting with my Trainee Buddy and attending firm events.”

Intisar Abdi Trainee Solicitor

You’ll have responsibility from day one, working for stimulating clients across a range of sectors.

You’ll experience four seats in different practice areas for six months each during your Training Contract, giving you a rich learning experience and development opportunities. At the end of your two-year Training Contract, you’ll apply for our Newly Qualified (NQ) vacancies with the aim of progressing to an Associate at Bird & Bird.


The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requires a qualified solicitor to have a degree qualification, pass the SQE1 and SQE2, gain two-years’ full-time Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), and pass the character and suitability requirements.

SQE Training route diagram

We’re partnering with The University of Law to deliver a bespoke SQE programme prior to your Training Contract. The SQE is designed to prepare you for the academic challenges of the examinations, as well as the fundamental skills, technical excellence and commercial awareness required for your role as a lawyer at Bird & Bird.

You’ll complete the SQE1 which tests your legal knowledge and the SQE2 which assesses practical legal skills. You must pass each stage of the SQE before progressing onto the next. The SQE+ programme is a tailored experience for our future trainees joining Bird & Bird, which has been designed by our award-winning lawyers and Early Careers team in collaboration with The University of Law. 

For more information on the SQE, visit The University of Law.

See our FAQs for more

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Induction programme

Your relationship with us starts from the moment you secure your Training Contract. You’ll be invited to firm-wide socials, events, and updated on news, so the transition into your formal career is as smooth as possible. We also assign you a Trainee Buddy who’ll be a point of contact and support from offer letter to qualification at the firm.

Prior to starting your first seat, you’ll have a comprehensive two-week induction designed by our Learning & Development team. We’ll provide you with the basic building blocks for your personal growth and professional success as a trainee solicitor, with practical learning, insight sessions and skill-based workshops. We’ll introduce you to different areas of the firm, from Business Services to the Partners. This will strengthen your understanding of the role everyone plays within Bird & Bird and how we operate as an international, sector-focused, and technology-leading firm.

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Qualifying Work Experience

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requires a qualified solicitor to have a degree qualification, pass the SQE1 and SQE2, gain two-years’ full-time Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), and pass the character and suitability requirements.

At Bird & Bird, your QWE is the Training Contract. You’ll experience four seats for 6-months each over your two-year Training Contract, giving you a rich learning experience and development opportunities. You’ll practice different areas of law and work alongside different lawyers and clients every 6-months, as you find the area you want to pursue. During each seat, you’ll be assigned to a dedicated Supervisor who is an Associate or Partner within the department you’re sat in. We have 8 departments to choose from: Banking & Finance, Corporate, Commercial, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Intellectual Property, Real Estate, and Tax. Within our departments, we have sector and sub-sector specialisms, which you’ll experience in your different seats as you discover where your expertise and passion lies as a commercial solicitor.

You may also have the opportunity to experience an international or client secondment to enrich your experience. On an international secondment, you’ll explore life in a new city, immerse yourself in our truly global law firm, and work even closer with our international lawyers. On a client secondment, you'll develop your commercial edge by understanding their business and work from the inside.

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Learning & Development

Alongside your seat rotations, you’ll take part in a tailored Learning & Development Training Programme which will equip you with a broad range of technical and business skills, to progress your deep understanding of business issues for your future development. The sessions within this learning programme are a hybrid of online and in-person, and internal and external speakers and educators. You’ll put this learning into context as you rotate around different departments throughout your Training Contract.

You’ll receive regular feedback from your Supervisors and Early Careers team, to provide you with fundamental support and guidance to excel in your law career.

From induction to qualification, you’ll be networking and socialising with colleagues through our socials and events, and immersing yourself in our friendly, vibrant culture. You can also get involved in Corporate Responsibility and pro-bono initiatives, help with Early Career programmes, join our firm-wide sports teams, and become a member of our networks for further development opportunities.

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Diversity & Inclusion

We know an inclusive culture, alongside a diverse workforce, makes us more innovative and agile. 

The ability to connect the dots and leap to inspired solutions can't be underestimated. We believe it’s this pioneering approach that unlocks a world of opportunity. So, we work tirelessly to build a culture that makes it possible – possible for our people, our clients and our communities. We stay curious and work in truly international teams. It's what our clients value and it helps us to be the firm we want to be. 

Global D&I       UK D&I 

The shift to a more sustainable way of doing business needs people who embrace change and spark innovation. We’re up for the challenge, are you?

Sustainability is a core strategic initiative for us – It’s vital to our people, our clients and our planet. We embrace the step change needed to transform our business; not just minimising our environmental impact but, as a global citizen, making a positive contribution towards a more sustainable future. 

We believe that technology can be a force for good. Our work with some of the world’s most cutting edge companies gives us first-hand insight into the innovative approaches that create a new blueprint for sustainable living, so where possible we apply this to our own firm too.

We routinely manage our buildings responsibly, consider the impact of business travel, reduce waste and consumption and recycle wherever we can. More importantly, we commit to business decisions that support our sustainability pledges alongside our long-term economic growth strategies.

Global Sustainability       UK Sustainability

Pro Bono

The ability to help isn't always enough. In today's world, more often than not, what's needed is time. We believe Pro Bono is time well spent.

For us pro bono isn’t an add on. We are passionate about making a positive difference to people’s lives, and giving back to the communities we work within.

We give pro bono our time, consideration, and full expertise. Because our culture is focused on making it possible. Possible for our people, our clients and our communities. We believe we can open up possibilities for individuals and organisations in need, by contributing the time, legal expertise, skills, and resources needed to progress their cause.

It’s all the more satisfying when we can work together, with our clients and other key stakeholders to foster and develop collaborative opportunities that have a greater positive social impact as a result.

Global Pro Bono       UK Pro Bono

Corporate Social Responsibility

We believe in taking an active role in supporting our communities to make a difference.

We’re an outward-looking firm. We're interested in the world, current issues and emerging trends. We work with great clients doing great things. Things that have a real impact on the way the world does business, and how we all live. So, it's not surprising that we also want to have a positive influence by supporting our local communities. 

We work alongside our clients to champion initiatives that make an impact on the community around us. Our people dedicate time through volunteering and fundraising, and partner with charities across the world to truly amplify our impact.

Global CSR      UK CSR

Bird Benefits

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Our agile approach to office and remote working enables you to find the right balance to thrive at work. Supporting you, our business and our clients in a flexible way. All Trainee Solicitors can remote work 20% of the time.

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Bespoke benefits package for your finance, including 5% pension contribution, group income protection, group life assurance, group critical illness, and will writing.

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Equip yourself with a broad range of technical and business skills and progress your deep understanding through our tailored learning and development curriculum.

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£45,000 first-year salary, £50,000 second-year salary, and £92,400 newly qualified salary.

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£10,000 maintenance grant and all fees covered for the PGDL and £15,000 maintenance grant and all fees covered for SQE studies.

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Tailor your learning to Bird & Bird with our bespoke SQE+ programme and two-week induction prior to starting your Training Contract.

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Opportunity to socialise and study with your cohort before starting your Training Contract, to build your legal network.

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Network and socialise with colleagues through our socials and events, immersing yourself in our friendly, vibrant culture.

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Health and wellbeing in mind with a benefits package that includes private medical insurance, health assessments, maternity and paternity leave, shared parental leave, adoption leave, gym membership, flu vaccinations, eyecare, and dental insurance.

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Flexible benefits package for your lifestyle, including 25 days of paid holiday annually, travel insurance, interest-free season ticket loan, computer loan, cycle to work scheme, and give as you earn charity account.

Applying to us

To become a Trainee Solicitor at Bird & Bird, you can apply through two different routes: Vacation Schemes or Direct Training Contract.

There are up to 18 contracts available each year.

Vacation scheme direct training contract route diagram


Our Direct Training Contract route is an alternative to the Vacation Scheme. We recruit most of our future trainees from our Vacation Schemes. However, we recruit from a range of diverse backgrounds and appreciate that it might not be possible to attend a Vacation Scheme (e.g., visa restrictions, full time career). 

You can’t apply for a Vacation Scheme and a Direct Training Contract in the same recruitment year. You can also only apply to either the Spring or Summer Vacation Scheme. If you’ve attended our Vacation Scheme before, you must wait one recruitment year before reapplying.

We operate rolling recruitment, which means we screen applications as they’re received, rather than after our deadline. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Find out more

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