Our Vacation Scheme will strengthen your knowledge, law-specific skills and experience of the legal sector.

You’ll have an unfiltered look at the way people work in a law firm and the impact of client relationships. As a sector-focused firm, you’ll learn about our clients across a range of sectors in your department. You’ll experience a variety of training, skill sessions, insight talks, and Q&As from a breadth of people at the firm, including our lawyers, Early Careers, Diversity & Inclusion, Risk & Compliance, and IT teams. You’ll be able to network and socialise with colleagues through our socials and events, immersing yourself in our friendly, vibrant culture.

Key dates

Spring Vacation Scheme: Monday 17 April to Friday 28 April 2023.
Summer Vacation Scheme: Monday 19 June to Friday 30 June 2023

It’s both an opportunity for you to showcase your potential as a trainee solicitor and decide whether Bird & Bird is the right firm for you. At the end of the scheme, the top performers will be recruited for a Training Contract

There are up to 30 positions available across two schemes: Spring and Summer. 

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Trainee Quotes


I was able to support trainees and associates with real client tasks and get stuck in from day one – it was great to see how my tasks fed into supporting the wider team. I also went to court for the first time, which was definitely a highlight.

Hibaat Abdi Trainee Solicitor


From the outset, the people at Bird & Bird always made me feel like I could talk to them and there was never a moment I felt I was getting in their way. This openness throughout the office gave me the confidence to organise coffees with various partners and associates, to learn more about their work at Bird & Bird.

Harry Kinnings Trainee solicitor

Applying to us

Applications to our 2023 Vacation Schemes open on Thursday 15 September 2022. Our Spring Vacation Scheme applications close on Friday 16 December, and our Summer Vacation Scheme applications close Saturday 31 December at midnight. We operate rolling recruitment, so apply as early as possible.

The application process typically includes an online application form, a Watson-Glaser test, a video interview, and an assessment centre. Once you have applied, you’ll receive a confirmation of your received application form. You’ll be notified if your application has been unsuccessful or receive an email regarding the next stage of the application at each stage.

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 our Vacation Scheme. We recruit most of our future trainees through our Vacation Schemes. However, we recruit from a range of diverse background 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.

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Who can apply

You’re eligible to apply if you can commence a Training Contract in 2025. This means you’ll be in your penultimate-year of a law degree, final-year of a non-law degree, or already graduated by Autumn 2023. You must be able to attend the entire Spring or Summer Vacation Scheme.

We accept applications from those who have, or will expect to have, a minimum of AAB at A-Level and a 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). However, we do understand that you may not have received the grade you hoped for due to extenuating or mitigating circumstances. Please detail any relevant information in your application for us to take into consideration. We also use the Rare Contextual Recruitment System to enable us to recruit people from different backgrounds and help us understand your achievements in the context in which they were gained.

Inclusive Recruitment

Inclusivity is integral to us

We know an inclusive culture, alongside a diverse workforce, makes us more innovative and agile. We are keen to create a recruitment process where everyone feels supported to succeed, to ensure that we recruit the top candidates onto our programmes, no matter their background or circumstance. It’s also the right thing to do.

Early Careers UK highlights:

  • To minimise bias, we operate blind screening and blind interviewing, so all identification details and previous assessments are hidden from our assessors and interviewers.
  • To increase support, we offer confidential advice and adjustments to disabled and neurodiverse candidates to ensure they have a barrier-free recruitment experience. If you require adjustments, you can email our Early Careers team.
  • To increase accessibility, we’re recruiting the majority of our candidates online, with online application forms, online Watson-Glaser tests, online video interviews, and (some) virtual assessment centres. Our Flying Start Programme, Virtual Experience Programme and Open Days are entirely online.
  • To increase diversity in underrepresented groups, we introduced the Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) into our recruitment process. Since August 2018, we’ve used contextual data to help us identify candidates with the greatest potential despite their significant academic, personal or socio-economic disadvantage. We can recognise the achievements of candidates in the context in which they were gained.
  • To increase diversity in the legal professional, we partner with a number of platforms, networks and initiatives to educate and equip aspiring lawyers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. For example, we work with 10,000 Black Interns , Aspiring Solicitors, Forage.

Sustainability is a core strategic initiative for us – it’s vital to our people, our clients, and our planet. 

From paper brochures to tote bags, plastic bottles, and travelling across the country, we recognise the impact of recruitment on the environment, and we’re committed to making a greener way of recruiting. The Early Careers UK team are transforming the way in which they recruit, with sustainability in mind.

Early Careers UK highlights:

  • We’re using digital brochures and/or QR codes for people to access our information. You can access all our early career opportunities online, via our social media or website.
  • We no longer travel across the UK to universities to participate in in-person law fairs or events, as part of our sustainability and diversity and inclusion initiative. Instead, we’re adopting a hybrid approach by hosting online events and ensuring that any in-person events are accessible by public transport or are hosted at our London office.
  • We’re reducing our production of merchandise in Early Careers UK, and anything we do produce will be from a sustainable, ethical source.
  • We’re recruiting the majority of our candidates online, with online application forms, online Watson-Glaser tests, online video interviews, and (some) virtual assessment centres. Our Flying Start Programme, Virtual Experience Programme and Open Days are entirely online.
  • We’re reducing the amount of meat served at our events and offering more meat-alternatives for vegetarians, vegans, and those with dietary requirements.
  • You can read more about our firmwide sustainability programme, including our commitment to set science-based net zero targets here