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Bates Wells Application Process

Read this page in detail before you make an application to Bates Wells; it's very important to be familiar with the application process. 

The Application

By applying for a vacation scheme, you will automatically be considered for the training contract. 

The application form will cover academics, motivation for joining the firm and profession, as well as what work experience you have been involved with. The firm works with Rare recruitment for their contextual recruitment tool, which is built into the application form, to make sure that they do not miss any candidates. Bates Wells takes mitigating circumstances very seriously and encourages you to include anything they should be aware about on your form. Should you wish to discuss your experiences please contact the firm’s Recruitment & Trainee Development Manager, Francesca Evans ( 

Stage one

The application form is a great opportunity to talk about what you are passionate about and how that can be applied to the life of a solicitor. Be sure to understand what a B-Corporation is, and why Bates Wells are proud of that. The firm recruits on a rolling basis, so please try to get your application submitted sooner rather than later. 

Stage two

If you submit an application that aligns to the firm’s values, then you may be invited to complete the next stage of the process, the critical thinking test. If you are sent the test, you will be given up to 7 days to complete it, and a free practice test will be sent to you before you take the real thing. The test helps the firm assess critical thinking, and once you’ve completed the test, Bates Wells will re-review the application and test scores to shortlist candidates to interview. If you’d like to practise or explore further then please click the link to be taken to a free test: 

Vacation Scheme Application

If you have applied for a vacation scheme, you will be invited to have an interview with two members of the recruitment panel to secure a place on either of the summer schemes. The interview will cover questions about your application as well as some other competency-based questions. There may be conversations on things happening in the world, so make sure to keep up-to-date on current affairs and be prepared to provide an opinion on the subject. Decisions following an interview are usually communicated within 10 days.

Those invited to the vacation scheme will be advised before joining on how they will be assessed and will have plenty of time to ask questions. Everything will be recapped during the scheme so that you are best placed to succeed, be supported, and importantly, have fun!

Training Contract Application

If you have applied for a direct training contract, you will be invited to an assessment day where you will have an interview with two members of the recruitment team and complete a formal, written assessment. Before coming onto the assessment day, you will be given information on how best to prepare with opportunities to ask questions. Bates Wells will try and give you exposure to other people in the firm, including their trainees so you can get a better idea of the people you might be working with.  

Everyone who gets onto the assessment day or vacation scheme will complete the same written assessment. Feedback on interviews and the assessments are gathered to determine who will be selected for a final interview. Regardless of whether your application has progressed to the final stage, everyone will be encouraged to have a feedback call with the recruitment team.

Please speak to Francesca Evans ( should you require adjustments to be made to the process owing to a disability, or for a general conversation regarding adjustments.

Stage three

Not all candidates will be invited to the final stage interview. Bates Wells’ Managing Partner alongside another Partner will interview candidates shortlisted for the training contract at the final stage. These interviews take place from late July, and the firm aims to have decisions communicated by September at the very latest.

Feedback and preparing for the final interview will be offered to every candidate at this stage, which is also a great opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on your experience of the process.