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The Government Legal Profession Jobs

The Government Legal Profession offers training contracts and pupillages to those looking to qualify as solicitors and barristers through an annual Legal Trainee recruitment campaign. If the campaign is open, details will be listed below. 

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Training Contract

As a trainee, you’ll be allocated to one of the departments that offers places to legal trainees. These are: The Government Legal Department (GLD), Government Legal Department (GLD) Commercial, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA). 

During your training contract, you’ll complete four six-month seats, a mix of contentious and non-contentious seats. Once you complete your training contract, departments hope to offer you a qualified lawyer position, although this is not guaranteed. GLD hopes to offer you a role as a qualified lawyer, starting at Legal Officer level as part of its 2 + 2 scheme.

The 2 + 2 scheme was designed to ensure that GLD lawyers gain plenty of experience beyond the seats they complete. This allows you to improve your resilience, makes it easier to transition into new roles, and improves promotion prospects. During your first four years working at GLD, as a qualified lawyer, you’ll complete two years in a contentious post, and two years in a non-contentious post. You’ll be posted according to business priorities and vacancies available, but you can give your personal preferences. 

If you complete your training contract with HMRC, you’ll be placed in a litigation or advisory team upon qualification. The other recruiting departments (HMRC, CMA and NCA) do not operate a 2 + 2 scheme, but you’ll be expected to move regularly at the beginning of your career. This means you can specialise in a particular area or spend time in a variety of different ones.

Pupillage structure

If your application is successful you will be allocated to one of the recruiting departments (ie GLD or HMRC).

Your training will be the responsibility of that department. The nature of your training will vary according to the department you have been allocated to.

Typically the training period offered by departments will last 2 years (and will not take into account previous training completed elsewhere).

During the pupillage period (the first 12 months) your time will be split between your department and a set of external barristers’ chambers. The remainder of the training period will be completed within your department.

You will be involved in the wide range of work in which your department and chambers are involved in. You may attend court with your supervisor, carry out research for other lawyers and draft opinions.

Government departments tend to use the services of external counsel for most of their court work.

Candidates wishing to focus principally on an advocacy career should bear this in mind.