Bates Wells Bates Wells

  • City Law Firms



Making a profit is core to all businesses but our goal is to combine this with a real social purpose. Our values are pivotal to us, they shape our decisions and the way we live and work.

We focus on positive social impact as much as we focus on being a successful law firm. Our top tier legal advice is coupled with a real desire to drive change and we were the first UK law firm with B Corp certification, awarded to businesses that balance purpose and profit.

Today, our clients are diverse – from corporate household names, to public bodies, to start ups. We’re also the firm of choice for thousands of charities and social enterprises. We continue to lead the market we helped to shape.

Bates Wells challenges what is possible in legal expertise delivery.

Vacation Schemes

Our summer placements are a great way to make your mark – and could lead to a training contract.

If you’re committed to applying for a trainee position at Bates Wells, our vacation placements are worth a look. By applying for a vacation scheme, you’re guaranteed to be considered for a training contract. You don’t need to apply for both the vacation scheme and the training contract – you only need to choose one.

Vacation Scheme Dates 2022:

Due to Covid-19 we have conducted trainee recruitment virtually in 2020 and 2021. We continue to monitor government guidance and will begin preparing to return to the office when possible. We hope to conduct in-person schemes in 2022.

Summer Vacation Scheme 1: Monday 6 June – Friday 17 June 2022

Summer Vacation Scheme 2: Monday 20 June – Friday 1 July 2022

Please make an application between 1 October 2021 – 31 January 2022 to either of the schemes. We review applications on a rolling basis so please apply at your earliest convenience.

What you can expect from the vacation scheme

You’ll sit in two different departments during your fortnight with us. But from day one, you’ll feel part of something bigger. You’ll have the chance to explore the firm and the values that drive us, and we’ll always support you to be yourself.

You’ll meet a wide range of our people, and you’ll get to know our shared sense of purpose and values. We encourage you to get involved with the whole department and any events happening during your time with us.

How the vacation scheme fits into the training contract application process

Before joining the scheme you will receive an agenda about different events happening during your time with us, and opportunities to attend drop-in calls if you have any questions leading up to the scheme. You will have points of contact in the HR team that you can reach out to about anything in the build up to the placement. We want you to feel as prepared as possible for your first day, so you can really enjoy your experience.

When you arrive for your vacation scheme, we’ll go into more detail about how we’ll be assessing you throughout the placement, and give you helpful information to prepare in advance. During the scheme you will complete a written assessment, which is based on a typical trainee task. You will also have an end of scheme interview with two members of the recruitment panel to talk about your experiences of the scheme.

If you’re successful following the scheme, we’ll invite you back for a final interview from July with two partners (including our Managing Partner). After final interviews, we’ll offer training contracts to successful candidates.

If you decide to apply directly for a training contract rather than going for the vacation scheme, you’ll still complete the initial form and Watson Glaser test. However, you’ll be invited to an assessment day at the firm rather than the competency based interview and vacation scheme. The assessment day consists of an interview and written exercise, and if successful, you’ll be invited back for a final interview alongside successful vacation scheme students in July. 

Salary & Benefits

We currently pay first year trainees £38,000 and second year trainees £40,000. Our NQ salary is £65,000. We review all salaries annually.

We’ll provide full financial support for both the GDL and LPC, as long as your courses commence after we’ve offered you a training contract. We also provide maintenance grants during the GDL and LPC.

We also provide maintenance grants during the GDL and LPC of £7,000 if you’re studying in London and slightly less outside of London.

We are currently finalising our approach to the SQE and will update our website as soon as we have more information on what financial support we will offer for this route.

Other benefits include life insurance, private healthcare, cycle to work scheme, gym, employee assistant programme, pension, profit sharing scheme, recognition scheme, season ticket loan, wellbeing weeks, access to complementary therapies, volunteering days, agile working, extra day of annual leave (usually in December) as well as many more.


Training contract requirements 

We are looking for solid academic achievers – those who have achieved at least ABB at A-Level, plus a 2:1 or above at university. We work with RARE and use their contextualised recruitment system that helps us to recruit candidates from a diverse socio-economic background. The tool provides us with a valuable insight into the context of which grades were achieved. Working with RARE means we are able to recognise talent that we might have missed based on our selection criteria. This means we encourage everyone to complete this information on the form so we can have a better picture, particularly in relation to A-Level grades. 

We are also really interested in what sort of post-graduate study you have embarked on, if any, as we are always looking for academic progression. This means if your grades at A-Level/undergrad level are more inconsistent and do not meet the selection criteria, but you have shown development at post-grad stage, your recent academics will be viewed more positively.

Please note that academics are only part of the form and part of what is taken into consideration! We are also interested in how your values align with ours and what practical examples you can provide to demonstrate this as well as why you want to be a trainee solicitor at the firm. We are interested in finding out who you are, and why you’ve decided to apply, so academics form only part of the decisions.

Please be aware that we take into account mitigating circumstances, and would encourage you to include this on your form. We take mitigating circumstances very seriously, and if you’re unsure if your experience/situation constitutes a mitigating circumstance we would encourage you to include it anyway – any extra colour is helpful, especially if you believe they have impacted your academic performance at any stage. You are welcome to speak with Francesca Evans (, Recruitment & Trainee Development Manager about this too before submitting an application.

Contact details

For general queries please contact our Graduate Recruitment email address: 

For queries around adjustments or to have a conversation around mitigating circumstance please contact Francesca Evans (, Recruitment & Trainee Development Manager

For roles not relating to trainee recruitment, please review the vacancies on our website and apply following the instructions.


All applications should be made via the website:

We recruit for vacation schemes on a rolling basis so apply early to avoid disappointment. Applications for vacation schemes are open 1 October 2021 – 31 January 2022. Applications for training contracts are open 1 October 2021 – 1 June 2022.

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