• International Law Firms
  • London

Training Contract

  • Places: 25

Vacation Scheme

  • Places: 24

Firm stats

  • Total employees: 700




Ambitious and entrepreneurial graduates are rewarded at Reed Smith with a training programme that is supportive, challenging and exciting, offering unparalleled client and international secondments. Our unique culture, which allows trainees to turn passions into careers, is one of the reasons our lawyers remain with us for such a long time, moving seats, jobs roles and even countries, but sticking with the firm.

We are a global law firm with more than 1,800 lawyers in offices throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States. Unusually, we operate as one global partnership, rather than separate country-specific partnerships, which is why we’re so good at collaborating across borders to support our clients. As a leading advisor to industries including financial services, energy and natural resources, entertainment and media, real estate and shipping, our lawyers work with some of the most innovative organisations in the world – from multi-billion dollar Silicon Valley giants to national banks. We have even represented some of the biggest pop stars on the planet.

Our London office, based in The Broadgate Tower, is now the largest in the firm. This state-of-the-art building provides an exceptional workspace and 360-degree views from our cafeteria on the 31st floor.

Training Contract

Our training programme starts with a detailed 2.5-week induction course to discover how the firm works, build some vital practical skills and begin to complete core modules of your professional skills course (PSC).The first relationships you’ll form at Reed Smith will be with your fellow trainees, who will help you develop and prosper throughout your training contract. As part of the process, you’ll also link up with a ‘buddy’ – a more experienced trainee solicitor who will provide guidance and support to help you through your first six months (and often beyond). In addition, we offer mentoring support in each practice group from a junior associate, for those conversations about qualification or more advanced topics.

More training if you are hungry for it – and developing your own skills: in addition to training to introduce you to our practice areas, you will attend ongoing training on updates and developments with the partners and associates. We are also keen to allow you to develop your own coaching and mentoring skills, so encourage our trainee cohorts to mentor those more junior to them on the LLM Commercial Legal Practice.

And then you move into your first seat: while classroom learning is important, your practical legal training and experience is where you really learn how to be a lawyer. During each seat, you will get regular feedback from your supervisor to help you gauge your progress, including a mid-seat and end-of-seat appraisal.

To apply for a training contract you will need to apply via our vacation schemes.

Vacation Scheme

Our spring and summer vacation schemes offer students the opportunity to gain a strong insight into life at Reed Smith, as well as providing a solid account of the type of work encountered as a trainee.

Your seats: you will have the opportunity to experience one or two practice areas of your choice. The winter vacation scheme lasts one week and gives you the chance to experience one seat, and the summer vacation schemes last two weeks, letting you try two seats. Whichever you choose, you’ll have an experienced supervisor, and be integrated into a team and assigned to live projects. You’ll also have a trainee buddy who will act as an informal guide – you can catch up with them at any point, and ask any questions.

Assessment and sessions: alongside your seats, you will have the opportunity to attend various sessions to improve your legal and business skills. These include a pro bono exercise and a variety of workshops, covering topics such as negotiation expertise, cultural intelligence, presentation skills, and business development. These sessions, alongside feedback from your seats, will allow the Graduate Recruitment Team and other people from across the business to assess your suitability for becoming a Reed Smith Trainee.

Getting to know us: throughout the vacation scheme, you will get to experience the real culture of our firm through informal, relaxed socials alongside our trainees. This will give you a chance to really gain a deeper insight into each person’s path to Reed Smith, allowing you to get to know fellow team members and begin to network and build your own profile.

Salary & Benefits

Trainees at Reed Smith enjoy an annual salary of £435000 in the first year and £50,000 in the second year. Additional benefits include: health insurance, life assurance, private healthcare, discounted gym membership, a season ticket loan, a contributory pension scheme, subsidised meals in the firm’s cafeteria, lifestyle discount and concierge service, 25 days holiday, comprehensive flexible benefits package and an opportunity to take part in the firm’s cycle-to-work scheme.

If you’re accepted onto Reed Smith’s training programme, your LPC (SQE) and GDL fees will be paid for in full. You will also be given a £6,000 maintenance grant for your GDL study year and £7,000 for your LPC (SQE) study year.


Reed Smith looks for candidates with a strong academic background. The minimum requirement is a 2:1 at undergraduate level (achieved or predicted) in any subject. However, we do take into consideration mitigating circumstances.

Candidates should demonstrate research, analysis, communication, teamwork, leadership and client relationship skills.

If you receive your training contract offer prior to completing the GDL/SQE, we will sponsor your GDL course through King’s College London and your SQE course with Barbri. We have a sole provider agreement with both King’s College and Barbri, meaning all our future trainees are expected to attend these institutes. The idea behind this is so that we can start to build relationships with our future trainees before they join and that all trainees receive the same training.


AllAboutLaw Awards 2018

Winner - Best Vacation Scheme

Winner - Best Opportunities for Skills Development - Vacation Scheme

Winner- Best Vacation Scheme – International or City Firm


If you’re interested in joining Reed Smith, the first step is to complete an online application form via our website. Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button at the bottom of the page to get started. Applications for both the spring and summer vacation scheme will be made through the same link, however you can specify which preference you have. Applications will be open from October 1st to December 17th, however please note we will be monitoring application numbers and may need to adjust our closing date depending on volume.

The first stage of the process is an application form, which is completed online. If successful at this stage, you will then be asked to complete a situational strengths test (SST), again online. If you meet the standard on the SST, then you will be invited to undertake an on-demand strengths based video interview. Should you be successful at this stage, you will then be invited to undertake a case study exercise. The location of the case study exercise (virtual or in person) will depend on the Covid-19 situation and government guidelines at the time of interview.

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact Reed Smith’s graduate recruitment team at or call them on 020 3116 3000.

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