Macfarlanes LLP Macfarlanes LLP

  • City Law Firms
  • London

Training Contract

  • Places: Up to 30

Vacation Scheme

  • Places: Placements:55, Internships: 20

Firm stats

  • Total employees: 708




Macfarlanes is a leading City law firm with a straightforward, independently-minded approach. The driving force behind the firm is an absolute commitment to delivering the right advice in the right way to our clients.  Our lawyers know that clients face mounting complexity and time pressure, and use their experience to deliver clear, concise advice. The firm’s partners get involved, stay involved, and with the support of tight knit teams, advise on the most critical matters with clarity and confidence.

The size of our firm is important. We’ve kept things simple. We’ve decided against growth at the expense of quality, against size at the expense of efficiency and agility. So whilst we’re large enough to advise on the most complex matters, we’re also small enough to ensure that our people and our work are exceptional, without fail.

Finally, rather than opening offices around the world, we take a “client first” approach to international work.  Our clients get the best advice from the right lawyer – wherever in the world they need it.

Our combination of culture and expertise makes us a formidable force in the legal market.  Sustaining our position depends on recruiting and training successive generations of truly exceptional lawyers.

Training Contract

Woven into every aspect of life at the firm is an enduring commitment to the development of trainees.  Training begins with the Legal Practice Course at the London Holborn branch of BPP Law School.  You will study with those going to other firms during the compulsory elements of the LPC, and for the separate set of electives, the courses are designed for our trainees to take together so you are better prepared for work in our distinctive range of practice areas. 

During the two-year training contract you’ll be working on real cases, doing real work for real clients from day one.  As a trainee you will spend six months in four different practice areas; typically it is one seat in corporate and M&A, two seats in either commercial real estate, private client, litigation or tax and then a seat in one of our specialised corporate practice areas. 

Once you begin your training contract you will follow an intensive schedule of seminars and lectures, presented largely by partners or senior solicitors from within the firm.  The programme is ‘front-loaded’ to develop your knowledge and skills. 

Each of your seats will feature a mid-seat and end-of-seat review, where you can discuss your progress and which areas need focus.  Throughout your contract you will have six month reviews with your principal (mentor).  All these mechanisms are there to ensure you get the best and most appropriate experience during these first years. 

Vacation Scheme

Vacation Schemes Our vacation schemes are designed to give you a two-week snapshot of life as a trainee.  You will be given as much hands-on experience as possible, enabling you to develop a real understanding of the firm's culture and our work.  You might draft a letter and then work through the draft with a solicitor or trainee; or you might do some research on a live issue for a client.  Alternatively, you may be taken to client meetings or to meet counsel.

You will spend each of your two weeks with us in a different practice area, working alongside a partner, solicitor or trainee. At the same time, you will undertake a mock transaction that will run for the duration of your placement.

Away from the work, the scheme has a strong social component.  As well as the organised events, bowling with our trainees for example, or lunch with our partners, there are many opportunities to get to know people throughout the firm and to find out if Macfarlanes is right for you.

The dates of our 2018 vacation schemes are as follows:

Easter:  3 - 13 April 2018

Summer scheme 1: 25 June - 6 July 2018

Summer scheme 2: 9 - 20 July 2018

Insight Day

We offer an insight day for first year undergraduates or second year undergraduates completing a four-year degree, to show you what life and work is really like at a leading law firm. The day includes:

  • A negotiation exercise
  • Speed networking
  • Lunch with trainees, solicitors and partners
  • An application skills workshop
  • Work-shadowing a trainee

Whilst the day enables us to meet you this is a two-way process. You will have an opportunity to meet people  across the firm. Work-shadowing one of our trainees offers invaluable experience. You will get to see the real work that goes on behind closed doors. We will also help you with application forms, offering advice and tips on what you should and shouldn’t write. In addition we ask that you come armed with questions.  This day will provide you with skills and information to decide whether a career in law is right for you.

Our 2018 First Year Insight Day will be held on Tuesday 27 March.

Salary & Benefits

Future trainees receive a maintenance allowance of £7,000 during their Macfarlanes’ Legal Practice Course (LPC) in London and their fees are paid.  For non-law students, we pay your Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) fees and a maintenance allowance of £7,000 in London, Oxford and Guildford and £6,250 elsewhere.

Salaries for our trainees are currently as follows:

Trainee year 1 - £44,000

Trainee year 2 - £49,000

On qualifying: £75,000


Flexible benefits package including:

26 days’ holiday

Pension scheme with company contributions

Private healthcare 

Discretionary performance related bonus scheme

Subsidised café

Life assurance


Our training contracts are conditional upon obtaining a 2:1 degree or above, and at least a Commendation in your LPC and CPE/GDL (if applicable).

Vacation schemes are open to those who are in their penultimate year of an undergraduate degree from any degree discipline, expecting to graduate or have graduated with a 2:1 degree or above.

The Insight Day is open to first year undergraduates or second year undergraduates undertaking a four year degree from any discipline with outstanding academics and an interest in law.


AllAboutLaw Awards 2017

Training Contract Score: 84%

Vacation Scheme Score: 83.9%

Finalist - Best Training - Training Contract 


All our applications are online at

Training Contracts

Our training contract applications open on 1 October 2017 and close on 31 July 2018.  We recruit on a rolling basis and will begin interviewing candidates from Spring 2018.

Vacation Schemes

To apply for the vacation scheme you will need to be in at least the penultimate year of your degree. Applications for our 2018 vacation schemes open on 1 October 2017 and close on 31 January 2018.  Click here to apply (from 1 October). Assessment days will be held from early January through to February. 

First Year Insight Day

Our insight day applications open on 1 October 2017 and close on 28 February 2018.  Telephone interviews will be held in February and March 2018.