Macfarlanes LLP Macfarlanes LLP

  • City Law Firms
  • London

Training Contract

  • Places: 30

Vacation Scheme

  • Places: 55

Firm stats

  • Total employees: 723




Macfarlanes is a distinctive London-based law firm, focused on its clients and on delivering excellence in the international legal market.  The firm is known for the quality of its work; not just in dealing with the full range of corporate and commercial matters, but in advising clients on their private affairs as well. 

Macfarlanes has made a deliberate choice to remain smaller than many of its peers.  The cohesive nature of the firm means that clients benefit from collective experience and close-knit teams.  The firm has decided against growth at the expense of quality, against size at the expense of efficiency and agility.  So whilst large enough to advise on the most complex matters, the firm is also small enough to ensure that its people and work are exceptional, without fail.

Training Contract

Training Contract

Woven into every aspect of life at the firm is an enduring commitment to the development of trainees.  We recruit 30 trainees yearly. Training begins with tailored electives on 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; including a compulsory corporate and M&A seat.  You will have the opportunity to submit your seat preferences and we will do our best to ensure you get to work in the seats that most interest you.


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 from the start. 

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 an insight into life as a trainee over the course of two weeks.  As a vacation scheme student 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.

The two weeks will be split across two different practice areas to maximise your exposure.  You will find yourself 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, socials 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 2019 vacation schemes are as follows:

Easter:  8 - 18 April 2019

Summer scheme 1: 24 June - 5 July 2019

Summer scheme 2: 8 - 19 July 2019

First year insight day

First Year Insight Day

The first year insight day is designed to provide you with an insight into City Law and to give you the opportunity to meet trainees, solicitors and partners within the firm.

During the day you will undertake:

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

Whilst the day enables us to meet you, this is a two-way process. Work-shadowing one of our trainees offers invaluable experience. You will get exposure to the work that goes on in one of our practice areas.  We will also help you with application forms, offering advice on what you should and shouldn’t write. 

The day is all about helping you decide if a career in law would be right for you so we recommend that you come armed with plenty of questions.  

Our 2019 First Year Insight Day will be held on Tuesday 2 April.

Salary & Benefits

Future trainees receive a maintenance allowance during their Macfarlanes’ Legal Practice Course (LPC) in London and fees are paid in full.  For non-law students, we pay your Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) fees and a maintenance allowance.

Salaries for our trainees are currently as follows:

Trainee year 1 - £44,000

Trainee year 2 - £49,000

On qualifying: £80,000


Flexible benefits package including:

26 days’ holiday

Pension scheme with company contributions

Private healthcare 

Discretionary performance related bonus scheme

Subsidised staff restaurant

Season ticket loan

Life assurance


The first year 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.

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. 

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).


All our applications are online at

First Year Insight Day

Our first year insight day applications open on 1 October 2018 and close on 28 February 2019.  Telephone interviews will be held in February and March 2019.

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 2019 vacation schemes open on 1 October 2018 and close on 31 January 2019.  Click here to apply (from 1 October). Assessment days will be held from early January through to February. 

Training Contracts

Our training contract applications open on 1 October 2018 and close on 31 July 2019.  We recruit on a rolling basis and will begin interviewing candidates from Spring 2019.


Practice Area Open Day

Wednesday 28 November: 12 – 2pm or 3 – 5pm

This is a great opportunity to ask questions and meet a variety of people from around the firm at this law fair style event. You will speak to solicitors and trainees from all of our practice areas and find out more about the work they do.

Who should attend? The open day will be of interest to students (law and non-law) looking for a career in law.  

How to sign up – Places are limited.  To apply to attend, please go to 

Recruiting? We can help