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Sidley Austin LLP Graduate Careers

This is Sidley Austin's law firm hub, covering all the necessary information you need before making an application to the firm. Research the firm in detail and find out how to make an application! 

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The AllAboutLaw perspective on Sidley Austin

Trainees at Sidley Austin get to experience the best of both worlds, the experience of working in a large, international law firm, with the down-to-earth friendliness of a smaller office. Recruiting only 12-14 trainees a year, this means that everyone gets involved in real-life, high quality work. This allows you to gain a greater understanding of the legal world as a whole, and become more confident in your skills as a lawyer.

Lawyers at Sidley Austin can get involved in a variety of different practice areas: ranging from capital markets to litigation. Whatever the seat, you’ll be working in small teams on complex matters, and will receive plenty of feedback and support from senior lawyers. There is even the option to go on secondment to the firm’s offices in Hong Kong and Brussels. 

There’s no denying that trainees work hard at the firm, but they also receive plenty of support. The firm holds a number of wellbeing days each year, as well as in-house counselling sessions and a free subscription to Headspace meditation. Trainees are also compensated incredibly well financially, earning an immense £50,000 starting salary rising to £138,500 on qualification.

Sidley Austin are also committed to giving back to their community, with the firm completing over 100,000 pro bono hours each year. Each trainee receives two volunteering days a year, which they can spend with any registered charity of their choosing. The firm also provides pro-bono advice to a number of charities, including Not Beyond Redemption who support imprisoned mothers and KIND who provide advice to undocumented families.  

What the firm says

Founded in 1856, Sidley Austin has become incredibly successful, with 20 offices worldwide and making millions in revenue each year. The firm was even the place where Barack and Michelle Obama first got together. While the firm works with a variety of high-profile clients, the firm is also keen to stay true to their humble roots, by creating opportunities for everyone. 54% of the 2016 partner class were diverse or female, while the firm has plenty of programmes in place to ensure a diverse workforce. The firm mentors 20 young people from a local academy, and provides work experience for disadvantaged students via PRIME, to learn about life in a busy law firm. Inside the firm, there are a variety of different networks for those from marginalised backgrounds, which all have a direct line to the Executive committee, who have the power to make a difference. 

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Academic requirements

14 training contracts are offered each year to candidates who have earned or been predicted a 2:1 degree in any subject and a minimum of three A-levels with AAA grades (or equivalent); consistently high levels of academic performance; and demonstrate a keen interest in law, commercial enterprise and the financial industry.

Desirable qualities include self-motivation; discipline and hard work; the ability to interact and work well with others; strong communication, analytical and management skills; a practical approach; patience; and a show of independent initiative.

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