The Professional SQE
A unique place to grow - We offer stimulating work in an informative, challenging, and busy environment. Your contribution counts from the year before you join, with what is currently our unique LLM Commercial Legal Practice course, moving to the Professional SQE from 2022, through to the end of your qualifying work experience. With four seats over two years, you choose the practice or industry group areas you would like to experience, and you can benefit from a client or international secondment.
What this will look like…
After graduation you will study for the SQE 1 examination remotely from wherever you are in the world. The following 9 months you will work part time at Reed Smith for 2 days per week, spending 3 days a week studying to complete SQE 2 and the Advanced Knowledge & Skills that are vital to your success as a trainee. This concurrent studying and working will allow you to complete an applied Masters-level Professional Project related to the work you are doing, and have the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in business skills and the elements of an innovative and “O Shaped” lawyer.
During your time working with us, you’ll likely rotate through two roles in different business services teams at the firm, one of which may be client-facing. You will also have the advantage of being fully inducted at Reed Smith, building an understanding of our systems, business processes and a network of contacts throughout the firm before starting your Qualified Work Experience (QWE). You’ll be fully confident in talking to senior leaders, how to work with and influence your colleagues, and how to navigate the law firm environment. This experience will enable you to truly hit the ground running unlike any trainee has done before – starting your QWE as an experienced member of the Reed Smith team.
Why Reed Smith - We’ve been at the forefront of legal educational change since we launched our Masters in Law and Business in 2012 which many other law firms subsequently emulated; and this Professional SQE is the evolution of that offering. We thrive on creating innovative and inventive ways to ensure our trainees and our future lawyers are at the cutting edge of legal developments. Our Professional SQE brings together elements of the O Shaped lawyer offering and vocational professional training; ensuring our trainees gain an integrated and commercial understanding of working in a law firm so that they are equipped to succeed in the adapting legal services environment, while also meeting the SQE requirements as set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Where you’ll be based as a trainee - 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.
Your trainee induction - Your training and induction programme will start when you join us when studying for the SQE, this will mean that when you start your qualifying work experience you will be ready to hit the ground running.
Your peers - 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 solicitor who will provide guidance and support to help you through your first six months (and often beyond). In addition, for those conversations about qualification or more advanced topics, we offer mentoring support in each practice group from a junior associate.
Skills development replace with corner stone - In addition to training to introduce you to our practice areas, you will attend on-going 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 we encourage our trainee cohorts to mentor those more junior to them.
Qualifying Work Experience: 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.
Qualifications and skills
We are looking for candidates who are on target for or have achieved a 2.1 or above at degree level (or the equivalent) in any discipline. We are mindful that circumstances can sometimes prevent individuals from meeting their true potential and so we would encourage you to email us directly if you have mitigating circumstances. We are also looking for you to demonstrate that you have the skills and behaviours which we would expect from our trainees and these are as follows:
- Practice skills and knowledge – learns the basics
- Research and analysis – approaches research and analysis logically
- Written and oral communication skills – communicates clearly and concisely; is a good listener
- Developing self and others – actively makes use of opportunities to further own development
- Teamwork and collaboration – works co-operatively with colleagues
- Leadership – understands Reed Smith's strategy, values and policies
- Matter and financial management – manages own time commercially
- Client relationships – seeks to understand and meet client needs
- Business development – builds knowledge of the firm's capabilities and establishes relationships
When and how to apply
Applications for vacancies open on 1 October 2021 and will need to be made via our online application form. All applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, however the deadline for applying is 17 December 2021.