We understand that you may have questions and these are the ones we get asked most often. If you can't find the answer you are looking for then please get in touch. You can find the graduate recruitment team's details on the contacts page.
Yes, we recruit directly from our vacation schemes. We do not accept direct training contract applications.
Yes. We aim to ensure our intake is as diverse as possible.
Yes, we do recruit on a rolling basis. Candidates will be assessed and may be moved on to our online assessment stage whilst applications are still being accepted. However, no candidates will be invited to our Assessment Centre until after the deadline has passed.
If you did not obtain a 2:1 or a First (or the equivalent), we would expect to see exceptional academic ability demonstrated elsewhere. We do take into account mitigating circumstances.
You might feel an LLM would improve your chances if, for example, you did not achieve a 2:1 in your degree (or the equivalent); it certainly does show added commitment. However, we suggest you should only study for an LLM if you have a genuine interest in doing so. It is not a factor which we would usually take into account for selection purposes.
Yes, we are happy for candidates to reapply in the next recruitment year.
We ask candidates to wait at least 12 months before reapplying.
Yes, if we provide you with a training contract prior to you completing the PGDL/ SQE, we will sponsor your PGDL course through BPP and your SQE course with Barbri and the College of Legal Practice. We only sponsor students attending these providers. The reason for this is so that we can build relationships with our future trainees before they join us and so that all our future trainees receive the same training. However, if you have already completed your qualification with a different law school, this will not disadvantage your application.
Reed Smith has transitioned to the new professional SQE route. As such, we ask all of our future trainees to complete the SQE course regardless of whether you have completed the LPC. However if you have already completed your LPC, we will only ask you to take the SQE2 and not the SQE1. This way we can ensure all of our future trainees receive the same training and you have the opportunity to gain part time work experience at Reed Smith during your SQE2 as part of our unique programme.
We will pay your course fees for both the GDL (if required) and SQE plus a maintenance grant of £10,500 while studying for the GDL and £11,500 to assist during the SQE. You will also be paid for the two days work per week at the firm during your Professional SQE Placements.
We do our very best to accommodate preferences of training contract start dates, however this will depend on spaces available and your interim studies that need to be completed. In general, we try to prioritise earlier TC offers to those who are further along in their studies at the time of their offer. Please note that we are recruiting for Training Contracts starting no earlier than March 2025.
You are able to select which departments you want to sit in throughout your training contract, and list them in order of preference. We do our best to accommodate everyone's first choice, but we encourage trainees to keep an open mind.
Yes, we currently run trainee secondments to Dubai and Paris. We also offer a wide range of client secondments. We review secondments on an annual basis.
We only recruit a small number of trainees a year. This is because we are not only committed to giving you the best possible training, but also to retaining our trainees upon qualification. Our retention rate in 2023 was 70%.
One of our summer students recently observed, "Reed Smith’s sociable ethos was carried over after working hours. It was good to see that people didn’t spend their whole lives at their desk, and the evenings out were always well attended." There are various sports teams, including softball, football and cricket – spectators are always welcome. The firm also often arranges socials; including all members of staff. Impromptu drinks are often suggested after work.
At Reed Smith, we are passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion. Our core values are at the heart of everything we do; they represent who we are and who we want to be. Our mission is focused on the recruitment, retention, promotion and professional development of our diverse talent. We are transforming our culture through “tone at the top” messaging and innovative programming focused on inclusive behaviour and actions. Our trainees have the opportunity to join our Business Inclusion Groups (BIGs), including MCN (Multicultural BIG), PRISM (LGBTQ+ BIG), LEADRS (Disability BIG) WINRS (Women’s Initiative Network) and Mental Health Taskforce.
Our Responsible Business initiatives include Pro Bono, Community Volunteering, DE&I programmes and Fundraising activities. Our Responsible Business Partner, Michael Skrein explains “We are determined to be an ever more responsible business. It’s all about who we are and who we want to be”. For more information, you can read our Responsible Business report.
In 2022, we launched our Global Environmental Sustainability Plan 2024. The firm will build on previous environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and operate in a more sustainable fashion. In 2021, we became a founding member of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance. Within Graduate Recruitment, we’re proud to be a member of the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance.
We use the UK national agency for international qualifications and skills to verify degree equivalencies. However, if you’d like to check in advance of applying, there are a number of resources available online to provide some guidance.