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Where Firms Recruit From (Direct TC/VS)

Nat000

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Future Trainee
  • Feb 14, 2020
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    Please take this with a pinch of salt. Most of it is accurate, especially in the last section where firms are clear on their websites that they only recruit vac schemers, but things get more ambiguous in the first two sections. My main sources have been legal articles, but I've also combed through the TCLA forums to find where people have posted about speaking directly to grad rec and asking them this question. In a very few cases I've used Jessica's formula as a rough guide to work out how many places you could expect to be taken up by VS versus TC.

    Be aware that in the second section, I've included a lot of American firms which technically have a direct TC route open (e.g. Akin Gump) but they only have 12 trainees, so you can expect pretty much all of those to have come from the VS. I just didn't want to say that you definitely wouldn't be hired if you applied directly, so these firms aren't in the last section.

    Also, this is a work in progress. I've left out a lot of firms which hopefully will be added later. Please let me know if anything is wrong/has changed/you have extra info! Again, some of my information may be a bit outdated and stats change year by year, so this is only intended to be a rough guide. Thanks to @Adam Gilchrist for linking some useful sources.

    Fair Proportion/All from Direct Training Contract

    These firms recruit typically around half of their intake directly, ranging up to 100% for some firms.
    • Allen & Overy
    • Bristows
    • Clifford Chance (*with caveats - see post below)
    • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Fried Frank
    • Howard Kennedy
    • Macfarlanes
    • Norton Rose Fulbright
    • Paul Hastings
    • Shoosmiths
    • Slaughter and May
    Mostly from Vacation Scheme

    These firms recruit 50-100% of their trainees from vacation schemes, but direct TC routes technically exist.
    • Addleshaw Goddard
    • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
    • Ashurst
    • Baker McKenzie
    • Bird & Bird
    • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
    • Burges Salmon
    • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
    • Covington & Burling
    • Debevoise & Plimpton
    • Eversheds Sutherland
    • Farrer & Co
    • Gibson Dunn & Crutcher
    • Hogan Lovells
    • Kirkland & Ellis
    • Latham & Watkins
    • Linklaters
    • Mayer Brown
    • Osborne Clark
    • Pinsent Masons
    • Simmons & Simmons
    • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & Flom
    • Sullivan & Cromwell
    • Travers Smith
    • Vinson & Elkins
    • Weil Gotshal & Manges
    • White & Case
    Only from Vacation Scheme
    • Clyde & Co
    • CMS
    • Davis Polk & Wardell
    • Dechert
    • DLA Piper
    • Gateley
    • Gowling WLG
    • Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Jones Day
    • Milbank
    • Mishcon de Reya
    • Ropes & Gray
    • Shearman & Sterling
    • Sidley Austin
    • Taylor Wessing
    • Wilkie Farr & Gallagher
     
    Last edited:

    Adam Gilchrist

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    May 4, 2020
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    Nice work, thanks for doing this.

    It's also worth noting that Clifford Chance almost deserves a category of its own, since it has scrapped the traditional vac scheme (https://www.legalcheek.com/2020/07/...-to-launch-virtual-work-experience-programme/), so only SPARK/LIFT/IGNITE remain as the closest thing it has to a vac scheme.

    Direct Training contract-wise, it's rather more restrictive than most other firms: it targets and prioritizes 2nd year law students and finalist non-law students. Other people outside those categories can apply but will not be prioritized (https://www.legalcheek.com/2020/08/why-do-city-law-firms-prefer-second-year-law-students/)
     
    Last edited:

    Nat000

    Esteemed Member
    Future Trainee
  • Feb 14, 2020
    78
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    Nice work, thanks for doing this.

    It's also worth noting that Clifford Chance almost deserves a category of its own, since it has scrapped the traditional vac scheme (https://www.legalcheek.com/2020/07/...-to-launch-virtual-work-experience-programme/), so only SPARK/LIFT/IGNITE remain as the closest thing it has to a vac scheme.

    Direct Training contract-wise, it's rather more restrictive than most other firms: it targets and prioritizes 2nd year law students and finalist non-law students. Other people outside those categories can apply but will not be prioritized (https://www.legalcheek.com/2020/08/why-do-city-law-firms-prefer-second-year-law-students/)

    Great point - edited my post!
     

    Adam Gilchrist

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    May 4, 2020
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    @Nat000

    Covington & Burling: "We recruit trainees predominantly from our vacation schemes. We therefore advise any candidates who are interested in a training contract to submit an application for a vacation scheme in the first instance."

    Howard Kennedy: Only from TC applications, no vac scheme run.

    Mayer Brown: "we strongly recommend that you apply for a Vacation Scheme rather than directly for a Training Contract; the vast majority of our Training Contracts each year are offered to high-performing participants on our Vacation Schemes so that is definitely the most effective way to secure a Training Contract."

    Milbank: "We typically recruit our trainees from our summer vacation scheme."

    Osborne Clark: "Last year more than 80% of our training contracts were offered to candidates who had completed a vacation scheme with us."

    Wikie Farr: Only from vac scheme
     
    Last edited:
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    Nat000

    Esteemed Member
    Future Trainee
  • Feb 14, 2020
    78
    220
    @Nat000

    Covington & Burling: "We recruit trainees predominantly from our vacation schemes. We therefore advise any candidates who are interested in a training contract to submit an application for a vacation scheme in the first instance."

    Howard Kennedy: Only from TC applications, no vac scheme run.

    Mayer Brown: "we strongly recommend that you apply for a Vacation Scheme rather than directly for a Training Contract; the vast majority of our Training Contracts each year are offered to high-performing participants on our Vacation Schemes so that is definitely the most effective way to secure a Training Contract."

    Milbank: "We typically recruit our trainees from our summer vacation scheme."

    Osborne Clark: "Last year more than 80% of our training contracts were offered to candidates who had completed a vacation scheme with us."

    Wikie Farr: Only from vac scheme

    Amazing work, thank you! Edited for all.
     

    Osh

    Distinguished Member
    Nov 18, 2018
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    When grad say they generally take from their vacation scheme (in this case Bird& Bird) but have direct training contract apps as an option, is it worth still doing a direct TC app especially as a graduate with existing VS work experience and more
     

    Dheepa

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    Junior Lawyer 43
  • Jan 20, 2019
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    does anyone know roughly how many TCs Baker Mckenzie offers for direct applicants?

    Don't have exact numbers on this (and I'm sure this will vary every year depending on the quality of applicants through each route anyway) but I think the number is actually pretty high. At a future trainee event a few months ago quite a few people in my cohort were direct TC applicants
     

    Andrew M

    Legendary Member
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    Jan 7, 2020
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    anyone have any knowledge of DWF VS vs their direct TC?
    Based on conversations I had with grad rec and trainees this/last year, they predominately (but not exclusively) hire from their vac schemes.

    Which is also true of Mills & Reeve, if you want to add that onto the list. Also, Hill Dickinson doesn't seem to have a preference one way or the other (they don't have a vac scheme as such anymore anyway, it's just a one day insight scheme now).
     

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