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Trainee solicitor programme

Are you looking for high quality training in a leading law firm working with diverse and interesting clients? Apply to join our training contract programme and get your career off to a flying start.

Recruitment window now open

Our recruitment window opened on 1 November 2023 and closes at midnight on 29 February 2024.

We are recruiting for training contracts commencing in September 2025 and September 2026.

Assessment Day – Friday 17 May 2024

The first step in your career is a vital one. It’s important to get broad experience, acquire a good understanding of the law and appreciate the commercial side of the business. Only then can you decide which area to specialise in.

At Cripps, you’ll carry out challenging and interesting work for a wide range of clients from blue chip household names and entrepreneurial businesses to high net worth private clients. Holiday Extras, Deliveroo, Harrow School, Formula One and Wates Group are just a few of our better known clients.

You’ll experience a wide range of different practice areas covering all aspects of commercial property, corporate and commercial law as well as private client matters. This will give you the diverse experience you need.

Support will be provided throughout your training contract, in a culture that encourages you to:

  • care about your work, clients and those around you
  • use your imagination and challenge the status quo
  • enjoy yourself, developing personal interests in and out of work
  • be ambitious in your desire to achieve successful outcomes for you, our clients and the wider community.

We don’t believe in hierarchies. You’ll be encouraged to express your opinions and be yourself. If you’re enthusiastic and tenacious, you’ll have endless opportunities to develop your career and make a difference from day one. This goes beyond training to be a lawyer.  You will get involved in all aspects of Cripps life, where our brand purpose is to ‘be the difference’. This means participating in initiatives such as our wellbeing or EDI group, volunteering on a community or environmental project or carrying out some pro bono work – whatever piques your interest.

Our offices

You will be based at our offices in Tunbridge Wells (although we do have a few London seats). On the whole you will be office based, feedback from previous cohorts indicates that being physically present with their supervisor and team results in a more effective learning experience, however there is flexibility to work from home when needed.

A word from our managing partner, James Beatton

“We are one dedicated, integrated team, helping to solve problems and champion ambitions for our clients. As a people-first business, we are inclusive and collaborative. Everyone is encouraged to think creatively, challenge the norm, take informed risks, learn from our mistakes and let nothing inhibit our thinking.

We recruit the best talent, and all of our people embody our values of care, imagine, achieve and enjoy. When we interview applicants, we are looking for people who share in our passion to make a positive and lasting difference and take an interest in the wider world and our purpose.

As our managing partner, I greatly enjoy being involved in the recruitment and development of our trainees. Many of our partners started as trainees at Cripps, and it’s fulfilling to see them thriving in their careers.”

The recruitment process

At Cripps, we know people flourish when they can be their true selves; that’s why we take pride in who we are, appreciate each other and celebrate our differences. We value the richness of ideas and perspectives which come from trainees with different backgrounds and experiences. We actively encourage applications from members of all communities who can demonstrate:

Genuine interest

As a firm, our key areas of focus are commercial real estate, corporate and commercial law, and high net worth private clients. A keen interest in at least one of these areas is essential for successful applicants.

Personality/aptitude

We are looking for people who start each day asking themselves how they can make a difference; who look for ways to help their team, clients, communities and the environment; high achievers who take personal responsibility and know it’s not just big gestures, but everyday actions that count. People who feel empowered to ask questions and take informed risks; who use their energy, empathy and problem-solving skills to make a positive impact on the lives and businesses of others. Many of our current partners began their careers as trainee solicitors with the firm and successful candidates may see their future with us not just in the short term but as part of a long term career development plan.
We have no minimum entry requirements.. Your exam results simply form part of the picture you present to us in your application form. Please note though that non-law graduates joining our SQE programme are required to take a law conversion course. This is not an SRA requirement. However, this will continue to form part of our academic criteria. Not only will this foundational knowledge increase your chances of success on the SQE, it will also provide an invaluable bedrock to your legal education.
To be considered for our trainee solicitor programme, please: Please send your completed application form, and equal opportunities form to talentdevelopmentteam@cripps.co.uk The deadline for applications is midnight on the 29 February 2024. Applications after this time will not be considered. Please let us know if you need us to make any adjustments to the recruitment process to enable you to participate to the best of your ability.

Stage 1 – application form (deadline 29 February 2024)

Our assessment process starts with a thorough review of all application forms received. We receive a lot of applications so here are some tips to help make your application stand out:
  • Make your application easy to read. Keep sentences short, make use of paragraphs and don’t repeat yourself.
  • Keep it relevant. Do your research on Cripps. What are we looking for in our future trainees?
  • Check your grammar and spelling. Attention to detail is a key skill for any lawyer. Proof read your application (or ask someone to do this for you) at least twice before hitting the send button.

Stage 2 – pre-selection exercises (successful candidates contacted by 7 March 2024)

About 50 candidates will be selected on the basis of their application form to carry out our pre-selection exercises. These are:
  • psychometric test
  • written exercise
  • video task
You will have three weeks to complete the exercises.

Stage 3 (final stage) – assessment day – Friday 17 May

Approximately twenty candidates will be invited to attend our assessment day on the basis of their performance in our pre-selection exercises. Our assessment day will take place on Friday 17 May in our Tunbridge Wells offices. Please make a note of this date in your calendar as soon as you submit an application to Cripps; no other dates are available if you are unable to attend on this day. On the assessment day, you will deliver a presentation and complete a case study. You will also attend an interview with a partner and a business services manager. The format of the interview will be competency based along with discussions around your knowledge of the legal sector. During the course of the day, you will also get the chance to meet some of our trainees and newly qualified solicitors and ask them questions. The assessment day is certainly demanding, however, we do our best to make candidates feel comfortable and supported across the day. Feedback from previous assessment days suggest candidates really appreciate the chance to spend time with us and meet a wide cross section of our people.

Our training contract programme

We will stay in touch in the time between you accepting your training contract and your start date. This will help you to feel comfortable when you join. You will have a buddy, usually a trainee who started the year before you, so they can offer advice and answer any questions you might have. We’ll also put you in touch with the other trainees starting at the same time as you. This means you’ll have a network of contacts from the beginning. Our pre-joining dinner with current trainees typically in the Spring before you join, provides another networking opportunity. In the Summer before your contract begins, a ‘hello day’ will be organised at our Tunbridge Wells office. The day will focus on ‘seat talks’ when lawyers from the various teams tell you about their clients and the work they do ready for you to make your seat choices before you join. It is also another chance to catch up with your cohort and socialise.
Your training contract begins with a comprehensive induction programme,  designed to set you up for success when you start your first seat. The induction sessions are also a great chance to meet people across the firm and get to know your trainee cohort. During your induction you will get the chance to meet our charity committee and find out about our EDI and wellbeing initiatives (and how to get involved). You will also meet our professional support lawyers, our talent development team and have breakfast with your first seat supervisor. There will also be an IT induction and guidance on our systems and time recording.
Our training contract is two years in duration and generally speaking we will encourage you to complete the full two year period as we find trainees really value the breadth of experience they obtain over that time. Where appropriate though we will discuss reducing the length of the contract to take into account “time to count” under the LPC route or previous Qualifying Work Experience under the SQE route. Trainees usually start in September. You’ll experience four different seats over the course of your contract. These will mainly be based in our Tunbridge Wells office although some trainees will get the chance to have a London seat too.  There are a number of seats to choose from across real estate, corporate and private client.  You will get a chance to express your seat preferences and will do our best to arrange seats in your preferred areas, although this cannot always be guaranteed. From the off, you’ll be working on ‘live files’ and have direct contact with clients and other professionals. The working environment is very supportive, with regular supervision check-ins, formal and informal training whilst also empowering you to use your initiative.
Investment in your development is a key component of our training contract. All our trainees are invited to take part in our Future Lawyers Programme. This programme of training events has been devised to provide you with all the skills you need to be a well-rounded, and successful lawyer. The programme includes sessions on traditional soft skills such as presentation skills and time management but also includes sessions on topics relevant to ‘modern’ lawyers such as design thinking and innovation. You will also receive first class technical training from our team of professional support lawyers who provide in depth subject matter sessions at the start of each seat The majority of your training, however, will be ‘on the job’ with your supervisor’s help. You’ll be given a checklist for each seat to make sure you cover the necessary content and have monthly meetings with your supervisor to assess progress. At the end of each seat your supervisor, our training principal, and our emerging talent manager will review your performance and give you constructive, honest feedback, with the focus on identifying your development needs. Aside from the formal training, you will also be encouraged to take the lead in organising firm wide and charitable activities, and to get involved in our numerous sports and social groups.

FAQs

In 2021, the SRA introduced the SQE route to qualification as a solicitor and over time this will replace the LPC route to qualification as a solicitor Trainees joining the firm in 2024 will be the first cohort to follow our new SQE programme which is delivered in conjunction with BPP University. However, we will still consider applications from candidates who have already completed and passed the LPC.
Unless you have already passed the SQE, successful candidates will join BPP’s SQE preparation courses in readiness to sit SQE1 in January and SQE2 in April or July. These courses comprise a 15 week SQE1 preparation course and an SQE2 Coaching course which takes about 6 weeks. You will also attend BPP’s new Essentials for Practice Course. This is a 15 week course which builds upon and develops the specialist knowledge and skills needed beyond the basic SQE curriculum. Successful completion of this course leads to a Postgraduate Certificate in Legal Practice, and combined with the earlier SQE1 preparation course leads to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice. During the Essentials for Practice course you will study four knowledge streams such as Advanced Commercial Property and Commercial Dispute Resolution. You will also study a module called Business in Law. This module is designed to develop the wider knowledge and skills you need to be a successful lawyer, as well as your understanding of the role of technology in the delivery of legal services.
We no longer offer sponsorship for candidates who wish to study the LPC. However, if you have already completed and passed the LPC, please feel free to apply in this recruitment round. We cannot, however, reimburse the cost of your LPC should we offer you a training contract.

SQE

Cripps will pay 100% of your course costs if you study BPP’s SQE preparation courses (including the Essentials for Practice course). We will also pay the SRA candidate fee for one attempt at SQE1 and SQE2.

PGDL

Where needed, we will pay 100% of the course costs of BPP’s Law Foundations Course (PGDL). We cannot fund the cost of a law conversion course delivered by any other training provider.

LPC

We no longer fund the cost of the LPC. However, candidates who have already completed and passed the LPC are free to apply and successful candidates will follow the LPC pathway during their training contract.

Training costs already paid

Unfortunately, Cripps are unable to reimburse any training costs already paid to BPP or any other training provider.
First year salary: £30,000 Second year salary: £32,000 NQ salary: £58,000 (Tunbridge Wells) £70,000 (London) Trainees also receive a comprehensive benefits package, including a salary adjustment while undertaking any London based seat as well as the associated travel costs to  London. Salaries are benchmarked regularly against the market and are reviewed in May each year.
Yes we will make a contribution to your reasonable travel expenses within the UK.
We can only accept applications from individuals who have already secured the necessary permissions to work in the UK.
Where candidates are unsuccessful at the assessment day, we will provide feedback on your performance when requested. However, due to the volume of applications, we are unable to provide feedback following stage 1 or 2 of the assessment process.

Contact us

If you have a question or need advice, please let us know how we can help.

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