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Trainee solicitor programme

The first step in your career is a vital one. We can provide the broad experience you need to gain a good understanding of the law and appreciate the commercial side of the business.

Recruitment window is now closed

Our recruitment window for training contracts is now closed. Please check our website later in the year for further details.

On our trainee solicitor programme, you will carry out challenging and interesting work for a wide range of clients. From household names, blue-chip businesses to high net worth private 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
  • enjoy the experience
  • be ambitious in your desire to achieve successful outcomes

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.

At Cripps, we know people flourish when they can be their true selves. That is 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 the below.

What we look for

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.

  • LPC Programme
    • First-time pass in the LPC and, if appropriate, the GDL (or equivalent)
    • 2:1 degree in any subject
    • At least three B grades at A-level (or equivalent)
  • SQE Programme
    • First-time pass in the SQE and, if appropriate, the PGDL* (or equivalent)
    • 2:1 degree in any subject
    • At least three B grades at A-level (or equivalent)

*Under the SQE route, non-law graduates are no longer required to take a law conversion course. 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.

The academic criteria set out above is a guide only. If you believe that you have what we are looking for in a trainee solicitor, please still apply.

We are looking for people who start each day asking themselves ‘how can I make a difference?’

  • Those 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
  • Those 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 will see their future with us, not just in the short term, but as part of a long term career development plan.

Frequently asked questions

Our recruitment process consists of a first and second stage interview. The format of the interviews will be competency based along with discussions around your knowledge of the legal sector.

The first stage interview will be conducted by two senior / managing associates.

Although we prefer to see you face to face, we also recognise that this may not always be possible, and we may be prepared to conduct the first stage interview via Microsoft Teams.

At the first stage you will also be required to complete a psychometric test.
COVID restrictions permitting, the second interview does need to be attended in person at either our Tunbridge Wells or London office.

When you arrive, you will be given a written exercise (approximately 45 minutes) followed by a tour of the office with one of our current trainees. You will then have an opportunity to discuss your written exercise during an interview with our emerging talent manager and one of our partners.

Our recruitment window for training contracts is now closed. Please check our website later in the year for further details.

Yes we will make a contribution to your reasonable travel expenses within the UK.

The (Solicitors Regulation Authority) SRA have recently introduced the SQE 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.

We will still consider applications to join in September 2024 where you have already completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

Unless you have already passed the SQE, successful candidates will join BPP’s SQE preparation courses in readiness to sit SQE1 in January 2024 and SQE2 in April or July 2024. 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 SQE 1 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.

The cohort joining the firm in September 2023, will follow the LPC route. The LPC programme is delivered in conjunction with BPP University. All future cohorts will follow an SQE programme unless an individual has already completed the LPC.

We prefer our trainees to study BPP’s LPC. Unless you have already completed this elsewhere, we ask that you study the LPC at one of BPP’s campuses.

If there is no BPP campus near you, or you have already committed elsewhere, please get in touch. We may be able to arrange an exemption.

Although we ask to be consulted before you select your LPC options, we never specify which ones you should take. Instead we’d like you to choose subjects that interest you and help with your training. We do strongly suggest that you take the Advanced Commercial Property elective because real estate forms such a large part of what we do as a firm.

The ‘City’ LPC, which focuses on large public companies, is unsuitable for graduates joining us. We prefer courses with a “commercial” focus that concentrate on small and medium sized enterprises.

We’ll ask you to attend the ‘fast-track’ PSC at BPP University. This includes the core modules ‘advocacy and communication skills’, ‘client care and professional standards’, plus ‘financial and business skills’. The electives, which you’ll choose with our help, are taken once the core modules have been completed.

Cripps will pay 100% of your course costs if you study the BPP LPC (the cohort joining the firm in September 2023) or the BPP SQE preparation course (for the cohort joining the firm in September 2024).

We will also pay the SRA candidate fee for one attempt at SQE1 and SQE2 (for the cohort joining the firm in September 2024).

Where needed we will also pay 100% of the course costs of BPP’s Law Foundations Course (PGDL).

We cannot reimburse any course costs already paid to BPP or any other training provider.

You will be given a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package, including an uplift in salary while undertaking your London based seat as well as the associated travel costs between our Kent and London office.

We’ll 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.

We’ll introduce you to 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.

In the summer before your contract begins, a Hello Day will be organised when you’ll visit our Tunbridge Wells office and meet the other trainees in person. The day will also include ‘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.

The weekend before your contract starts, the current trainees will organise a get-together meal for the new group. You’ll also be invited to our lively ‘end of quarter’ drinks. These are either held in-house or at a nearby venue. Everyone in the firm is invited so it’s a great opportunity to meet new people in a casual environment.

You will spend the first two weeks of your training contract taking part in an induction process with the other new trainees, this provides a great opportunity for you to get to know everyone.

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 most 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. We’ll be in touch before your contract starts to give you a choice in which seats you take 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. We’ll give you all the support you need, review your progress on a regular basis 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.
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 ground. You’ll also have monthly meetings with your supervisor to assess progress.

At the end of each seat your supervisor, our Managing Partner, 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 firmwide and charitable activities, and to get involved in our numerous sports and social groups.

Contact us

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