A&O Shearman confirms £20k SQE support grant

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By Legal Cheek on


Increase on both firms’ pre-merger offerings

Magic Circle mega-firm A&O Shearman is offering £20,000 in financial support to future trainees as they undertake the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

This equates to an increase of £3,000 compared to the £17,000 previously provided to trainees by both firms before the merger, which completed on 1 May.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2024 shows maintenance grants at leading City law firms typically sit between £20,000 and £12,000, although some firms offer much less.

The SQE Hub: Your ultimate resource for all things SQE

Trainees at the firm complete their SQE studies with BPP University Law School.

Before the merger, A&O recruited approximately 80 trainees annually, whereas Shearman took on around 12 in London. It remains unclear what the new intake will be now the firms have combined.

What we can tell you, however, is their pay; Legal Cheek revealed last month that trainees earn £50,000 in year one, rising to £55,000 in year two, while newly qualified associates start on £125,000. These rates are in line with those previously offered at A&O, but slightly down on Shearman’s before the merger.


Frustrated S&S NQ who’s now part of the merger

Increase salaries to £150 k then we’ll be happy..


Oh didums! How can you be expected to live on over £125,000 a year?! Truly outrageous.

Kirkland NQ

Failure embodied in one comment.


What a pointless comment. It’s about paying market rate of their competitors. If they’re not that’s just pure greed from the partners. Oh diddums are their millions of pounds a year, multiple homes and first class flights not enough?


I did my GDL in July 2022. From MMU I am interesting to do SQE1 and SQE2 exams as a trainee solicter please let me know how can I apply for this . Now I am doing part time LLM from MMU . Which area of law you give trainee contact and £20000 financial support .please let me know how I can apply for this . Thanks

Do Legal Cheek give out TCs now?

You’re probably better off applying for a training contract with them first, rather than commenting on a Legal Cheek post.


I wonder what sort of seats would be on offer in the course of a Legal Cheek TC. Answers on a postcard…


I strongly suggest you learn to spell and write prior to considering entering a profession where communication is paramount. How on earth did you get a place on a masters course?


MMU – money over merit.



That missing apostrophe, Alan, would be grounds for termination at an elite firm.

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