This is the Linklaters profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Linklaters profile.
Prestigious Magic Circle firm Linklaters comfortably holds its position as an international powerhouse in commercial law. Although relatively new to the apprenticeship arena, Linklaters stands alongside Allen & Overy as one of only two Magic Circle firms recruiting apprentices for 2024. Based within its London HQ, apprentices can delve into the firm’s diverse practice areas, predominantly focused on commercial, corporate, and financial sectors. Core practice areas for this MC player include corporate, M&A, banking & finance, energy & infrastructure, and litigation, among others.
On why they chose the TC alternative, one first year apprentice reveals they were eager to move away from full-time education. “After completing six years studying Islamic theology, I was ready to gain practical experience in the legal industry and move away from full-time studying,” he shares. “I wanted to start doing something practical instead of just being in the classroom!”
But why choose Linklaters? Its strong market reputation, global presence, and diverse range of practice areas all get a mention. “With eight seat rotations in the apprenticeship, by the time I finish, I’ll be proficient in various practice areas, helping me decide where I want to specialise,” reveals one apprentice. Additionally, the welcoming nature of the people at the firm was a significant factor. “Everyone from Linklaters I encountered at the assessment centre was very friendly” one apprentice tells us. “The firm’s culture really stood out to me.”
“Working at a Magic Circle firm would be appealing to any aspiring solicitor,” shares another apprentice. “But I’ve always been a people person. Throughout the application process, I found it incredibly easy to connect and converse with the firm’s partners and Early Careers team, which significantly influenced my decision to choose Linklaters.”
Apprentices rotate around the firm’s practice areas annually for the first four years before advancing onto the firm’s training contract in years five and six. The training contract follows a classic structure of four six-month seats, enabling apprentices to gain exposure across up to eight different legal practices.
Susan Roscoe, Litigation, Arbitration and Investigations Partner, also serves as a sponsoring partner for the apprentice within her department. She walks Legal Cheek through the “tailored” training that they can expect to receive. “Apprentices will participate in central firm training and practice area-specific sessions, as well as have an opportunity to join graduate training sessions if relevant,” she explains. “As apprentices progress, their capacity to contribute significantly to the firm is expected to grow exponentially,” she notes. Roscoe even anticipates that, “towards the end of the programme, apprentices may possess strengths surpassing those of graduate trainees due to the hands-on experience gained within the firm”.
Enthusiasm about the apprenticeship route has permeated throughout Linklaters, evident in endorsements from both Roscoe and the apprentices themselves who highlight the “incredible” support from the upper ranks of the firm’s management. Roscoe explains the firm’s rationale for introducing the scheme and its timing: “Over time, Linklaters has increasingly embraced diversity in its broadest sense. Promoting diversity of thought, encompassing varied races, backgrounds, genders and sexual identities, is crucial.” She emphasises that this extends beyond internal focus, as “clients seek individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences. Given this context, it’s evident that this apprenticeship programme plays a vital role in fostering diversity within the firm”.
In terms of the daily apprentice experience, one apprentice currently working in the litigation department describes it as “broad and varied.” She reveals, “every day brings something different—whether drafting or editing particulars of claim, attending client meetings, or handling administrative tasks for major cases”. The diverse practical exposure apprentices receive aligns with the approach fostered by the firm’s’ partners. Roscoe notes, “as Sponsoring Partner, I provide additional support and supervision to individual apprentices, as well as promoting the role to others internally and beyond the firm. Offering them challenging tasks, not necessarily time-critical, is the best way for apprentices to learn”.
While the workload resembles that of a paralegal more than a trainee, at least in the early years anyway, Roscoe ensures that “all the work given to apprentices aims to enhance their legal knowledge and technical skills over time”. Despite just being three months into the programme (at the time of writing), she commends the apprentices’ professionalism and maturity, stating that they already possess the necessary soft skills for becoming exceptional lawyers.
Apprentices spend four days a week at the firm’s upscale Silk Street office, and one day pursuing their law degree with BPP University Law School. “Everyone approaches studying differently,” one apprentice explains. “For me, since our study day falls on a Monday, I typically spend Sunday evenings preparing for the upcoming workshop.” However, the flexible nature of part-time study seems to be the appeal for the apprentices. “I usually alternate between studying throughout the week in the evenings or fitting it into Monday mornings,” another apprentice tells us. “The best part is the flexibility. The content is accessible throughout the week, and if I have questions, I can contact my tutor anytime.” The apprentices also note that juggling work and study is highly manageable, and there’s a real focus on ensuring that they leave the office at 5:30pm.
It’s not all work and no play for Linklaters’ recruits. “The firm is fantastic for social life,” shares one apprentice. “There are numerous evening social events, networking opportunities, and seminars at the firm—there’s always something happening, and you can choose what interests you.” The firm also boasts various societies like football, basketball, and sailing, each with their own law leagues within the City. There is also an opportunity to join the Linklaters choir and a range of employee network groups. Roscoe tells us that “if you can think of it, there’s a society for it”.
During induction week, apprentices can anticipate plenty of social activities, including meals out, to bond with their fellow apprentices. These connections seem to endure, with the current cohort “having lunch together almost every day”. Linklaters also demonstrates its commitment to inclusive events, with one apprentice impressed by their team’s efforts to include non-alcohol-related activities in team socials.
So, what do our insiders believe are the primary attractions of the apprenticeship at Linklaters? “The support network in place is definitely a major factor,” says one apprentice. “We have a dedicated Early Careers team, principals, trainee buddies, cross-practice mentors, and sponsoring partners. There’s always someone to talk to, and you never feel hesitant about asking anyone anything.” Another apprentice emphasises the firm’s culture: “It’s really about the people. Everyone within the firm, regardless of their position, is approachable.”
Key advice for would-be apprentices is to “be yourself” and research specific aspects of the firm rather than a general overview. The apprentices we spoke with also advocate against self-rejection; emphasising that everyone, regardless of background, is welcome at Linklaters. For Roscoe, her advice to apprentice hopefuls is to “give it a try; be ambitious and curious. Attitude is the most crucial aspect; be proactive and show an interest in the world”.
This is Linklater’s Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Linklater’s full Legal Cheek profile here.