Simmons & Simmons — solicitor apprenticeship

The Legal Cheek View

This is the Simmons & Simmons profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Simmons & Simmons profile.

Simmons & Simmons is a relatively new player to the apprenticeship scene having launched its programme in Autumn 2022. The international outfit specialises in four core sectors, asset management and investment funds, financial institutions, healthcare and life sciences, and technology, media and telecommunications. Spread across 23 offices worldwide, aspiring apprentices can expect “juicy work” with an international focus. Recruits are based either in the the firm’s “stunning” Bristol office, or at the firm’s London HQ in Moorgate.

One Simmons apprentice knew they “wanted to become a solicitor since their A Levels”, so choosing the apprenticeship route was an easy decision to make. Going to university seemed a little on the risky side for this insider due to “the potential risk of failing to secure a training contract at the end of a degree”. So, he tells us, “the fact that the training contract is guaranteed on the apprenticeship was a huge plus”. Not to mention that “you can earn-as-you-learn” following the apprenticeship route. As a large international firm, the “wide presence across the world” that Simmons boasts is “really exciting,” he tells us. But, for this tech-minded apprentice, his passion for “legal technology and the growth of AI in the law” ultimately swayed his decision to join the firm, there being a dedicated (and compulsory) seat in the outfit’s legal technology department.

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Recruits complete seven seats over the course of the six-year programme: three 15-month rotations over the first four years, before moving onto the training contract and a further four six-monthly seat rotations around the firm’s practice areas. One apprentice, nearing the end of his first seat in real estate, says he’s noticed a marked difference in the level of responsibility he’s given. “It’s exciting to be trusted with important tasks within the team which makes my work a lot more fun and challenging,” he explains. “The tasks that I’m given are similar to trainee tasks, and I think that’s a huge benefit of being able to sit in one area for a whole 15 months.” Newbies are able to choose their preferred practice area for one of their first 15-month seats, with the other two being compulsory seats in the firm’s compliance and legal technology departments.

To compliment “challenging” responsibilities, insiders praise the “amazing support” that’s “always there if and when you need it”. An apprentice tells us: “We have so much support at Simmons that sometimes it’s hard to make the most of all of it. We have a partner mentor who sticks with us throughout the entire apprenticeship, on top of a mentor in your department, a supervisor, and a buddy!”

The social scene at Simmons & Simmons isn’t bad either. With apprentices welcomed into the trainee socials, outgoing rookies can expect to join their graduate counterparts on various group activities as well as going out for a few drinks. This is on top of the monthly firm drinks and networking events. On the difference between socialising as an apprentice and as a university student, one insider emphasises “the financials”. The key difference is that “we can afford to socialise,” he tells us, “so the financial side of the apprenticeship is quite beneficial in this regard”. Adventurous recruits may also have an opportunity complete an overseas or client secondment during the final two years of the programme.

On the studying side, our insider gives the classic line: “it’s manageable to fit studying into one day a week, but it depends on your studying style”. He says, “personally, I like to prepare a little bit on the weekends – everyone works differently, and, for me, I like to make notes and be diligent with my studies”. So, “yes, sometimes studying eeks outside of the one allocated study day,” he confirms. Coming straight from school and studying a law degree entirely online can be admittedly “disorientating”, but it’s really “rewarding” to be able to “consolidate your learning in the workplace”. In terms of the course itself, “the way it’s structured is really brilliant” because its “very straightforward” and “there’s loads of useful resources”.

On what makes the Simmons apprenticeship shine, one insider says, “it’s the people”, adding: “They are amazing; they’re hard working, talented and incredibly approachable. It makes for a fun and friendly environment at work.” Secondly, he emphasises the structure of the programme: “the seat rotation pattern makes for a perfect foundation to become a great lawyer because you’re able to experience so many practice areas and for long enough to become a real asset within your team.”

One insider gives some application tips for hopefuls: “make sure you practice your psychometric tests and put some time and energy into building your commercial awareness. Both will help you move onto the interview stages of your applications.”

This is Simmons & Simmons’ Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Simmons & Simmons’ full Legal Cheek profile here.


First year salary £25,000
Second year salary Undisclosed
Third year salary Undisclosed
Fourth year salary Undisclosed
Fifth year salary Undisclosed
Sixth year salary Undisclosed

The above figures are for London. In Bristol, Simmons & Simmons pays £22,000 in the first year of the apprenticeship.

General Info

Solicitor apprenticeships each year 4
Locations where apprenticeships offered 2
Minimum GCSE requirement Five 4s
Minimum A-level requirement ABB

GCSE requirements include at least 6s in both Maths and English.

Apprenticeships are offered in Bristol and London, with two apprenticeships offered at each location.