We both hugely enjoy the exciting, fast-moving and inclusive culture at Ropes & Gray’s London office, as well as the experience of building something new. We hope you’ll consider joining us as we continue to grow and develop our business.”

Ruchit Patel and Rohan Massey, Trainee Recruitment and Development Partners

Why Choose Us

We understand that deciding where to begin your legal career can be daunting, and that you have a seemingly endless list of factors to consider—the type of law you’re interested in practising, each firm’s clients, a firm’s people and culture, the professional development opportunities different firms offer, and more. To help you with this process, we will describe the kind of firm we are and what you can expect as a trainee in our London office.

Our two-year trainee programme is about more than just fulfilling certification requirements. We’re dedicated to helping individuals find their passion, grow beyond their expectations and become the best solicitor they can possibly be. To achieve this, we’ve developed a selective, personalised programme that offers significant mentorship and training, early responsibility, and the opportunity to assist with the end-to-end process of complex transactions. As a trainee, you’ll have exposure to the exciting, groundbreaking work we do for international clients, all while benefiting from the non-hierarchal, collegial and collaborative culture of a smaller office. 

We know how important it is to feel welcomed and supported when joining a new firm. From the time you accept the offer through to your start date, you’ll be invited to attend our summer and Christmas parties and any other office events, as well as all trainee social events. Then, before you start, you and your fellow trainees will complete the LPC at BPP Holborn, so that you can begin to form close bonds with your intake. We will also introduce you to your buddy (a current trainee who, where possible, will be in the same practice group you will be joining), serve as your point of contact and be someone you can ask any questions to prior to your first day. We really want to help you make connections and feel a part of the team from day one. 

We’re committed to helping you reach your fullest potential. To that end, we’ve created a best-in-class trainee programme that provides you with the knowledge, resources and tools to succeed at the firm. The training includes:

  • A two-week intensive induction programmedesigned to induct you to the firm and help you get up and running as quickly as possible.
  • Ongoing professional skills core courses (PSC), which are completed both before your first day in the office as well as throughout the duration of your two-year training contract. This comprehensive training programme consists of in-house courses, specialist seminars and workshops. Those trainees who do not complete a seat in the litigation department will complete a litigation training programme during the second year of their training contract.
  • A four-seat rotation programme that gives you exposure to a number of legal disciplines.
  • Highly trained and dedicated supervisors to provide you with on-the-job training and feedback. For each seat of your rotations, you’ll share an office with your supervisor, so that you can receive regular mentorship and objective advice.
  • A structured performance review system that ensures you receive feedback on your performance every three months to recognise achievements and identify any areas of development.
  • Social events for you and your supervisor, which gives everyone the opportunity to get to know each other outside the office.

The programme’s four-seat rotation offers you exposure to a number of legal disciplines. Before each seat change, you’ll meet with your training principal to discuss your future ambitions and which seat options best meet those goals. We work hard to match your seat preferences with the needs of the business. You’ll spend time in corporate and finance, our two largest practice groups in London. Seats are available in the following practice areas: finance, private equity, real estate, tax, anti-corruption & international risk, asset management, antitrust, and data, privacy & cybersecurity. 

We are committed to the long-term development of our trainees and as such want all our trainees to qualify as associates with us at the end of the two-year programme. The qualification process is straightforward. 

Every six months, one of our trainees gets the opportunity to go to our Hong Kong office to complete a secondment as part of our Global Opportunities (GO) Programme. Trainees will gain an insight into the Hong Kong financial market and the firm’s clients, as well as learn about the culture and Ropes & Gray office. There is also a buzzing culture in Hong Kong and trainees have enjoyed the bustling, energetic and exciting city.

  • 1st Year Salary : £50,000
  • 2nd Year Salary: £55,000
  • NQ Salary: £130,000
  • GDL and/or LPC course fees paid or reimbursed
  • £10,000 maintenance grant for both GDL and LPC
  • 25 days holiday (rising to 30 days on qualification)
  • Qualification leave
  • Discretionary bonus
  • Interest-free season ticket loan
  • Private medical insurance
  • Income protection insurance
  • Contributory pension scheme
  • Life assurance
  • Subsidised gym membership
  • Dental insurance
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Well-being allowance
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What We Are Looking For

We accept applications from individuals of all degree subjects and those changing careers. Candidates should have achieved (or expect to achieve) a strong 2:1 in their undergraduate degree, and should be commercially aware and open to doing things differently.

TC application Route and Recruitment Process


We want to make sure that Ropes & Gray is the right fit for each of the trainees we select. To help us achieve this aim, those interested in a training contact with the firm must first participate in a two-week spring or summer vacation scheme. The schemes are designed to give you firsthand insight into our work, our people and the unique culture of our firm. If you need any adjustments to be made at any stage of the process, please just get in touch.

The application form is your first opportunity to stand out. We ask one open question to allow you to demonstrate your commercial thinking, innovative approach and understanding of law as a business.

Contextual Recruitment System

We know that the most successful organisations welcome individuals from all backgrounds. To help us do the same, we’ve partnered with diversity recruitment experts Rare and use their Contextual Recruitment System in our recruitment process. The system enables us to further understand the context in which applicants’ experiences have been gained, and identify outperformers that others may miss.

If you’re successful at the application stage, you’ll be invited to an assessment centre day at our office. Before you attend, we’ll ask you to take a Watson Glaser test designed to assess your ability to digest and understand information. Then, throughout the day, you’ll complete written negotiation and elevator pitch exercises, as well as interview with two members of the trainee recruitment panel. You’ll also receive a presentation from two of our partners, an office tour from our current trainees, and a group lunch with associates and partners.

The assessment centre is a ‘blind’ recruitment process, and anyone you meet will not have any prior knowledge of your application. We feel this provides a level playing field and helps us ensure that we recruit the very best talent into the firm, regardless of background.

If you’re selected for a vacation scheme, you’ll get to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a trainee at the firm. You’ll receive mentoring and support from your supervisor, meet lawyers from each practice group, attend workshops and interact with our employees at social networking events. In addition, all candidates will be asked to research and write a short blog post and work together in small groups (with support from our client development team) to present a mock pitch presentation, using live client examples. Our trainees are recruited exclusively from our vacation schemes. You will receive a payment of £800 for attending one of our vacation schemes and, most importantly, you’ll come away with a crucial network of contacts.

  • 1 October 2020 
    Applications Open
  • 31 January 2021 
    Applications Close
  • March 2021
    Assessment Centres
  • 6 April to 17 April 2021
    Spring Vacation Scheme
  • 28 June to 9 July 2021
    Summer Vacation Scheme
From September 2021, the routes to qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales will change. A future trainee will have to complete two years of qualifying work experience and pass the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), a new, two-part centralised assessment being introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This will change the training requirements for our future trainees with a new updated Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) for non-law graduates and an entirely new course (in place of the Legal Practice Course) for all future trainees that includes comprehensive preparation for the SQE assessments, as well as the knowledge and skills they will need for a career in City law practice. We will continue to keep our future trainees informed about these changes and guide them as to the best training route, depending on their planned start date with us.

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Tokyo Office Opportunities

The Ropes & Gray Tokyo office is seeking to hire graduates via the London training programme to eventually work in its growing and vibrant practice. Candidates must have a solid interest in corporate transactional practice, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions and leveraged finance. The ideal candidate must be fluent and able to conduct business in both Japanese and English. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the Ropes & Gray London office training programme, with a guaranteed seat to the Tokyo office. Upon qualification, the newly qualified associate will continue to work in the London office for a further two years before relocating to Tokyo. Interested applicants should apply for a London training contract. 

Applications for our Vacation Scheme are now open. You have until 31 January 2021 to complete your online application.

LL.M. Opportunities

In a continually evolving financial landscape, our award-winning leveraged finance team provides clients the leadership and adaptability needed to succeed in the public and private high yield debt capital and syndicated leveraged loan markets. Our leveraged finance team is part of the firm’s dynamic global finance group, which provides great opportunities for associates to work on the most complex and interesting deals in the market. Our extensive experience in high yield debt offerings and leveraged loans across numerous jurisdictions and industries ensures rapid execution with a nuanced ability to navigate complicated deal structures and intricate debt covenants. New issuers, repeat corporate issuers, private equity sponsors and investment banks rely on us to help them succeed, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Our London office hires LL.M. students who want to work in the London leveraged finance team after sitting for the bar exam in New York. Students are generally recruited as part of the New York job fair process, take the New York (or another equivalent state) bar exam following completion of their LL.M. programmes and join the team of New York-qualified finance lawyers in the London office in October each year.