We both hugely enjoy the exciting, fast-moving and inclusive culture at Ropes & Gray’s London office, as well as the experience of building on the tremendous growth of the firm and office during the last 14 years. We hope you’ll consider joining us as we continue to grow and look to capitalise on that success.”

David Seymour and Chris Agnoli, 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 office social events, as well as all trainee social events. You will also receive on a monthly basis, a copy of the future trainee London Bulletin. The Bulletin outlines what has been happening in the London office and is a great resource to help ensure that you feel connected to the firm before you start your training contract with us.  

Before you start, you and your fellow trainees will complete the SQE at BPP Holborn (and the GDL if applicable), 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) who will 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 firm 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 comprehensive and interactive trainee training camp designed to induct you to the firm and help you get up and running as quickly as possible.
  • A comprehensive technical legal and skills training programme that runs throughout your time as a trainee and involves regular workshops and small group sessions delivered by internal and external experts.
  • 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 seats, 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 fellow trainees, as well as supervisors, which gives everyone the opportunity to get to know each other outside the office.
  • Trainee Liaison Committee so you can provide feedback on your training contract experience on a quarterly basis. 

The programme’s four-seat rotation offers you exposure to a number of legal disciplines. Before each seat change, you’ll meet with HR 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.

Our training contract is transactional-focused so you can expect to primarily sit in our transactional practice groups. You may also have the opportunity to sit in the specialist practice groups (who advise those transactional teams) and our Anti-corruption & Internal Risk practice group.

A seat in private equity is mandatory. In addition, we currently have seats available in the following practice areas: leveraged finance, real estate, tax, anti-corruption & international risk, asset management, antitrust, data, privacy & cybersecurity, business restructuring, special situations and life sciences.

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. During the training contract, our trainees are encouraged to think about where they might want to qualify. At the end of the two years, we run a straightforward qualification process.

Every six months, one of our trainees gets the opportunity to go to our Hong Kong or Dublin office to complete a secondment as part of our Global Opportunities (GO) Programme. Trainees will gain an insight into the financial market and the firm’s clients, as well as learn about the culture and Ropes & Gray office.

  • 1st Year Salary: £60,000
  • 2nd Year Salary: £65,000
  • NQ Salary: £165,000
  • SQE course fees paid. GDL course fees will be paid if applicable.
  • £20,000 maintenance grant
  • 30 days holiday
  • NQ 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

We want Ropes & Gray to be a place where our trainees are empowered to bring their best selves to work. To support this goal, our award-winning global well-being program, BeWELL@Ropes&Gray, offers tangible resources, premier education and compassionate support to enhance the emotional (myMind), physical (myHealth) and financial (myWealth) health of our people. The program offers a variety of initiatives, including resiliency training, mindfulness meditations, physical fitness challenges, presentations on retirement planning and more.

Be Well

What We Are Looking For

We accept applications from individuals of all degree subjects and those changing careers. We do not have a minimum grade requirement, however, we look for candidates who have strong academic results and should be commercially aware, intellectually curious and work well in a team.


The commercial legal industry involves understanding complex, often abstract, concepts. This results in a wall of jargon that students and trainees often find difficult to surmount! LegalLingo seeks to break down these concepts, and the resulting jargon, into bite-size explanations to make the industry more accessible for aspiring trainees.

We recruit 12 trainees a year. Typically, students will apply in their second year of a law degree, so those applying for a 2024 vacation scheme are for training contracts commencing in September 2026. Students who are doing non-law degrees should apply in their final year.

Our recruitment and selection processes are designed 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 attend an assessment day and, if successful, 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. 

To contact Ropes & Gray’s London early careers team, please email LondonTraineeRecruitment@ropesgray.com.

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. Please note, we do not operate on a rolling basis. We have one application window. Applications for the 2023/2024 recruitment campaign are now closed.

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 day. Before you attend, we’ll ask you to take a psychometric test. Then, throughout the day, you’ll complete a written exercise, a negotiation exercise and an elevator pitch, as well as an interview with two members of the trainee recruitment panel. You’ll also get to meet our current trainees.

The assessment day is a ‘blind’ selection 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 order to assess you for a training contract, you will complete an interview and a blog post task. Our trainees are recruited exclusively from our vacation schemes. You will receive a payment of £400 per week for attending one of our vacation schemes and, most importantly, you’ll come away with a crucial network of contacts.

  • March 2024
    Assessment Days
    • 05 March 2024
    • 07 March 2024
    • 12 March 2024
    • 14 March 2024
    • 19 March 2024 
  • April 2024
    Spring Vacation Scheme (15th – 26th April 2024)
  • June/July 2024
    Summer Vacation Scheme (24th June – 5th July 2024)

Email the Ropes & Gray's London early careers team to learn more

The routes to qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales have now changed. 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 introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This has changed 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.

All trainees who join us will qualify as a solicitor via the SQE route.


Welcome to Trainee Insights, a Ropes & Gray podcast series that’s home for discussions about life as a trainee or junior lawyer at Ropes & Gray in London. This podcast is for anyone who has an interest in building a successful career in the firm’s London office. To keep current on new episodes, subscribe to this series on Apple or Spotify.


We work with a variety of legal publications and social media platforms to help celebrate and showcase our firm’s culture, legal work, the events we attend and the causes we support.  The content provides prospective students with insights into our culture, the London office, our lawyers and what skills help a prospective trainee stand out at our firm. If you would like to know more about us, check out the media coverage!


Frequently Asked Questions

Bridge To The City

Bridge To The City is our social mobility programme, in partnership with SEO London, our social mobility partner, and Bloomberg, one of the firm’s prestigious clients. The programme offers 12 first year university students, with any type of undergraduate background, introduced by SEO, the opportunity to explore a career in law, finance and tech as part of the same two-week placement.  Bloomberg and Ropes & Gray will both offer a one-week consecutive placement so that the candidates can gain experience in both corporate and private practice firms.  The initiative will offer work experience, masterclasses and panel events. At the end of the scheme, two students will each receive a scholarship, consisting of a £20,000 bursary, a vacation scheme place at Ropes & Gray, and long-term mentoring.

Legal Cheek Results

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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. 

Having grown up in Tokyo, this unique qualification path, where I am able to work and approach issues in English and Japanese and respond to the intricacies of the Japanese business culture appealed to me. Working at Ropes & Gray in Tokyo, a powerhouse in the private equity legal market due to the scale, complexity and novelty of the deals they are involved in, is an invaluable experience for a trainee to become an adaptable, sharp and client-focused transactional lawyer. The Tokyo seat has been a unique and insightful experience.” 
Alexandra Street, Toyko Trainee Secondee

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.

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Visit our Instagram

For more information and insights into life in the London office, please visit our Instagram account @ropesgraygrads. This is where you will get instant access to all the news and happenings in the office. We upload images, videos and reels to provide you with a snapshot of our vibrant culture and what it’s like to be a trainee at the firm. It’s also where you will find out key information about the trainee recruitment process. Check it out today!