Training contracts

Being a trainee

We recruit 30 trainees each year; 15 into our Birmingham office and 15 into London. A relatively small intake compared to the size of the firm.

As a trainee, you'll be valued and respected as an individual. Treated as a lawyer from day one, you'll enjoy early responsibility and, working with a diverse range of high-profile clients on interesting, big-ticket work, you'll be learning from some of the UK's best legal brains out there.

People profile

What we're looking for

We're on the lookout for our next generation of legal experts and we aim to recruit bright, ambitious, self-motivated people.

True team players

We've 18 offices all around the world but we have a truly one team approach and a collaborative culture that values individuality. Joining us, you'll need to be great with people and comfortable working as part of a collective to help achieve the shared ambitions of the firm.

Commercial intelligence

We go above and beyond for our clients. That means seeing the bigger commercial picture, as well as knowing the fine details. So, you'll need a real interest in business and a desire to develop a career at not just any commercial law firm, but at Gowling WLG.

Bright, creative, inquisitive minds

You're bright and switched-on, with an inquiring mind. That's important to us. The best type of trainee doesn't just follow the most obvious method of problem solving or always default to the norm. They question and think about creative, innovative ways of doing things. Why? Because you'll want to constantly learn more and deliver the best possible results.


Working with some of the biggest names, we strive for exceptional, every single time. So, joining us, you'll need to be driven and proactive. You'll offer up your opinion, seize every opportunity and make great things happen rather than waiting for them to come.

Salary & benefits


1st year

Birmingham: £27,000
London: £38,500

2nd year

Birmingham: £30,000
London: £41,500

We'll cover your Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees and give you a maintenance grant for each course. You'll receive £5,500 for studying outside of London and £7,000 for studying in London.


  • A £1,000 interest-free loan
  • A prize for GDL & LPC distinction
  • Private medical insurance
  • Private health insurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Life assurance
  • Income Protection Insurance
  • 25 days' holiday (plus optional unpaid holiday)
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • An active social club
  • Access to corporate rates and discounts
  • Employee assistance programme
  • Budget for staff entertainment

The trainee experience

We'll give you all the training and support you need to become a dynamic, well-rounded commercial lawyer: a lawyer clients trust, listen to and value. You'll be working as part of a team, alongside approachable, inspirational lawyers – lawyers with impressive and up-to-the-minute legal and commercial expertise and insight. And because we keep the number of trainees relatively small, we're able to focus on you and your training needs.


As a trainee, we'd like you to study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) at any University of Law branch. But we're flexible if this isn't going to work for you. Our Birmingham trainees will study the LPC at the University of Law, Birmingham. If you're in London, you'll go to the University of Law, Moorgate. We'll cover your fees and provide a maintenance grant for each course.

The newly designed LPC at the University of Law provides you with an MSc in Law, Business and Management. Covering core areas such as commercial awareness, networking and project management, it has been created to help you develop the skills you need to succeed in the commercial world.

Throughout your studies, we'll keep in touch and, of course, invite you along to our well-reputed annual party!

What to expect during your training contract

Our trainees have built excellent legal careers here and we'll do everything we can to support you and your career ambitions.

To get you started we've put together a useful and comprehensive induction to help you settle into life at Gowling WLG, and get you up-to-speed with our IT and office systems, finance, billing and client care procedures. You'll have your own mentor too, a trainee solicitor to help you through your first few weeks, plus a dedicated supervisor and the wider Graduate Recruitment team to support you in every seat. But that's not all: one of our Partners will take the role of your Principal and will be on hand to support, guide and inspire you throughout your training contract.

All trainees complete four six month seats during their training contract. These include a Real Estate seat, a Contentious seat, a Non Contentious seat and a fourth seat (this might be a client secondment or international placement).

The Professional Skills Course (PSC) is the formal part of your training contract which you'll complete throughout your two year training contract. Modules include Finance & Business Skills, Advocacy & Communication Skills, Client Care, Professional Standards, Effective Written Communications and The Skilled Negotiator.

Secondments and international opportunities

As well as our international offices, there may also be opportunities for secondments with clients or international placements through the International Exchange Programme. We are a part of the World Law Group's International Exchange Programme, which offers the chance for a number of lawyers to experience exciting legal work in locations across the globe, including Australia, America, Brazil and Mexico.

What happens next?

To help you find your way through the training contract selection process, and so that you know what to expect when, we've outlined the key stages below.


Application form

Before you tackle the online application form, take a look at our hints and tips. This form is your chance to tell us about yourself, why you're applying to Gowling WLG and why we should offer you a training contract.


Online testing

Once you've submitted your form, our recruitment team will be in touch and ask you to complete an online situational judgement test to assess how well you deal with scenarios you might face as a trainee. If you're successful here, you'll also complete an online verbal reasoning test. (You could be asked to re-take both tests on an assessment day).


Video interview

If you successfully pass both tests we then undertake a detailed application form screen. If you pass this then we'll invite you to a video interview. This can be done at a convenient time for you within the set deadline. You’ll be asked a series of pre-recorded interview questions by a member of our team. Don’t be daunted – you do get practice questions.


Assessment day

The final stage. This is very much a two-way process, allowing you and us the opportunity to discover if we're right for each other. We will assess you using a number of different exercises designed to help us identify whether you've got what it takes to be a brilliant commercial lawyer. But, just as importantly, the day will allow you to discover if we're the firm for you.

Frequently asked questions

Why did you form Gowling WLG?

We launched Gowling WLG to meet our clients' increasingly international legal needs. This move creates a more international business and network, with broader and deeper expertise in a range of sectors. It enables us to build on our successful national practices, and gives us a stronger platform to grow and develop in other markets.

It is a first step in a strategy to create a leading sector-focused global law firm. We will be seeking to accelerate growth across our existing offices and to add new member firms in other strategic locations, focusing initially on Europe and Asia-Pacific. See more on Gowling WLG here.

Will you accept a 2:2 or below degree grade?

Yes. We're not prescriptive when it comes to particular grades at A Level or degree. We look at the bigger picture. We want to recruit bright, intelligent people and our selection procedure measures whether you have the skills and attributes we look for in our trainees.

Do you offer client secondments?

Absolutely. We currently have five trainees on secondment at organisations such as Oxfam and Transport for London.

What is your stance on mature students?

We simply aim to recruit the best people. We want to hear from people of all ages and backgrounds. Take some of our recent trainees, one of them used to be a journalist, another was a baker. We even have an ex-prima ballerina in the firm!

Which Legal Practice Course (LPC) / Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) providers do you recommend?

Our preferred LPC provider is the University of Law. As a University of Law student, you'll learn about our working practices, precedents and culture, as well as meet our trainees and fee earners. We would also prefer you to study the GDL at the University of Law, but we can be flexible on this.

Will I be able to use language skills and work overseas?

Definitely. You'll be able to put your linguistic abilities to use translating documents or when talking to international clients. You might want to join one of our international desks. And once qualified, you could ask to go on secondments overseas, usually to develop relationships with another law firm or sometimes with a client.

Is paralegal work available at Gowling WLG?

It is, yes. We have a large number of paralegals here, and some of them go on to apply for training contracts with us. Of course, they still have to meet the same standards required by external applicants. For more information on paralegal roles, please visit