LCAN, the Law Careers Advice Network, primar aims was to promote and enhance understanding in the student population in schools, further and higher education institutions about the opportunities available to those who wish to pursue a career in law.

Training contracts


Before qualifying as a solicitor, students will need to undertake a period of practice-based training called the training contract. The training contract can be undertaken full-time over two years or part-time over a longer period. Most training is taken in private practice but students can train with local and central government, commerce and industry, the Crown Prosecution Service or the Magistrates Court Service, for example. Competition for training contracts is great and students should start applying in the second year of their undergraduate studies.


Availability of contracts


Sources of information

There are a number of sources students can use to obtain information on finding a training contract. These include:

Where to find the vacancies

Private practice

Nearly 10,000 firms are currently in private practice, with only 449 having 11 or more partners. The larger firms offer the majority of training places and usually recruit two years in advance. However 4,402 are sole practitioners, 3,805 have 2-4 partners, 1,110 have 5-10 partners. Many are potential employers of trainees.


Commerce and industry

Almost every major commercial concern now has in-house solicitors. There could be just one or two solicitors or barristers advising on all matters, or a large team of lawyers developing areas of expertise in diverse subjects such as intellectual property, employment law or company acquisitions. The in-house solicitor builds up a thorough and detailed understanding of the business, the personalities and the workings of the industry. Career opportunities include becoming Head of Legal Department, Management or Company Secretary.

Further information about a career in commerce and industry can be obtained from the Commerce and Industry Group.


Local government

Most local authorities have an in-house legal service, encountering a variety of areas such as child protection, planning, consumer protection and environmental health.

The extended rights of audience in the Magistrates' Courts is challenging and, together with the good training programme often available, ensures a rewarding training contract.

Local authorities offer approximately 150 training contracts, some of which are advertised two years in advance, the majority only shortly before appointment.

Vacancies are usually notified direct to your university careers service and/or advertised in the Law Society Gazette. Alternatively, write to Solicitors in Local Government.


Magistrates' Court Service

The Magistrates' Court Service offers a number of training contracts across the country, in the role of court clerks. Court clerks advise lay magistrates on matters of law and legal procedure. Court clerks with the ability to explain legal principles in a clear and concise manner are in great demand for the continuing programme of magistrates' training.

Further information can be obtained from the Association of Magistrates Courts.


Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

The CPS may have places for trainee solicitors and promises a thorough and challenging training. The CPS offers the opportunity both to gain varied experience in prosecution work and to rise to the most senior position in the Civil Service.

Recruitment is co-ordinated, normally two years in advance, by The Recruitment Branch, 50 Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7EX.


The Government Legal Service (GLS)

There are few areas of the law in which the government does not have a critical interest and the GLS lawyers are closely involved in the legislative process. The GLS offers trainees the chance to be trained in a unique legal environment at the centre of affairs of national and international importance.

Around 30 training contracts and pupillages are offered each year. The application form is available on the GLS from the end of June. Further details can be obtained from The GLS Recruitment Team on 020 7649 6023 or email