Government Legal Service (GLS) legal trainee scheme
Information for law or non-law graduates who wish to train as solicitors or barristers in the GLS
The GLS legal trainee scheme (LTS) is the term we use to describe the training contract and pupillage opportunities available in GLS departments. All trainee places will be based in London.
When and how to apply
The application process for the next LTS will open in July 2017. To be notified as soon as the LTS is open, you can add your contact details to our mailing list.
Training contract structure
If your application is successful you will be allocated to one of the recruiting departments. Your training contract will be the responsibility of that department and the nature of your training will vary according to the department you have been allocated to. Generally speaking, you’ll spend time in 4 main areas of practice (known as ‘seats’). Each seat lasts 6 months.
As a trainee solicitor, you will have at least one seat in a litigation team and one in an advisory team. Over the course of your training contract you can expect to gain experience of:
- communication and practice support
- legal research
- writing and drafting
- interviewing and advising
- oral presentation
We only offer full 2-year training contracts and do not take into account previous training completed elsewhere.
Your pupillage will last 12 months and your time will be split between the GLS department you have been allocated to and a set of external barristers’ chambers.
The structure of the pupillage varies between departments. However, you’ll typically spend either the first 6 months or middle 4 months in a set of chambers and the remainder with a departmental legal team.
You’ll be involved in the wide range of work in which your department and chambers are involved throughout your pupillage. You’ll attend court, initially with your supervisor, carry out research for other lawyers and draft opinions.
There are fewer opportunities for barristers to engage in oral advocacy in the GLS. GLS barristers are given the opportunity to conduct cases in tribunals or courts although the extent of that opportunity varies between the different departments. GLS legal teams use the services of external counsel for most of their court work. Candidates wishing to focus principally on an advocacy career should bear this in mind.
We only offer 1 year pupillages and will not take into account previous training completed elsewhere.
The GLS will pay your Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) fees in full provided you have not yet started the course. We have no preference which law or bar school you attend.
Departments will make a proportional payment based on the number of months remaining if you’ve started your course.
We won’t reimburse you if you’ve successfully taken and passed your LPC or BPTC.
You may be eligible for a grant of about £5,400 to £7,600 for the vocational year if you intend to study for your LPC or BPTC on a full-time basis, or possibly part-time, basis. You’ll need to discuss your eligibility for a grant with the recruiting department at the offer stage.
If you have yet to start your Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), we may also be able to contribute towards your GDL fees. However, since funding cannot always be guaranteed, you will need to discuss this with the department making you an offer of a place.
Our aim is to try to ensure that all those we recruit as legal trainees are offered a post on successful completion of their training. This can never be guaranteed, although our retention rates over the past few years have been excellent. For example, in 2014, 2015 and 2016 we retained 100% of our trainee solicitors and pupil barristers.
We offer a small number of 1 week vacation placements on our summer diversity scheme every year. This scheme aims to provide work experience to undergraduates or graduates from diverse backgrounds which are currently under-represented across the legal profession.
In 2016 we worked with the following organisations to allocate places on the scheme:
Outside of the summer diversity scheme, we will not be offering any vacation placements during 2017.
It’s important to understand that we don’t use vacation placement schemes as an opportunity to assess your suitability for a training contract or pupillage. The application processes for our summer diversity scheme and legal trainee scheme are separate. If you obtain a summer placement with us and wish to apply for a training contract or pupillage within one of our legal team, you will need to apply through our legal trainee scheme application process.
Legal Trainee Scheme brochure
PDF, 341KB, 44 pages
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Published: 25 July 2014
Updated: 20 July 2016
- Updated to replace references to BIS with new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- GLS Legal Trainee Scheme is open.
- Announcement of the 2016 GLS Legal Trainee Scheme.
- Updated to reflect changes to vacation placement provision.
- Updated to reflect launch of application process
- Updated ahead of 2015 43cruitment campaign
- Updated to include detail about the 2015 legal trainee scheme recruitment campaign.
- Updated information regarding the GLD vacation placement scheme
- GLS graduate brochure added to page
- First published.