Meet our group HR Director & Training Principal

I started my career as a solicitor, training at Gateley, so I know first-hand what it is like to work through the trainee programme, the highs and the lows of learning new skills, working in a brand-new environment and facing new challenges every week. I found it to be a rewarding experience which equipped me to build my career as an employment solicitor, with the confidence and support to move into a new role within the operational management of the group.

Choosing which businesses to apply to is the first step. It may seem like a minefield with many saying similar things. How do you choose which one is right for you? We’ve highlighted a few of the things that trainees have told us are important about Gateley Legal.

What do we look for in our trainees?

We look for traits in our trainees that embrace the Gateley team spirit: 

  • Ambition
  • Commerciality
  • Vision
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong academics including an expected or obtained 2:1 undergraduate degree classification.

Thinking of a career in law? 

Our ‘Introduction to M&A law’ programme is a great place to start.

In this programme, you will learn all about mergers and acquisitions and assist our team with a hypothetical transaction, applying critical thinking and commercial awareness to achieve the required outcome. After completing the task, you will be able to compare your work our team’s model solution. 

Click here to find out more and to register.

Take a look at some of our trainee initiatives

We recruit our future trainees directly from our summer vacation placements. Over two weeks, you get the opportunity to meet different people at Gateley and to explore whether we are the right business to help you begin your legal career.

During the summer vacation placement, you will gain paid hands-on experience and to decide whether a career in the law seems right for you. You will work with a mix of lawyers across several practice areas so you can explore different specialities, a glimpse of what your professional life could be like as a qualified solicitor. During the placement, you will be supported by a trainee buddy and by our graduate recruitment team. 

It’s a fun two weeks with social events so that you can get to know our culture and what life is really like as a trainee within our business. 

How do you apply for a Summer Vacation Placement?

  1. Complete our online form once applications open.
  2. After we have received your application all applicants will be invited to complete an interactive assessment.
  3. All applications and interactive assessments will be reviewed after the closing date so don’t be concerned if you do not hear straightaway.
  4. If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to attend a virtual assessment centre which includes an opportunity to meet some of our trainees and emerging talent team.
  5. If you are successful at the assessment centre, you will be invited to join one of our Summer Vacation Placements which usually take place in June and July.
  6. Training contract offers are made within two weeks of completion of the placement. If you are unsuccessful, we will let you know what you could have done differently or better, to support you with future applications at Gateley or elsewhere.

More on the application process

Who can apply?

You can apply for a summer vacation placement if:

  • you are in your penultimate or final year of a law degree, or have graduated after completing a law degree
  • If you are in your final year of a non-law degree, or have graduated after completing a non-law degree 

When can you apply?

The online application form for summer vacation placements opens each year on 1 November. Our next applications for 2023 summer vacation placements will open online on 1 November 2022 and will close on 31 January 2023.

Where are summer vacation placement schemes held? 

Our summer vacation placements take place in all our Gateley Legal offices where we offer training contracts: Birmingham, Guildford, Leeds, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading.

We advise candidates to apply for a summer vacation placement at the same Gateley Legal office in which they would like to start their training contract. The placement offers a snapshot of what your traineeship will be like in that location and provides an ideal opportunity for you to understand the office and the people.
 

Who can apply?

You can apply for a summer vacation placement if:

  • you are in your penultimate or final year of a law degree, or have graduated after completing a law degree
  • If you are in your final year of a non-law degree, or have graduated after completing a non-law degree 

When can you apply?

The online application form for summer vacation placements opens each year on 1 November and closes the following February. Our next applications for 2021 summer vacation placements will open online on 1 November 2020 and will close on 1 February 2021.

Where are summer vacation placement schemes held? 

Our summer vacation placements take place in all our Gateley Legal offices where we offer training contracts: Birmingham, Guildford, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading.

We advise candidates to apply for a summer vacation placement at the same Gateley Legal office in which they would like to start their training contract. The placement offers a snapshot of what your traineeship will be like in that location and provides an ideal opportunity for you to understand the office and the people.
 

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Meet a current second year trainee

What was the application process?

I am a second-year trainee in the Reading office. I went through the application process of completing the initial online application, attending the assessment centre and the two-week vacation scheme. After going through the initial two stages I was invited to the two-week placement at the end of June. I was primarily working within the Family team, but I helped other departments such as Banking and Commercial too. 

What did your two-week placement look like?

I remember from the first day of the vacation scheme I was given a lot of responsibility and trusted to do. I was asked to draft a will from scratch, I remember being worried about what to do at the time, but it was a great learning curve and I managed to work it out in the end. During the two-week process, I also drafted Form E’s, probate forms, attended Court, drafted non-disclosure agreements, helped with due diligence, and attended client events and meetings. 

What impressed you most about Gateley?

What really impressed me was the culture in the Reading office, everyone was friendly and committed to my development; everyone gave feedback and gave me lots of opportunities to learn. Moreover, I could approach any partner and ask a question and they would be more than willing to sit down and talk, which is rare to find in any law firm. Also, there is a welcome lunch that is organised for you with most people in the office so that you can get to know everyone better.   
 

Hear from a former trainee

5 top tips on how to approach your vacation scheme

Georgia Horrocks shares some of the lessons that she learnt during her vacation scheme placement

Read more

Meet a previous trainee

What did your two-week placement look like?

During my two-week placement was in the Commercial Dispute Resolution team. I had the opportunity to review and draft legal documents, draft correspondence to clients, attend client meetings and undertake legal research to assist senior colleagues. 

During the SVP I had expected to be given “mock” exercises but was delighted to find out I would be assisting the team with real and current files. Immediately this made me feel like I was part of the team and that I was contributing in a meaningful and positive way. 

What did you enjoy most?

From the minute I started the placement I was made to feel extremely welcome and by the end of the two weeks, I truly felt like part of the team and couldn't imagine doing my training contract anywhere else. A number of socials were organised throughout the placement including dinner and drinks with the current trainees, lunch with senior members of the firm and a farewell lunch with members of the HR team. 

As SVP students we were encouraged to partake in the firm’s CSR activities and I was even invited along to play with the Gateley netball team. This gave me a flavour of what life at Gateley would be like and I was really encouraged to see the emphasis that Gateley places on Corporate Social Responsibility and also achieving a work-life balance. 

Answers to your key questions

HOW MANY TRAINING CONTRACTS DO YOU OFFER EACH YEAR? 

Usually, we offer 28 training contracts across Gateley Legal and Gateley Tweed, however this is reviewed each year to ensure it meets our business needs.  

IF I DON’T OBTAIN A 2:1 DEGREE, WILL YOU WITHDRAW MY OFFER? 

Academics are important and you should aim for the best school/college and university grades as you can. However, we understand that individuals may have reasons for mitigating circumstances and there is a section on our application form where you can detail these. 

We always look at applications and your SVP experience as a whole. If you have shown strengths in other areas and have demonstrated elements of our Gateley Team Spirit, we will consider all university degree grades. 

WHAT IS THE SALARY FOR A TRAINEE? 

Our trainee salaries are reviewed annually by undertaking extensive market research. 

The September 2022 salary for first year trainees outside London is £28,000, increasing to £30,000 in the second year. Trainees in our London office receive £36,000 in the first year and £38,500 in the second year. The salary for trainees in our Reading and Guildford offices is £32,000 in the first year, increasing to £34,000 in the second year. 

DO YOU SPECIFY WHERE I SHOULD STUDY?

We are now sponsoring our future trainees to complete the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). If you have not already completed the LPC and have accepted a training contract offer from us, we will ask you to study the LLM in Legal Practice (SQE 1&2) at the University of Law. If you need to complete a conversion course and have accepted a training contract offer with us, we will sponsor you to complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) at the University of Law.

If you have any extenuating circumstances which may affect where you can study we would be happy to discuss this with you.

DO YOU PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE THROUGH LAW SCHOOL?

When you accept your training contract, we will provide financial support for your law school studies. 

WHAT CONTACT WILL I HAVE WITH MY COHORT AND GATELEY LEGAL DURING THE TWO YEARS BETWEEN MY TRAINING CONTRACT OFFER AND STARTING AT THE COMPANY? 

We want to help you get settled into life at Gateley as soon as possible so you will be invited to future trainee events before you join to help you get to know us more and to feel part of our Gateley team. You will also be assigned a current trainee buddy and be able to contact our emerging talent team whenever you need to. 

DO I GET TO CHOOSE MY SEATS? 

Your training contract is made up of four six-month seats. We do our very best to ensure at least one of these is a seat of your choice, in line with SRA guidelines and business needs. 

We require trainees to do seats in the following core legal areas:

Corporate
One of:
 
Real estate
One of:
 
Contentious
One of:
 
Corporate 
Banking/Finance 
Restructuring Advisory 
Tax
Pensions
Real Estate
Residential Development
Construction
 
Dispute Resolution
Employment
Restructuring Litigation
Property Litigation
Regulatory
Family


DO YOU OFFER CLIENT SECONDMENTS?

Yes, many of our trainees have spent very rewarding and insightful seats working on client secondments. Let us know during your second seat if you are interested in a secondment for your third or final seat.