Any aspiring solicitor in the UK should consider applying to the DLA Piper training contract or vacation scheme. The firm’s commitment to diversity and personal growth shapes a training experience that is both rigorous and supportive, paving the way for a successful legal career. In this guide, you will learn all about the application process, entry requirements, and what makes DLA Piper different from other law firms.

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What is the DLA Piper Training Contract?

A DLA Piper training contract is known as the International Training Programme. It is a structured program that offers trainees the opportunity to work across various practice groups within the firm. It includes four six-month rotations, providing comprehensive exposure to different legal areas and the practical skills needed for a successful legal career. This program is integral to developing new lawyers within the global framework of DLA Piper and is designed to build their experience through hands-on work and learning opportunities​​. For more information about early career opportunities at DLA Piper, you can visit their official early careers page​​. You must know precisely when the training contract deadlines are to apply on time.

DLA Piper Training Contract Graphic

DLA Piper Training Contract Requirements

DLA Piper does not have defined entry requirements for their training contracts. The firm sponsors trainees to attend a Master’s level preparatory course, which includes the SQE1 and SQE2 exams, essential for qualifying as a solicitor in the UK. Non-law graduates are also sponsored for a law conversion course before the SQE prep course

DLA Piper is inclusive, offering up to 65 training contracts yearly across the UK and welcoming applicants needing visa support, whom they will assist in obtaining work permits or visas​​. The firm encourages applications from individuals with diverse skills and experiences and is willing to make necessary adjustments to support participation in the recruitment process​​. You are likely to be asked why this law firm or why study law questions during the DLA Piper application process.

What is the DLA Piper Vacation Scheme

The DLA Piper vacation scheme, also known as the Summer Internship, is a three-week paid program that serves as a gateway to the firm’s International Training Programme. Eligibility for the scheme is quite broad; law students can apply if they are in the second year of a three-year course or in their penultimate/final year of a four-year course, as well as final-year students and graduates. You should check out our vacation scheme deadlines calendar.

Non-law students are eligible if they are in their final year or are graduates on the accelerated LLB route, particularly for the Edinburgh office which has specific requirements. Graduates and career changers are also welcome to apply, provided they have the right to work in the UK for the programme’s duration. Notably, DLA Piper does not sponsor visas for the internship​​.

Summer Vacation Scheme at DLA Piper

Key dates for application are important to note; applications typically open in September and are reviewed on a rolling basis, meaning early applications are encouraged​​. Successful applicants to the Summer Internship are assessed for a place on the International Training Programme, which commences two years after the internship, though there can be flexibility depending on the firm’s business needs​​.

What You Will Do During DLA Piper Vacation Scheme

It starts with a four-day induction in the London office, offering an introduction to the firm’s culture and operations. Participants then work in their chosen office location, gaining experience in two of the firm’s practice groups. The scheme is an opportunity for interns to demonstrate their strengths and could lead to a training contract offer in the office where the internship was completed. Eligibility extends to law and non-law students, graduates, and career changers with a right to work in the chosen location​​.

Application Process for Training Contract and Vacation Scheme at DLA Piper

The application process for both the training contract and vacation scheme at DLA Piper is multi-staged, designed to assess the candidate’s suitability for a career at the firm. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Application Form: Candidates must provide personal details and answer questions about their motivations for applying. A CV is also required as part of the application​​.
  2. Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS): This optional survey allows DLA Piper to consider applicants’ achievements in context, recognizing that achievements may vary based on individual circumstances​​.
  3. Online Assessment: The Watson Glaser Test is an untimed critical thinking assessment, and it must be completed within five days of receiving the link. Practicing with available online resources is recommended​​.
  4. Video Interview: Candidates will undergo a video interview focusing on their motivations and how they align with the values and behaviors important to DLA Piper​​.
  5. Assessment Centre: The final stage involves exercises at an Assessment Centre, designed to showcase the candidate’s strengths and fit with the firm’s culture​​.

The entire process aims to select candidates who align with DLA Piper’s values and have the potential to thrive in their legal careers with the firm.

DLA Piper Training Contract Application Process

Why You Should Apply to DLA Piper?

Applying to DLA Piper presents an opportunity to be part of a firm that challenges the status quo, embraces global opportunities, and values individuality​​. DLA Piper promotes a culture that supports personal and professional growth, allowing you to bring your passion and unique qualities to the work environment daily. The firm operates in over 40 countries, combining global reach with local connections, and prioritizes collaborative relationships which are central to its success​​. By joining DLA Piper, you’d be contributing to a dynamic organization that competes at the highest level, drives change, and makes a tangible difference for clients and communities​​.

History of DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s history is marked by a series of strategic mergers and growth. The earliest roots date back to 1764, but the current organization was established in 2005 after the merger of multiple law firms, including Dibb Lupton Broomhead, Alsop Stevens, Piper & Marbury, and Rudnick & Wolfe. The formation of DLA Piper created one of the world’s largest law firms at the time. The firm has since expanded its global presence, opening offices in diverse locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas, and establishing alliances with other firms to enhance its international reach​​​​.

What Makes DLA Piper Stand Out

DLA Piper stands out for its:

  • Dynamic Culture: Bold thinking and decisive actions, underpinned by strong relationships with clients and communities.
  • Innovative Solutions: Fearlessly inquisitive approach, striving for creativity and excellence.
  • Support and Diversity: A compassionate and inclusive environment that values diversity and thoughtful action.
  • Collaborative Ethos: Proactive teamwork, investing in relationships to achieve collective success.
  • Commitment to ESG: Assisting clients with sustainable transitions and asking critical questions about purpose and transparency.
  • Focus on Inclusivity: Encouraging belonging and empowerment within the firm.
  • Pro Bono Work: Legal support for under-served groups, nonprofits, and social enterprises to advance justice and development.
  • Global Impact: Contributing to social and economic development, sound legal institutions, and the advancement of women in under-resourced regions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the DLA Piper training contract and vacation scheme:

Where does DLA Piper recruit from?

DLA Piper recruits both students and graduates, aiming to provide the necessary tools and experiences to forge successful careers in law. They offer various programs, including apprenticeships and internships, open to law and non-law students​​​​.

What is the retention rate for DLA Piper trainees?

DLA Piper has a strong retention rate, with consistently over 85% of trainees staying on with the firm in newly qualified (NQ) roles from the latest cohorts.

Is DLA Piper a Tier 1 law firm?

DLA Piper has received numerous rankings that indicate its prominence in the legal industry. For instance, in the Chambers Global guide, the firm received significant rankings across various regions and practices, including being ranked #1 among all firms for the number of newly ranked associates​​. Such rankings reflect the firm’s standing and may suggest a Tier 1 status, though the tier designation can vary by publication and practice area. However, DLA Piper is not a magic circle law firm

Is DLA Piper a good law firm?

DLA Piper is recognized for its impressive legal achievements and credentials. It has received hundreds of lawyer and firm rankings in Chambers UK guides, signifying its quality and the exceptional service provided by its lawyers across different practice groups​​.

Is DLA Piper a good company to work for?

The firm’s mission, vision, and purpose, including its ambition to be the most trusted legal partner and its drive to make a positive impact, indicate a strong internal culture​​. Additionally, its commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and social impact, as well as providing support for professional development, suggests it is a positive workplace​​.

How much do DLA Piper trainees make in London?

As of the latest update, first-year trainees at DLA Piper in London earn £46,000, with second-year trainees earning £51,000​​. Learn all about solicitor salaries in the UK.

Does DLA Piper recruit on a rolling basis?

Yes, DLA Piper reviews applications for its Summer Internship on a rolling basis, closing the application process once they have received a sufficient number to fill the roles​​.