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Travers Smith Training Contract - a Student Guide

Aspiring solicitors can learn about Travers Smith training contract and other law work experience opportunities in our detailed guide.

Travers Smith is a leading UK law firm with offices in London and Paris, both of which practise English law. Founded in the early 19th Century, it has since earned the ‘Silver Circle’ moniker. Travers Smith opened for six brief years in Berlin in the 2000s, but today adopts an ‘independent’, non-acquisitive model. Instead, the firm operates a ‘Best Friends’ network born of carefully cultivated relationships with partner law firms, chosen for their expertise in specific practices and jurisdictions. For this reason, it is a relatively small firm with around 350 fee-earners; yet much of its work transcends borders.

The UK outfit boasts equal strength across disputes and transactions. In January, its Dispute Resolution team secured a victory for HP in the largest civil fraud case in British history, against British tech tycoon Mike Lynch and his team at Clifford Chance. However, the firm is traditionally known for its big-ticket corporate work. National retailers like Debenhams and House of Fraser recently went to Travers Smith for their company voluntary arrangements.

Travers Smith is also known across the City for its top-notch client service, and has managed to maintain this throughout the pandemic. This extends to colleagues: Travers Smith was reported to be one of the better firms when it came to helping trainees settle in virtually, despite the difficulties raised by working from home. Trainees speak highly of the tight-knit firm community, and the benefits of a cohort of around 30 each year. 

Uniquely, a room-sharing system and generally lean teams comprising a trainee, two associates and a partner helps junior colleagues develop at a faster pace than their peers. The absence of fixed billable targets is further evidence of the firm’s collegial attitude to working; no ‘face time’ culture to speak of. 

ESG is core to each of the firm’s practices: Travers Smith has been active in this space for around a decade, much ahead of its competitors, and in general has been strong from a CSR perspective. Colleagues are encouraged to be involved in the movement, advising on ESG-linked products and impact investing, to assisting the knowledge team with thought leadership and ESG-related events.  

Whilst it does not maintain an advanced delivery hub in the regions or overseas, Travers Smith has been investing heavily in legal technology. Its in-house team has developed a flagship contract labelling tool, ‘Ettatonna’, which is free for all. 

The firm is well-regarded for its inclusion efforts, with gender-neutral toilets and formal diversity training on offer. Partnering with disability charity Scope, as well as establishing the ‘Enable’ working group has played an important role in promoting disability equality within and beyond the workplace. In addition to Enable, other internal networks include the Gender Balance, LGBT+ and Faith Resources Groups. 

In general, there is an important focus on allyship at Travers Smith, particularly on racial justice in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. This is supported by the Travers Smith Foundation, which provides financial assistance to BAME groups through charities. Meanwhile, aligning inclusion to pro bono efforts alongside developing other strands of pro bono – climate, environment and sustainability, vulnerable groups and the rule of law – showcases the firm’s commitment to its local communities. For diverse candidates wondering whether Travers Smith is right for them, you’ll find that the firm has long been partnering with reputable organisations like Aspiring Solicitors and the InterLaw Diversity Forum. 

It’s clear that Travers Smith values innovation, and is making strides in engaging with the quick pace of the legal industry across all major areas, from technology to inclusion. If you’re looking for international work involving major household names, a strong support network and a firm that’s always looking to improve, Travers Smith could be a great choice for you.   

Practice Areas

Travers Smith main practice areas are financial services and markets, investment funds, private equity, financial sponsors, real estate, and technology.

Culture

Travers Smith has a unique ‘rooms sharing’ model which provides a supportive, close-knit and non-hierarchical environment where they look out for each other. There are a number of non-work actives which everyone is welcomed to get involved. At the heart of their culture is the people, they have a progressive approach to business and how they train, develop and support their people.

Involvement with Equality Schemes

Travers Smith is part of a network of diversity schemes. The firm made a formal response to the BLM movement, the firm has taken steps to enhance their Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance which promotes racial equity in the law. The firm recognises that there is a clear need to empower young LGBT+, for people to feel confident in their identity. The firm also promote trans inclusion within the firm and the wider community. The firm has created a comfortable culture to promote the discussions of mental health without feeling judged or criticised.

Covid-19 Response 

All full-time and part-time employees are working from home with technology infrastructure provided.

Interview Process

There are two interviews that will conducted. The first interview is with a partner and consists of ‘moral dilemmas’ questions. There is some discussion at the beginning for wanting to work at the firm and interest in legal areas. On successfully getting to the second round. The second interview is with two partners and related to motivational questions but with a legal topic. There is also more discussion on why you like certain areas of law and the legal work at Travers Smith.

Facilities

Private box at the Albert Hall, free music lessons and £30 Deliveroo allowance for anyone working after 7pm.

Opportunities

Trainees have a 4% chance of a secondment abroad. Currently Travers Smith do not offer trainees a chance of a client secondment.

Summer Work Placement Deadline
17 January 2022 Learn More

More About Travers Smith

Learn more about what Travers Smith has to offer.

Work Experience Opportunities Available

Vacation scheme and Training contract.

Entry Requirements 

Minimum A-Level requirement AAB and minimum degree requirement 2.1.

Assessment Process

CV with a short cover letter and then the interview process.

Location of Offices in UK

London.

Number of Places Available

Training contracts have 25 places and vacation schemes have 72.

Number of Seats

A two-year training contract consists of 4 six month seats. Six months will be spent in corporate and another in dispute resolution or employment. Travers Smiths then offer the other 2 six month seats as a choice.

Retention Score of Trainees

89%

Introduction by Fareeha Noorani and breakdown by Caitlyn Ayers