When deciding on the best way to kick start their career, aspiring solicitors tend to overlook in-house training contracts. Law firms are not the only companies looking to recruit graduates. Over the past few years, large commercial organisations have become more likely to offer in-house TCs to graduates.

An in-house TC is a lesser-known form of recognised training available for those on their journey into their career as a solicitor. Becoming an in-house lawyer provides an alternative, yet rewarding, a doorway into the legal profession that many graduates neglect to consider or are unaware of.

What is an In-House Training Contract?

Graphic that shows that aspiring solicitors can learn everything about in-house law training contracts on this pageIn-house TCs are provided by larger commercial businesses, rather than law firms, and provide a different work experience. With an in-house TC, instead of working for multiple clients as you would with a traditional TC, your only client will be your employer. This offers the opportunity to work as part of the legal team of a large business and to advise your client on a day-to-day basis on many aspects of the law.

In-house TCs can be difficult to find. As they are provided by non-legal firms, contracts only become available once a position needs to be filled. With this being said, there are multiple providers offering in-house TCs, so if you are committed to keeping on top of searching for vacancies, this route could be available for you.

Where to Look for In-House Legal Roles?

Searching for in-house opportunities is no different than looking for any other ordinary legal job. If you are wondering how to become an in-house lawyer, then here are a few tips that will help you find in-house TC jobs faster.

Company websites

Enquiring directly with the companies you are interested in working for is an efficient way to track down rare in-house legal positions. Most companies have legal departments, write down a list of companies where you’d like to work. Think about your interests and what you are passionate about.

  • For example, if you are into movies and cinema why not search for jobs at a media company? Go to that company’s website and look through their job vacancies. Chances are you will find some legal positions being advertised! Do that for every company that you are interested in.

University Careers Services

This could be a hidden gem that you have not discovered yet! Don’t feel shy to speak to your university career advisers, it’s what they are there for! Additionally, companies will visit universities through career fairs, presentations, and other events throughout the academic year to advertise positions to future graduates, granting you further opportunities to enquire.

Graduate Career Sites

You should regularly check graduate career sites to stay on top of when new positions become available. Companies generally post in-house trainee vacancies only when needed. You can also sign up for job vacancy updates. Receiving that update to your email will allow you to have more time to tailor your applications.

List of In-House Training Contracts

An image that lists some in-house training contracts available in the UKMany large companies will generally have legal departments. Below are a few to help you start your search.

Sky In-House Training Contract

Sky’s two-year legal training programme will begin in September 2021 and will see trainees rotating between four seats across Sky Legal. Trainees will be based in Sky’s HQ in Osterley, West London and this programme is said to be comparable to that of a top legal firm.

The BBC In-House Training Contract

As a trainee at the BBC legal team, you will be placed at 4 seats, spanning over a period of two years. This BBC legal training contract focuses on several areas of law, including intellectual property, employment, and litigation. Applicants are required to have at least a 2:1 degree.

Government Legal Trainee Scheme

The Government runs a legal trainee scheme, offering in-house legal trainee places in several departments, including Government Legal Department and HM Revenue and Customs.

Barclays In-House Training Contract

Barclays has a large in-house legal department. As well as offering in-house TCs to aspiring solicitors, Barclays also offers Legal Experience Weeks for up to 60 graduates a year.

Adidas In-House Training Contract

Adidas is an international corporation and in almost every country that it operates in, it has legal departments. With such global reach, an Adidas in-house trainee solicitor can expect to get the same training as a top London firm trainee.

BT In House Training Contract

BT frequently offers in-house training opportunities to work within their legal team to support the business in numerous areas of law, ranging from data protection to commercial transactions.

Vodafone In-House Training Contract

As the world’s second-largest mobile phone company, Vodafone is always looking to expand. Trainee solicitors can work their way up from Vodafone’s Enterprise Legal Team to the opportunity to apply for TCs within Vodafone.

In-House TC Vs Traditional TC

In-house legal teams generally offer a better work-life balance than law firms, as the hours are more sociable compared to the tedious hours that can be expected from private practice.

The salary offered within an in-house TC is generally lower than the salary of a traditional TC and you might be exposed to a more narrow variety of legal issues.

As an in-house lawyer, you will be expected to possess an understanding of commercial awareness and the economic climate on top of knowledge of a wide range of areas of law. This is due to the nature of work being to advise a business organisation on various legal matters. In contrast, when employed by a private practice firm, the general expectation will be to possess an understanding of the areas of law in which the firm specialises in.

While some firms require TC applicants to have completed the LPC, many businesses allow their in-house trainees to complete their LPC on a part-time basis. With the SQE being in force, you will also be able to become a fully qualified solicitor through in-house training.

Nowadays students know that a lot more companies offer training contracts which means that they have a lot more options to become qualified lawyers in England & Wales.

By Ceire Quinn