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Our Graduate Trainee Programme

It’s an exciting, but often daunting, stage of your life when you choose the law firms you want to apply to, when starting your career as a solicitor.

From our perspective, we’re not just looking for anyone to join Steele Raymond. We have a huge responsibility to our clients and our current team to ensure we’re bringing in the best people, who are going to enhance the firm, thrive in our environment and who are committed to helping deliver our vision, in line with our values.

Starting your career with a firm or moving from one organisation to another is significant. We take it very seriously that you may want to entrust the next stage of your working journey and your career to us.

Qualifying is not easy – it involves a lot of hard work and study over many years. We would also say it involves being in a supportive environment where you’re given opportunities to develop and grow, with people around you who care – about your wellbeing and your progress.

Obviously, we’re biased about what a great place to work Steele Raymond is, but we really do believe you’ll have a fantastic start to your career if you join us. We think you’ll most likely thrive in our open, supportive and friendly environment, working with people you will respect and who you will very much enjoy working with. New hires to the firm often comment that they can’t quite believe the friendliness of their new team and other colleagues and how warmly they’ve been welcomed into the firm – regardless of their grade or experience.

You will also be surrounded by leading experts in their fields for you to learn from on a daily basis. As a regional firm, we have a reputation for punching above our weight and recently we have significantly increased in size, growing the partnership and our turnover.

As a business we focus on corporate transactions, commercial contracts, commercial property, strategic land, residential development, property & commercial litigation and a full range of high-quality family and private wealth services, including wills, trusts and probate, contentious wills, trusts & probate and estate planning & tax. This means we currently have eleven teams you may have a chance of training within – otherwise known as ‘seats’ you could undertake.

We have a longstanding track-record for nurturing talent with a fifth of the firm’s partners, Chairman Tim Stone, Training Principal Shaun Guppy, Nick DaviesCraig Hardman and Emma Stainwright all alumni of the Steele Raymond training programme. Read some of our stories too of how others have developed in the firm and thoughts about their experiences from current and recent trainees.

Additionally, gain a behind-the-scenes view of life as a trainee solicitor by following us on Instagram >

We currently offer two routes to qualification, both of which are detailed below. Typically, we recruit two or three trainees a year each September.

Our Graduate Programme, via the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) route

We offer a three-year programme to qualify as a Solicitor:

  • Year 1 – You will work within a Legal Assistant / Paralegal role in one of our teams. You might have the opportunity to work in more than one team, however the team you join, and whether you move teams during year one is dependent on business need at the time of your employment. Six months into your first year, you can apply to progress to our two year Training Programme. If you’re successful, you will work as a Trainee Solicitor in years two and three of your Training Programme.
  • Year 2 – You will undertake your first year as a Trainee Solicitor and be placed in two of our different teams in six month intervals (your first and second seat). You will study alongside your work and complete your SQE1 exam towards the end of the year.
  • Year 3 – Subject to you passing your SQE1, you will progress into your second year of our Training Programme and gain experience in two more teams, again in six month intervals (your third and fourth seat). You will study alongside your work and complete your SQE2 exam.

During years two and three the firm will pay for you to attend a preparation course before taking each of the SQE1 and SQE2 exams, along with also paying for your first attempt at these exams. In addition you are likely to receive paid study leave.

At the end of this three-year Training Programme and subject to you passing your SQE exams, you will qualify as a Solicitor.

Our Graduate Programme, via the LPC Route

If you have already completed your LPC then you can proceed straight to becoming a Trainee Solicitor, which will equate to a two year Training Programme. During this two year period you will undertake four different seats in six month intervals and will qualify as a Solicitor at the end of the two years. You will not need to complete SQE1 or SQE2.

“We understand the pressure involved when deciding where you want to start your legal career, but believe it is a very exciting opportunity for University Graduates with the launch of our new 3 year Graduate Trainee Programmes. As a firm, we are very passionate about our Training Programme and will support you throughout every step of your legal journey. We genuinely want you to succeed in your career and to also enjoy yourself whilst working towards that ultimate achievement.”

– Victoria Jarmolkiewicz, Senior Associate

What we look for in a Trainee Solicitor

To apply for either Training Programme route, you will either be an undergraduate or graduate. Your degree need not be in law – we welcome applicants from all degree disciplines and universities.

We’re looking for you to stand out from others – be that with your work experience, your achievements (academic, sports or arts), the skills and qualifications you’ve gained so far, or your commercial acumen.

We want to know you’re passionate about the law and we also want to know you’re passionate about joining Steele Raymond. There really is no excuse not to undertake your research on the firm. It will show if you have and it will show if you haven’t!

“I am often asked what makes an application for a training contract stand out. For me, the applicants who demonstrate exceptional personal achievement and have a good awareness of the firm are more likely to succeed.”

– Shaun Guppy, Training Principal

Our application process and important dates

Our applications for September 2024 and 2025 are now closed. We will update this page when we open applications for September 2026.

We will ensure all applications for our training programme will be considered without discrimination against any person on the basis of race, colour, religion, disability, nationality, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or marital status.

Common questions

Do you offer a summer vacation scheme, or work experience?

More information can be found about our summer vacation scheme and the work experience we offer here.

What is the firm’s position regarding allowing qualifying work experience with another firm to count towards time to count?

Generally no other qualifying work experience will be considered by the firm. We require that a period of two years qualifying work experience is undertaken within Steele Raymond alongside, where relevant, studying for and taking SQE exams.

If I already know the area of law I would like to qualify in, will I have to rotate around teams, and undertake different seats?

Yes, you will. While, with the introduction of SQE, the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) no longer have a specific requirement for seats to be undertaken, we believe having rounded experience will support your development and give you a wider foundation of knowledge, which later in your career will likely prove invaluable. We often find too that trainees join us thinking they will prefer one area of law, based on either what they studied at university, or what they’ve heard from others. They often then realise the practical application of law varies greatly from the theory, and often what they think they will really like differs from what they actually do enjoy.


Meet the rest of the team

Newly qualified solicitor Zaeem Mughal reflects on his time as a Steele Raymond trainee

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