Trainee opportunities

The application window is now open for September 2023 SQE starters

The deadline for applications is 31 March 2022.

In total, we are looking to recruit 4 SQE trainee solicitors in this recruitment round.

SQE training at Sharpe Pritchard: Timetable and Funding

Sharpe Pritchard offers a fully funded 32 month graduate apprenticeship for its SQE trainee solicitors. As a Sharpe Pritchard trainee solicitor, you will start with us in September 2023, studying the SQE1 preparation course with BPP. After taking the SQE1 exam, you will start your two year Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) at the firm in May 2024. You will receive a salary throughout and all course fees will be paid for.

Our graduate apprenticeship replaces the traditional training contract route.

Training at Sharpe Pritchard

Training at Sharpe Pritchard is much more than a rotation around departments. As a Sharpe Pritchard trainee solicitor, you will start your QWE with a bespoke training induction. Over a four week period, you will not only have an opportunity to get to know your fellow trainees but you will also receive an introduction to the firm, learning about how we work and about our core legal practice areas and disciplines, particularly in some of our specialist areas which are not covered fully in the GDL, LPC or SQE. This tailored programme will ensure that you are able to hit the ground running in your first seat.

We aim to provide legal experience in all core areas of our practice: commercial contracts and procurement, dispute resolution (including judicial review), employment, planning and parliamentary, real estate, construction, infrastructure and ICT and data. Trainee solicitors usually experience four seats at the firm and are given the opportunity to express preferences throughout, which are given serious consideration by the partners when deciding seat changes.

Our trainee solicitors are often given the opportunity to go on secondment with clients, usually for part of the working week. This gives invaluable exposure to and experience of our client organisations which include central government, NHS trusts and local authorities.

Firm description

We are a leading firm working across the UK. We have a national reputation for our work for public sector bodies and for private sector clients who need advice on public law issues.

A significant number of the firm’s partners and departments are highly ranked in Chambers and Legal 500 as leading experts in their fields. A great deal of the work we do has a high public profile and is of high value and our clients include central government departments, local authorities and local authority companies, non-departmental public bodies, charities and commercial clients.

The largest proportion of the firm’s work is in non-contentious commercial work, including procurement. This includes work in ICT, infrastructure, outsourcing, construction, health, education and general public authority contracts.

Our real estate team deals with a range of property transactions and high-profile redevelopment work, including compulsory purchase.

Our dispute resolution team deals with all types of claims, including construction disputes, procurement challenges, housing and other general litigation. We have a nationally recognised judicial review and statutory appeals practice, frequently appearing in the higher courts together with a thriving employment practice.

Our planning team undertakes work mainly for planning authorities, often involving complex major schemes, and our parliamentary team works with the planning and real estate teams on infrastructure authorisation projects and advising on legislation and procedure.

Career progression

We have exceptional retention rates for our trainee solicitors and very good retention rates generally, with a number of our partners having trained at the firm.

We are committed to ongoing professional development. All our solicitors are on a career development framework which provides transparency to our career structure (solicitor to associate to senior associate to legal director or salaried partner).

Our culture

We believe the best organisations are those that listen to their employees from across the business. There are regular staff briefings to keep staff up to date on key developments within the company, supported by monthly newsletters and we actively respond to firm-wide engagement surveys. We have an active social and CSR committee who put on social and charity events across the year.

We offer meaningful flexible work with the ability to work from home and offer meaningful work/life balance.


We have a Wellbeing Leadership Group with members from across the firm. Members include our Senior Partner, Chief Operating Officer, as well as other partners, trainee solicitors and business support. The Group’s purpose is to promote and champion positive mental health and wellbeing within the firm. One of the group’s first responsibilities is to drive the implementation of the Mindful Business Charter at the firm.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

It is central to our values that our teams reflect the diverse community around us and that everyone at Sharpe Pritchard can be themselves and bring their authentic selves to work.

We are proud that the firm has a long history of gender equality at every level in the firm and that we buck the trend within professional services in having achieved gender balance in partnership for a number of years but we want to do even better. Achieving true equality, diversity and inclusion is a core aim at Sharpe Pritchard and we very much welcome applications from all sections of our diverse community, irrespective of race or racial group, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, religion or belief, age or disability.

Salary and benefits

Our generous salary and benefits package includes but is not limited to;

  • Our starting salary is £20,000 per annum for the duration of the SQE apprenticeship block learning (September 2023 – April 2024)
  • Our starting salary is £34,000 per annum for year 1 of your QWE (May 2024 – May 2026), rising to £35,000 for year 2.
  • 28 days holiday
  • Private pension
  • Life assurance
  • Income protection
  • Private medical insurance
  • Smart health
  • Health and wellbeing app
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Season ticket travel loans
  • Flexible hybrid working

About you

You must be bright, and an effective communicator with good negotiation skills. You will have the ability to work independently as well as in a team and you will have good decision making and organisation skills. You will have demonstrable research, analytical and drafting skills. You must have a genuine, demonstrable interest in public sector work.

Applicants need to either be a law graduate or have completed the conversion course/post graduate diploma in Law prior to joining us and enrolling for the SQE1 course.

You can find the full job description here

Application details and method of selection

Applications should be made through the allhires portal here

The deadline for applications is the 31 March 2022.

The recruitment process consists of three stages:

Stage 1 – Application form review.

Applications are initially reviewed against objective criteria by HR and Partners.

Stage 2 – Watson Glaser Test.

Long-listed candidates are required to complete a Watson Glaser Test.

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal assesses the individual’s capability for critical thinking – a discrete skill distinct from, but not independent of, overall intelligence. It is available online and contains 40 items drawn from an item banked and candidates have a maximum of 30 minutes to complete the test.

You can find some top tips for completing the test here

Stage 3 – Interview and written test

Short-listed candidates (approximately 10 candidates) are selected for an interview. Selection is based on the Watson Glaser result and an assessment of the information contained in the application form.

Interviews will be held in May. Two or three partners carry out the interview and there is a short written test.

Trainee insights afternoon

Sharpe Pritchard will be hosting Virtual Insight afternoon on Monday 28 February 2022 at 16.30pm to 18.15pm. It will be an opportunity to learn more about Sharpe Pritchard, our trainee opportunities and gain hints and tips on the recruitment process. The insights session is a pre – application event aimed at students who will be applying in Jan/March 2022 to join us in September 2023 as an SQE Trainee solicitor or to join is in May 2024 via the training contract route.

You can find more information here.