Vacation schemes

If I don't do a vacation scheme with Norton Rose Fulbright, can I still apply for a training contract?

You can. We welcome applications from those who haven’t applied for a vacation scheme and also from those who did apply, but weren’t invited to an assessment day. But if you are reapplying, we expect you to have critically reviewed your application and made some updates to the content.

If we invited you to a vacation scheme assessment day, but you were unsuccessful at that stage, you can still apply for a training contract. However, we suggest you ask for feedback from the graduate recruitment team who were at the assessment day; and also that you wait 12 months from the date of your original application before reapplying.

When can I apply?

Winter vacation scheme: apply from 14 September to 1 November 2020. Assessment days will be in November 2020.

Spring vacation scheme: apply from 5 October 2020 to 22 November 2020. Assessment days will be in January 2021. 

Summer vacation schemes: apply from 16 November 2020 to 17 January 2021. Assessment days will be in January and February 2021.

Who can apply?

Winter vacation scheme: law and non-law finalists and graduates.

Summer vacation schemes: penultimate- year law undergraduates

If you’re studying for the two-year LLB, you can apply for the summer vacation schemes in your first year and final year, or the winter vacation scheme in your final year. Please include a breakdown of all the academic results from your previous undergraduate degree on your application form.

If you’re taking a four-year degree where your third year is abroad, you should apply for a summer vacation scheme in your third year.

Applications and assessment

Do you review applications on a rolling basis and when will I know the outcome of my application?

We’ll email you straight away to let you know we’ve received your application. We screen all applications on a rolling basis, however there may be a short delay before we invite you to an assessment day . If your circumstances change, please email the team on graduate.recruitment@nortonrosefulbright.com . Unfortunately we can’t update your application with academics or work experience once you’ve submitted it.

I’m in my second year of a four-year course - can I apply?

No, but you can apply for our  First Step programme.

You’ll need to wait until you’re in your penultimate year or beyond before you can apply for a spring, summer or winter vacation scheme, or the training contract.

I’m in my first year. Can I apply?

No, but you can apply for First Step: a week-long programme exclusively for first-year undergraduates. The scheme is a week long and takes place: 19 – 23 July 2021

Find our more on the First step page

You’ll need to wait until you’re in your penultimate year or beyond before you can apply for a spring, summer or winter vacation scheme, or the training contract.

Can I have feedback on my application?

Unfortunately, because we get so many applications, we can’t offer individual feedback on application forms. 

What does the assessment day include?

We hold assessment days for potential vacation scheme students and trainee solicitors. The assessment days vary slightly depending on the programme you’re applying for, though you can expect:

  • a welcome by the trainee recruitment team
  • an interview with two senior members of the practice
  • a written exercise to assess how you interpret and relay information
  • a negotiation exercise, assessed as part of a group so that we can see how you work in a team (training contract assessment only)
  • lunch with our current trainee solicitors and a guided tour of the office

Find out how to prepare on the Application advice page.

As well as lots of enthusiasm, you’ll need to bring:

  • your passport and any accompanying visas
  • receipts for travel
  • original certificates to confirm your academic achievements to date (e.g. school, university, Law School, as applicable)

How do I complete the application form if I didn’t study in the UK?

Please enter your grades on the application form as they were awarded to you at school and/or university. You don’t need to convert them into the UK equivalent, but please do include as much detail as possible.

My academic performance was affected by personal circumstances. Will you take these into account?

Yes. Include relevant details on your application form or, if you prefer, send a confidential email to graduate.recruitment@nortonrosefulbright.com

I need a work permit - will that be a problem?

Although we can’t guarantee it, we may be able to sponsor you to work in the UK. Please speak to us about this if we offer you a position.

If I’ve been unsuccessful at interview, can I reapply?

If you’ve taken part in an assessment day and were unsuccessful, please wait 12 months from the date of your original application before reapplying. However, if you were unsuccessful at the application stage you can apply for another vacancy, within the same calendar year.

Law school

What legal qualifications will I study before beginning my training contract?

Currently in England and Wales, all trainee lawyers with a law degree take the Legal Practice Course (LPC); while those with a non-law degree study for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This will change from 2021 with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) which everyone will take. However, if you start a law degree, LPC or GDL before September 2021, you’ll still be able to qualify via the traditional route with our full support.

Do you mind where I study the GDL?

If you’re a non-law candidate and accept a training contract before starting law school to study the GDL, you’ll need to study at one of the following BPP locations:

  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Leeds Whitehall Quay
  • Liverpool
  • London Waterloo
  • Manchester St James's Building

If there are extenuating circumstances that could affect where you can study the GDL we’ll discuss them with you when you accept our offer.

Do you choose where I study the LPC?

Yes. As one of our future trainees, you’ll need to take the accelerated LPC at BPP University in London to prepare you for practice in the City. Along with other leading law firms, we’ve worked with BPP London to develop an enhanced and accelerated LPC course that’s specifically tailored to the needs of City firms. The course meets standards approved by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority and runs for seven and a half months. Each student receives intensive guidance through face-to-face teaching and the course is designed to motivate from beginning to end. There are intakes in February and August, with a period of self-study that you must complete before you start.

Throughout the course, you’ll benefit from access to the Norton Rose Fulbright office, as well as from presentations and social events that help you learn more about us. This will complement the knowledge you gain on the LPC while helping you make the transition from student to trainee solicitor.

Will you support me financially through Law School?

Yes, we’ll support you financially whether you’re studying for your GDL or LPC. We pay course fees and a maintenance grant to successful training contract applicants. We don’t, however, offer retrospective funding to students who have already started or completed the GDL or LPC before accepting an offer from us.

What about the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme?

If you’ve qualified as a lawyer outside of England and Wales and are looking to train with us, you may not need to do the LPC in order to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. You may be able to re-qualify under the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS). In this case, you’d complete a period of training rather than a training contract.

Although the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) doesn’t require you to have any formal post-qualification experience in order to re-qualify, we ask all QLTS Trainees to complete at least 18 months' training, as we believe this is the minimum time needed to gain an adequate overview of the firm and experience in a number of practice areas before qualifying.

We’ll pay for all necessary QLTS examinations and training. Find out more on the SRA website.

The training contract

Can I defer my training contract start date?

We consider requests case-by-case but, usually, we’re happy to defer your start date for six or twelve months. You can discuss your preferences at interview or when we make you an offer. Alternatively, contact our graduate recruitment team.

How many trainees do you retain on qualification?

When we hire you, we’re making an investment and we aim to retain a high proportion of our trainees as associates.

Diversity & inclusion

I have a disability and need the application form in an alternative format. Can you provide this?

Yes, we can. Please email graduate.recruitment@nortonrosefulbright.com as soon as you can to give us details of the format you need.

What should I do if I need reasonable adjustments for the recruitment process because of a disability?

We’ll work with you to make any reasonable adjustments you need. Please email graduate.recruitment@nortonrosefulbright.com or call us on 020 744 4213 to let us know what they are.

I’m worried that if I tell you about my disability this will be seen negatively. I’ve had a bad experience in the past and feel it’s ‘safer’ not to disclose my disability.

We’re positive about employing disabled people and are an accredited Disability Confident Employer. We also operate the Guaranteed Interview Scheme if you meet our minimum criteria. Remember, we take a range of competencies, achievements and skills into account when making decisions on candidates and don’t rely solely on academic results.