Addleshaw Goddard LLP - True Picture

With a flurry of new offices opening in recent years, “being part of a growing business was appealing” for trainees in Addleshaw Goddard’s national network.

Addleshaw Goddard training contract review 2024

The Firm

“If I didn’t get the training contract, I would have reapplied!” From London to the North West and up into Scotland, trainees were hyped about working at Addleshaw Goddard. “I was looking for expertise in the sectors I was interested in, such as transport and tech, as well as international expertise,” said one interviewee. But for another, “I wanted to work for the biggest national firm in the regions.” International, national and a presence in the regions? This mix of appeal factors actually goes some way to capturing the firm’s identity: a national firm with international reach.

Overseas, the firm has ten offices covering Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia. From trainees’ point of view, it was clear that “Addleshaw Goddard has expanded in recent years, and being part of a growing business was appealing.” Even in the last five years, the firm has opened six new offices: Hamburg in 2020, Paris in 2021, followed by Dublin, Frankfurt, Munich, and Luxembourg in 2022.

Closer to home, the firm has six offices in the UK, with bases in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Of the annual intake of between 60 and 65 trainees, London takes the biggest chunk of newbies – about 20 a year. Manchester and Leeds both hire around 12 apiece, with 11 more in Scotland.

With all of these locations, the firm has plenty of Chambers UK rankings to its name up and down the country. On a national level, Addleshaw Goddard’s work in areas such as social housing finance, consumer finance, retail, and public procurement was ranked top. In the North West, practices like banking & finance, litigation, IT, real estate, restructuring and tax get five stars. It’s very strong in London for construction and mid-market corporate/M&A, while the Scottish practice stands out in data protection. “The firm has a reputation for giving trainees actual good work to sink their teeth into,” a trainee remarked. “You are not a paper pusher.”

“The values at Addleshaw Goddard spoke to me.”

Outside getting stuck into the good stuff, pretty much all of the trainees we spoke to highlighted the firm’s culture as a massive pull factor, across offices. “Initially, I was applying to as many firms as possible, but at the assessment centre, I talked to people who worked here and that solidified my decision,” said one. “The values at Addleshaw Goddard spoke to me.” Another agreed that “they seemed like inclusive employers and good for women entering the industry.” See the Trainee Life section below for more detail on the firm’s D&I efforts.

TRAINEE DIARIES: Ever wondered what a trainee's week looks like? Wonder no more. You can read about a week in the life of trainees at Addleshaw Goddard here.

The Seats

With four seats lasting six months each, trainees rank five preferences, and the early careers team does the seat allocation. Unlike some other firms of this size that are out there, “the selection is not algorithm-based,” sources clarified. “It’s a human process.” Addleshaw Goddard also offers international secondments in Singapore, Qatar, Paris and Oman, as well as client secondments here in the UK.

“Helping start-ups draft documents with data protection elements.”

With matters worth millions of pounds, the infrastructure, project and energy seat focuses on project finance, renewable energy, oil and gas and, (surprise, surprise) infrastructure. The department also works on corporate and real estate finance deals, so trainees may find themselves working on finance-esque tasks such as managing conditions precedent checklists and signing procedures. “Trainees conduct research, sit in client calls, take notes and review contracts,” one summarised. Just a note – the projects differ slightly depending on the office: Scotland is pretty involved in renewable energy projects, while Leeds and Manchester primarily focus on transportation initiatives. London, on the other hand, is actively engaged in the development of public infrastructure. For example, the firm advised the Department for Transport on multimillion-pound National Rail Contracts, from their initial development to their roll-out to operators. The team also advised on the airport expansion programme at London’s Luton Airport.

Trainees in the commercial practice get exposed to the negotiations behind commercial agreements in transactions, like outsourcing, as well as general commercial advice. There is a focus on privacy here, with one telling us they were kept busy “helping start-ups draft documents with data protection elements.” They also conducted due diligence, drafted terms and conditions, and prepped material for client events and presentations. In this vein, there was a “big focus on training and helping with events, like prepping material for client events and presentations.” Trainees were also called on to research and write articles: “There is a focus on getting the team’s and my name out there through writing articles for external publications.” In addition, trainees do lots of work with the corporate department. The department is currently advising on some interesting joint ventures (JV), such as Volkswagen’s JV with Ford, which relates to commercial vehicles, and ten high street banks, such as Barclays and HSBC, that are planning to launch Cash Access UK, which will allow customers to access banking services from shared hubs.

“It was a lot of drafting court documents and reviewing litigation strategy.”

Over in financial litigation, Addleshaw Goddard represents large banks and asset finance providers in their disputes – the seat is actually split between the two and trainees will see work in both streams. Trainees reported drafting claim forms, attending court and creating bundles. In the crypto space, the firm acted for the co-founder of Bitstamp (a cryptocurrency exchange), and his company, White Whale Capital, in a shareholder dispute against a South Korean private equity holding company. It also represented financial company Kroll as the administrators of Arena following the collapse of the events company in 2021, with losses of more than £280 million owed to more than 50 lenders. “I assisted with larger cases,” one rookie told us, “but I also ran my own cases under supervision. It was a lot of drafting court documents and reviewing litigation strategy.” Depending on which stage a case is at, trainees might get to attend court and be “part of mediation processes as well.”

A stint in the restructuring department gave trainees good insight into all things involving insolvency and strategic company structures. The advisory seat is split into real estate and finance, allowing trainees to be involved in the property aspects of large financial transactions, or help companies in the process of winding down. “We assist a range of different clients in their distressed situations,” a trainee said. “We act for banks that have defaulted on loans, or asset finance providers with customers who haven’t paid what they owe. We also help with applications for liquidation.” The team here recently advised investment service Cyrus Capital in connection with the administration of the airline flybe in 2023. Trainees put together court bundles and witness statements, filled in administration forms, conducted due diligence, maintained checklists, and chased documents. As they built up their responsibility, some also had a hand in negotiating contracts and dealing with opposing counsel.  It helps that the firm has “good relationships with bigger insolvency practitioners and does lots of work with them.”

Trainee Life

Culture is the winning aspect!” one NQ solicitor declared. “It is one of the reasons I decided to qualify here.” What’s the winning formula, then? For a trainee in Leeds, “there’s a big focus on everyone working together. I have never found any issues going to senior partners. They are keen to work with us!” Similarly up in Edinburgh, “partners say that the only difference between trainees and them is experience.”

“… looking forward to moving to Bank because it’s more central.”

The national network of offices is one thing that defines Addleshaw Goddard. “Some departments have strong cross-office working relationships, such as tax and restructuring,” we heard, with one elaborating: “We have really close relationships with other offices – I work with the London team every single day!”

Helpfully, the Leeds office is “near the train station and that makes it easy to work cross-office,” should they ever need to hop on the train.But the biggest shout-out from the Leeds lot went to the great canteen with subsidised food and “amazing staff.” London trainees were “looking forward to moving to Bank because it’s more central.” The move is scheduled for 2024.

“It smells like a spa…”

On the social side of things, the Glasgow contingent also enjoyed Burns Night in January: “There’s someone playing bagpipes, haggis to go around, and trainees making speeches – everyone comes along.” Trainees described special celebrations such as annual summer parties with a band, karaoke and street food trucks. One trainee who likes to read told us that “my office has a book club and I am going to join.” Monthly socials also happen throughout the year, like axe-throwing, golfing, and Eid events with volunteers to talk about Ramadan.

When talking about diversity, a trainee felt that “it’s common now that DE&I is a big aspect at law firms, but Addleshaw Goddard puts their money where their mouth is.” One example of this is the array of networks at the firm, such as OpenAGfor LGBTQ+ people, the Ability Forum Networkfor those with disabilities, AG Embrace for race and ethnicity, and the Vine network for gender balance. In the Leeds and Manchester offices, “the firm has revamped our contemplation rooms for praying or taking time to breathe, and it smells like a spa,” a pleased trainee said.

In terms of remote working, the majority of offices set two or three office days for trainees, but they can come in more days if they so desire. “My supervisor comes in every day,” said one trainee. "I know what she does on a daily basis, and she knows what I do.” For the most part, trainees work from 9am until 6 or 7pm, with one pointing out that, “as we are not magic or silver circle, we don’t have the pressure” trainees at some City players might experience with hours. There are a few exceptions, of course, like “if there are different jurisdictions involved in a deal or right before a deadline.”

Numerous trainees also indicated that they were satisfied with the compensation, with our sources down in the Big Smoke agreeing that “it’s competitive in London.” However, the Scottish trainees noted that they are on a lower salary than the regional offices in England. “The real frustration is that Edinburgh is more expensive than places like Leeds, but we still get paid less,” a trainee grumbled.

Training sessions at Addleshaw Goddard are led by associates and partners, and there are regular knowledge sharing sessions in some seats, like financial regulation. “There is always something going on, so we have lots of training,” a trainee outlined. “Every single day we have a knowledge scrum – a 15-minute Teams call with information about the latest things happening.” Formally, trainees have mid-seat and end of seat reviews with their supervisors.

Finally, trainees looking to qualify at the firm submit an application pack. “This is a CV summarising all the work trainees have done, collated with all the feedback they have received." They then put down their preferences for which departments they wish to join, and then that’s all the hard work done as far as they’re concerned – no interviews. Partners ultimately make the final decisions on who they want to join their teams. In 2023, the firm kept on 45 of 54 qualifiers.

To the dressing up box!

The firm partners with Street Law, whereby lawyers go into school and talk to students about being a lawyer. “You do mock trials and take mini wigs with you!”

Get hired at Addleshaw Goddard 

  • Vacation scheme deadline (2024): 4 January 2024 
  • Training contract deadline (2026): 31 July 2024 


Each year the firm receives around 4,000 vacation scheme and direct training contract applications combined. At the initial application stage, an HR source tells us, the firm looks at (amongst other things) “commitment to the firm and the passion to pursue commercial law as a career.” The firm chooses vac schemers directly from their application forms. Those who pass the initial sift are invited to a preliminary voice interview. Successful applicants are invited to one of several assessment centres. 

The assessment centres include a partner interview, a group exercise, a technical assessment and a proof-reading exercise. A current trainee had this to say of the day: “I hadn’t been in an office environment before, but I didn’t feel any undue pressure. Everyone was pretty relaxed and approachable throughout.” From here, training contract offers are made for applicants via this route. 

The vac scheme 

The firm runs summer vacation schemes in each of its UK offices (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester). The Glasgow, Edinburgh and London office also offer an Easter scheme. The Easter scheme lasts for one week and each of the summer schemes lasts two weeks. There are around 90 places available in total. Students are allocated to a different department for each week and usually asked for preferences beforehand. 

Former attendees praised the vac scheme as “an excellent opportunity to experience real, unsanitised work,” with one even telling us their experience was “pretty much representative of the kind of work I do now as a trainee. For example, I got to take a crack at the first draft of a witness statement, alongside bits and bobs of admin.” Our sources' advice for impressing? “Relax a bit, show your personality, and don't be afraid to go speak to as many people as possible, at all levels.” Social activities include dinners as well as outings like pizza-making classes or crazy golf. 

Attending a vac scheme automatically includes an application for the training contract. The firm makes its offers directly off the back of a candidate's performance on the vac scheme. 

Trainee profile 

Sources agreed that being “personable, approachable and collaborative” are crucial qualities for prospective trainees. Our HR source emphasises that “candidates need to link their passion for law with why they want to work at this firm over others,” adding that “those who are unprepared certainly don't impress.” Indeed, as one solicitor involved in recruitment remarked: “It's weird when people haven't really researched the firm. They sometimes don't know that we have multiple offices or the kind of matters we work on. The difference is evident between those who have done masses of applications and those who've really concentrated on a few.” 

In addition to its activities at Russell and non-Russell Group universities, AG holds several open days and attends several law fairs (virtual and in person) to meet and greet potential applicants.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP

Milton Gate,
60 Chiswell Street,

3 Sovereign Square,
Sovereign Street,

One St Peter's Square,
M2 3DE

Firm profile

The problems our clients bring us vary. But we solve them with the same, single-minded focus. We always ask: ‘What’s the smartest route to the biggest impact?’ With over 1,500 lawyers based across the globe, we have a deep understanding of our markets and sectors. We have 17 offices worldwide, which we link together with a network of like-minded global partners. Where we don't have offices, we work with firms well known to us, to deliver an international capability.

Each year, over 2,500 leading companies and finance players around the world trust us to deliver. We help them in multiple industries and in over 100 countries. Not just once, but again and again. Many of our 48 FTSE100 clients have been with us for more than 20 years: one for 150. Tomorrow’s problems won’t be solved with yesterday’s answers. And, we believe that good business demands good legal advice. Which, ultimately, comes down to just four words. Yes. No. Stop. Go. Join us if you want to be part of a team that delivers that clarity, imagination and impact.

Main areas of work

We act for clients whatever the scale of their requirements. We have been instructed by over 48 FTSE 100 companies in the last 2 years, including Associated British Foods, SSE, GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC and British Land. Our business is about strong client relationships built on successful delivery across national and international markets. Equally important is strong loyalty which is proven through 75% of our clients who have been with us for more than 10 years.

The range and scale of our work is compelling, and encompasses high value strategic advice to the everyday. It means we are able to attract talented, like-minded individuals who love what they do, are committed to our clients success, and strive to build valued partnerships through our collective energy and expertise.

Who should apply

We require a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent). But what will really open doors to an outstanding career here is the real you. At Addleshaw Goddard, we’re looking for original minds and collaborative spirits alongside motivation, drive and commercial awareness. We’re constantly delighted by the diverse backgrounds of our best lawyers, and we’re open to law and non-law graduates alike, as well as those looking to change career.

Training opportunities

We are more than just exceptional lawyers here. We attract sparkling people from all backgrounds, who bring their own unique qualities, along with a collaborative approach, professional drive and a commitment to every client’s success. This is just one of the reasons we’re sure you will enjoy working with us.

As a trainee, important cases will come your way from the get-go. You will work on everything from multi-million-pound deals to high-profile fraud cases, employment disputes to complex technology contracts. Our success is intrinsically linked to yours, so we’ll always have your back and help you realise your potential.

Training contracts are four seats long, with opportunities to spend time in another of our offices as well as on secondment with clients. During each six-month seat, you will have regular two-way performance reviews with your supervising partner or solicitor. They will help you develop the skills you need to deal with the demanding work you will come across every day.

As well as learning on the job, you will also have access to high-quality in-house and external training, a buddy scheme in your first seat, and a mentor throughout your training contract and beyond.

The best advocates of our graduate careers are the trainees themselves. See what some of them have to say about life at Addleshaw Goddard.

Training contract applications open on 1 April 2024 and close on 31 July 2024.

Work placements

We offer week-long Easter work placements in Edinburgh and London, and two-week summer work placements in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester. And because everyone is an individual, we make sure each placement is a valuable experience for each individual student.

While you are here, you will get to know the everyday life of an Addleshaw Goddard trainee. You will be allocated a department to sit in and, if you are part of the summer scheme, will swap into a new department in your second week. You will be supervised by an experienced solicitor, who will welcome you to the department and allocate work. A trainee buddy will be on hand to help throughout your placement.

This is a scheme as unique as you are. As well as informative sessions, group exercises, assessed work and plenty of time at your desk, you will attend social events with a range of people across the office. It’s a real chance to get to know our people and our culture. We offer training contracts to successful placement scheme students, so we’d encourage you to apply.

Vacation scheme applications open on 10 October 2022 and close on 5 January 2023.

Legal Apprenticeship Scheme

There’s no blueprint for bright. In fact, the opposite is true. That’s why we offer an alternative path into law for those who do not wish to go down the traditional university route.

Our Legal Apprenticeship Scheme, developed in Manchester and Leeds, is at the forefront of apprenticeships in the legal profession.

We have been recognised by the AllAboutGroup as a Top 100 Employer for School Leavers.

For more information and application details please visit our website.

SQE and Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeships

The changes brought in by the SQE have meant that there is more flexibility around the way trainees can quality as solicitors and we are now able to offer more than one route to qualification. From 2025, our trainees can opt to qualify via the Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship or via the traditional training contract.

Training contract route

The training contract will continue in its current structure. There will be 4 seats each for a duration of 6 months and our March and September intakes will remain. Our first SQE intake of trainees will commence in September 2024. Any future trainees who have the LPC will not be required to undertake the SQE. For those needing the SQE, we will require them to pass SQE 1 and 2 assessments prior to commencing their training contract. This will be undertaken at BPP in the year prior to starting their training contract (e.g. September 2024 for September 2025 training contract start). It will be funded by AG and future trainees will be given maintenance grants during their year of study.

Those who have qualifying work experience are able to use this to shorten the length of their training contract, though the maximum time we permit a training contract to be shortened by is 12 months.

Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship route: 

The duration of the apprenticeship will be 36 months. In year 1 apprentices will study and in years 2 and 3 will undertake their training contract. Apprentices will be employed by the firm from day 1 of their apprenticeship. The firm will sponsor apprentices through the SQE and they will be paid a salary during their period of study. During the training contract apprentices will undertake four seats each for a duration of 6 months, the same as our trainees. Apprentices will qualify at the same time as their cohort who will be on the training contract route.

Diversity at Addleshaw Goddard

We have created a high-performance culture that is inclusive, supportive and which thrives on individuality, personality and team spirit. We expect the best of each other and we want everyone to succeed, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, religious practice or any other perceived difference.

Our diversity programme is represented at the most senior level of our business by our board sponsors. It is run by a dedicated Inclusion team, Inclusion partners, Inclusion network leads, divisional and department champions and volunteers from across the business. We have organised our approach around five key strands of diversity focusing on: disability, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+ and social mobility, and we also provide comprehensive support for parents and carers and run an ongoing mental health and wellbeing awareness campaigns. In addition, we also have our people networks that not only support and help inform our inclusion strategy but also provide an opportunity for people to learn more about specific subject matter, network and share their lived experience.

This Firm's Rankings in
UK Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Banking & Finance: Lenders: Mid-Market (Band 3)
    • Commercial and Corporate Litigation (Band 3)
    • Competition Law (Band 3)
    • Construction: Contentious (Band 2)
    • Construction: Non-contentious (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: £100-800 million (Band 2)
    • Employment: Employer (Band 3)
    • Financial Crime: Corporates (Band 3)
    • Information Technology & Outsourcing (Band 4)
    • Planning (Band 4)
    • Real Estate Litigation (Band 3)
    • Real Estate: £150 million and above (Band 3)
    • Restructuring/Insolvency (Band 4)
    • Pensions (Band 1)
    • Professional Negligence (Band 2)
    • Real Estate Litigation (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: £25 million and above (Band 1)
    • Employment (Band 1)
    • Information Technology (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Litigation (Band 1)
    • Planning (Band 3)
    • Real Estate Litigation (Band 1)
    • Real Estate: £10 million and above (Band 1)
    • Restructuring/Insolvency (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Banking Litigation (Band 2)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
    • Data Protection & Information Law (Band 1)
    • Employment (Band 4)
    • Energy & Natural Resources: Renewables & Alternative Energy (Band 3)
    • Information Technology & Outsourcing (Band 2)
    • Litigation (Band 2)
    • Planning (Band 3)
    • Real Estate Litigation (Band 3)
    • Real Estate: £10 million and above (Band 1)
    • Restructuring/Insolvency (Band 1)
    • Shipping (Band 2)
    • Social Housing (Band 3)
    • Sport (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Asset Finance: Rail Finance (Band 3)
    • Banking Litigation (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: AIM (Band 3)
    • Commercial Contracts (Band 2)
    • Consumer Finance (Band 1)
    • Defamation/Reputation Management (Band 4)
    • Employee Share Schemes & Incentives (Band 4)
    • Energy & Natural Resources: Renewables & Alternative Energy (Band 3)
    • Financial Services: Non-contentious Regulatory (Band 4)
    • Financial Services: Payments Law (Band 2)
    • Fraud: Civil (Band 4)
    • Health & Safety (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Hotels & Leisure (Band 3)
    • Infrastructure: PFI/PPP (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Mainly Policyholders (Band 3)
    • International Arbitration: Highly Regarded Spotlight
    • Local Government (Band 3)
    • Partnership (Band 1)
    • Partnership: Large International Structures Spotlight
    • Private Equity: Buyouts: Up to £500 million (Band 2)
    • Product Liability: Mainly Defendant (Band 2)
    • Projects: PFI/PPP (Band 4)
    • Public Inquiries (Band 2)
    • Public Procurement (Band 1)
    • Real Estate Finance (Band 3)
    • Retail (Band 1)
    • Retail: Corporate & Competition (Band 2)
    • Social Housing: Finance (Band 1)
    • Transport: Rail: Franchising (Band 2)
    • Transport: Rail: Projects & Infrastructure (Band 2)
    • Transport: Rail: Rolling Stock (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: £25 million and above (Band 1)
    • Information Technology (Band 1)
    • Litigation (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Restructuring/Insolvency (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Employment (Band 2)