Clyde & Co LLP - True Picture

Want assurance that your training contract will be rooted in insurance? Then check out what’s on offer at this global City player. 

Clyde & Co training contract review 2022

The Firm

“Market-leading sector expertise,” a vast international platform and “heavy litigious focus”  were among the factors that drew trainees to the doors of this prestigious City player. The firm has long been regarded as a leader for everything to do with insurance by Chambers UK, and trainees highlighted opportunities to work “with some major headline-grabbing companies, including some of the largest insurers in the world.”  The firm is held in similarly high regard for its aviation, shipping, and professional negligence teams, which also incorporate a lot of insurance-based work.

“I think it’s a fascinating area of law to work in.”

“I wasn’t interested in corporate transactions,” one trainee made clear, adding that “while it’s fair to say nobody wakes up wanting be an insurance litigation lawyer, I think it’s a fascinating area of law to work in. It’s underpinned by a lot of black letter law, which makes it academically challenging, but you also have to consider the commercial environment your clients operate in.”  This interviewee also highlighted how “the firm has been incredibly busy during the pandemic providing advice to insurers on business interruption clams.”

In our brand new Q&A, we speak to four trainees at Clyde & Co about what it takes to thrive in the exciting world of cross-border law

No surprises then that 2021 represented the firm's 23rd consecutive year of growth, with profits up 7% and revenue rising to £639.6 million. We should add, however, that Clyde & Co also has options for those who are interested in the transactional side of the coin too: on top of its non-contentious insurance capabilities, the firm’s asset finance, infrastructure, projects, commodities, construction and real estate expertise also comes to the fore in Chambers UK.

Those looking to utilise their language skills will find themselves well catered for at Clyde & Co. The firm has a vast network of 53 offices spanning Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia. One source also pointed out that the firm “is one of the few with a significant presence in Africa.”  The vast majority of Clyde’s trainees reside in its London office, with the firm’s bases in Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh each taking on a handful of their own trainees. The firm has a Guildford office too, which focuses on shipping, real estate, projects, and corporate work.

For seat allocation, trainees rank their preferences from one to ten via an app that then uses an algorithm to crunch the numbers. One source noted: “It seems to be a fair way of doing it, and from speaking to associates it seems to be a better system than it was before.” Trainees in Manchester were also happy to report that “the seat options here have really opened up recently. For example, marine and international trade, banking and real estate were reintroduced as seat options – there’s now a real mix.” An ongoing point of frustration was voiced by some London trainees, who took issue with the prospect of having to complete a seat in Guildford. “The way it works is that you have to include Guildford among your seat preferences and are expected to go if assigned,” one trainee explained, adding that “it’s a long commute if you live in East London.” However, those who had gone praised the Guildford office for its culture especially. Another trainee pointed out that “a lot of people split their time between London and Guildford anyway – so it’s a lot more flexible than it seems.”

Listen to our podcast on dispelling the myths of insurance with Clyde & Co here

Insurance-related departments are a likely destination for most, as there's a grand total of 31 insurance seats in London and Manchester at each rotation. Overseas secondments are available to all trainees; spots in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Dubai and Dar es Salaam are up for grabs. These typically require a more formal application, which includes a CV and a one-page letter that puts forward a business case. On occasions when there are more applications than positions available, the firm runs telephone interviews. Client secondments are typically considered to be less competitive and include placements with many of the firm’s clients operating in the insurance sector.

The Work 

Insurance at Clyde & Co incorporates a range of litigious and transactional work. Some of the seat options for trainees include product liability, professional indemnity, corporate insurance, and reinsurance. The firm also offers seats in more specialised areas such as political risk and aviation liability. With regards to the latter, one trainee noted that “if a plane goes down somewhere in the world, you can guarantee Clyde & Co are acting for the insurer of the aircraft.” The seats were well regarded by trainees, who ranked them very highly for the following three metrics in our survey: interesting work; progression of legal skills; and progression of practice area knowledge. Recent matters on the insurance side have involved assisting Skyline Partners in relation to a new weather-related insurance platform that’s being piloted for Indian farmers, as well as representing insurance giant Zurich; here Clyde & Co defended Zurich against claims brought by the oil and gas company Dana Petroleum, which sought an indemnity of approximately £32 million for damage recorded at an oilfield in the North Sea.

Find out more about insurance and reinsurance in our overview of the area with Clyde & Co

Professional indemnity“is one of the firm’s largest groups,” and trainees explained it mainly focuses on liability in the legal and accountancy sectors. It also takes on matters in the engineering, construction, and finance industries. One trainee we spoke to was kept busy on “lots of research tasks that focused on the specifics of our clients’ insurance coverage.” They also highlighted opportunities to draft attendance notes and attend conference calls with counsel. Meanwhile, those in the firm’s corporate insurance seat found their workload had much more of a transactional slant. “A lot of the time it involves assisting clients with merging or helping insurers get set up by guiding them through the application process,” one insider explained, adding that “it’s very hands-on and gives you a chance to get involved in every stage of the transaction.” As well as conducting due diligence, trainees often provided administrative support on various projects and deals. 

“I was able to review the case and put a strategy together…”

Clyde’s marine and international trade department forms part of the firm’s broader global trade and commodities group. Incoming trainees can expect to tackle a mix of contentious and transactional work ranging from commodity trading disputes and financial crime investigations to commercial arbitrations and trade finance deals. Sources confirmed that “the variation in cases is huge.” We spoke to trainees who had done everything from conducting research on the basis of a dispute to drafting initial letters of claim and taking charge of case management. Another added: “I was able to manage some of the smaller cases myself. That included reviewing the case, putting a strategy together, drafting updates to clients, and maintaining correspondence with the other side.” The team recently acted for Nautical Challenge in the immediate aftermath and subsequent litigation following the collision between two vessels near the port of Jebel Ali in the UAE.

The personal injury team tends to represent insurers in defendant-side work. The matters can be highly sensitive, with a trainee explaining that some involve “car accidents where someone has suffered a catastrophic brain injury or accidents at work involving large machinery.” Another underlined that “the team is good at getting you involved in settlement meetings and taking attendance notes.” They added that “often the sums involved are in the millions.” Trainees also gained experience in putting medical evidence together and coordinating the input of experts. The firm also has an industrial disease team that works on the defendant side; cases of mesothelioma are often dealt with here. “As a trainee, I was able to lead on some low-value cases,” an insider told us. “I had the support and guidance of the partner, but I was responsible for running the case day-to-day, which included maintaining correspondence with the other side and coordinating experts.”

“...often the sums involved are in the millions.”

A very different seat is property litigation. “It’s a very busy team, and as a trainee you will be involved in every stage of the litigation,” one interviewee explained. “I have written letters before claim, drafted defences and witness statements, and made applications to court.” They concluded: “It’s the one seat where – due to volume of work – I was given a lot of responsibility and was able to experience every part of litigation.” Recently, the team advised a global electronics company in relation to a dilapidations claim relating to their former industrial premises in Reading. Another department that is “very good at letting you be hands-on" is arbitration. Trainees can get exposed to areas like energy disputes and health and safety issues here, which bestow chances to contribute meaningfully: “I’ve already had conversations about disclosure strategy and provided suggestions.” On the commercial side of arbitration, clients include ScottishPower and insurance company Chubb.

Trainee Life 

Our interviewees were impressed by the firm’s efforts to keep morale high during the pandemic. As one source told us: “I have been involved in lots of trainee socials and had regular catch-ups with supervisors each week – it feels like they want to make sure everyone is enjoying things as much as possible.” Another added: “I would say that among the trainees, we are very tight-knit. We do become great friends and there isn’t a competitive nature between us, which may exist within larger trainee cohorts. There’s no sense of us trying to outdo each other.” Our survey participants also rated the firm highly for its sense of camaraderie, with one respondent stating that “the firm is less old-fashioned than may be expected in an insurance-focused firm.”

However, one source observed that “the firm's culture depends on the department and supervising partners. In my experience, I have found that the smaller teams have an excellent, open, supportive and friendly culture.” They highlighted that “on the other side of the coin is the larger teams, which can feel a bit devoid of camaraderie unless you're in a sub-team.” Similarly, this insider felt that some “partners are more gregarious and open, whereas some are more corporate and rigid, which actually suits you if you want to keep your home and work life separate.”

A cultural hallmark and source of pride was the firm’s climate change group, which was singled out for acclaim in this year’s survey. “It’s a trainee-led initiative,” a source told us, “which focuses on reducing our carbon footprint and looking at what services we can offer to help mitigate the effects of climate change." The group has introduced various climate-related pro bono projects to the firm including a partnership with The Chancery Lane Project – a collaboration of legal professionals that aims to empower businesses and communities in their transition to a net zero world.

By this point you may have seen that the firm’s trainee salaries are slightly less than some of the bumper pay packets dished out by other City competitors. Our interviewees were clear: “We aren’t paid excessive amounts because we aren’t expected to work excessive amounts.” So how much are you expected to work at Clyde & Co? Well, the median hours recorded (within respondents’ previous week) in our survey was 43.5 hours; that’s below a lot of other City firms but still above the standard working week. “I consider a good day to end by 6.30pm at the latest,” one source mused. “A not-as-good day would involve finishing between 7pm and 8pm and a bad day would see you working past 10pm. I would say by-and-large my experience has comprised good and not-as-good weeks hours-wise.” However, some did note more consistently longer hours, with one telling us that “logging off at 8pm would be a good day.” One department they were in had “very long hours and a bit of facetime culture.”

For those who decide the salary/hours trade-off is the right balance, qualification awaits. As the process approaches, “the firm releases an NQ jobs list, from which you can make up to three applications. We put together an application pack that includes a CV and a summary of our appraisals.” Departments then hold interviews for all available positions. However, most of our interviewees were consoled by the firm’s historically solid retention rate. In 2021, Clyde kept on 36 of its 40 qualifiers.

With 53 overseas offices, Clyde & Co has one of the biggest geographic footprints of any firm in our guide.

How to get a Clyde & Co training contract


Vacation scheme deadline (2022):  January 2022

Training contract deadline (2024): Recruit exclusively through Vacation Scheme 2022

Find out more about insurance and reinsurance in our overview of the area with Clyde & Co

First steps

If you're interested in learning more about Clyde & Co, apply for one of the firm's insight days.

Clyde & Co’s insight days, are for both law and non-law students at any stage of their degree and run from October 2021 to March 2022. These days include an overview of the firm, presentations, development workshops, networking opportunities with the current Trainees and plenty of application tips. Each Insight Day will follow a specific focus, whether it be on a practice the firm specialises in, commitment to increasing diverse representation in the profession, or the work we are doing to tackle Climate Change. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Clyde & Co’s Insight Days are taking place virtually.

Clyde & Co also offers a first-year mentoring programme, Bright Futures which will run throughout 2021 and 2022. This is for first year law students and second year non-law students.

Bright Futures is a nine-month programme, including

• A week's work experience, for first year law and penultimate year non-law students.

• Aimed at students from lower socioeconomic status groups

• A first taste of working in commercial law

• Bespoke learning and development sessions to help develop participants skills

• Receive support and mentoring from lawyers and The Early Careers Team

• Network at a variety of social events

• Fast-tracked through to a vacation scheme assessment centre.

The vacation scheme application form

Step behind the scenes of Clyde & Co and experience what a career with us may look like. Clyde & Co attracts around 1,500 applications for its vacation scheme each year and recruits for the training contract (40 – 50 spaces) exclusively through the vacation scheme. The firm highlights it as a useful means of getting to know the Clyde & Co culture.

As part of the application process, candidates are asked to complete a short application form that includes their academics and work experience to date. After this, candidates complete a video interview that allows individuals to demonstrate their motivation for a career in commercial law, their commercial analysis, and what interests they have outside of academia. Our early careers sources explained, “it is important for applicants to highlight any transferable skills gained through work experience and extracurricular activities.”

Listen to our podcast on dispelling the myths of insurance with Clyde & Co here

Vacation scheme route

Clyde & Co offers vacation Schemes during Winter, Spring and Summer (in London, Manchester, Scotland and Dubai). Video interviews and applications are reviewing on a rolling basis, so once applications are screened by the Early Careers Team, successful candidates are invited to an assessment centre day. Candidates undertake a group exercise, a written and discussion exercise and an interview with a member of the Early Careers Team/HR and either an associate, a senior associate or a legal director.

Attendees spend one to two weeks sitting in one of the firm's departments. At the point of offer, vacation schemers rank three preferences detailing where they would like to sit over the two weeks. Trainees mentioned that the first few days “is spent getting to know the ins and outs of the department.” Vacation scheme students are allocated a supervisor, a trainee buddy and an associate mentor. They also have the opportunity to network across the firm as a variety of social events take place; in the past they've included the underground cookery school, go-carting and cocktail making.

Trainee profile

The academic criteria that Clyde & Co sets is AAB at A level, a “strong”  2:1 degree (taking into account mitigating circumstances alongside the Rare contextualised recruitment system), and a commendation for the GDL (if applicable) and LPC. Students should be aware that Clyde & Co takes a holistic approach to applications and it is important to showcase your ambitions to becoming a lawyer.

Clyde & Co LLP

The St. Botolph Building,
138 Houndsditch,

  • Partners 440*
  • Associates: 1,800*
  • Total trainees: 93*
  • UK offices: London, Manchester, Newcastle, Guildford, Leeds, Bristol, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow plus various international offices
  • Overseas offices: 53 offices and associated offices globally
  • *denotes worldwide figures 
  • Contacts  
  • Graduate Team:, 0207 876 5555
  • Training partner: James Major
  • Application criteria 
  • Training contracts pa: 35-45
  • Minimum required degree grade: 2:1 or equivalent
  • Minimum UCAS points: 340
  • Minimum A levels: AAB (mitigating circumstances and Rare contextual recruitment system considered)
  • Vacation scheme places pa: 60
  • Dates and deadlines 
  • Winter Vacation Scheme deadline: 1st November 2021
  • Spring / Summer Vacation Scheme deadline: 2nd January 2021
  • Vacation scheme opens: 27th September 2021
  • Open day deadline: Rolling
  • Salary and benefits 
  • First-year salary: £40,000 (London), £25,500 (Manchester), £21,400 (Scotland) 
  • Second-year salary: £42,000 (London), £28,500 (Manchester), £23,400 (Scotland) 
  • Post-qualification salary: £70,000 (London), Competitive (Manchester), £36,400-£37,500 (Scotland) 
  • Holiday entitlement: 25 days
  • Sponsorship 
  • LPC fees: Yes
  • GDL fees: Yes
  • Maintenance grant pa: £8,000 (London), £7,000 (outside of London)
  • International and regional 
  • Offices with training contracts: London, Manchester, MEA, Glasgow and Edinburgh
  • Overseas seats: Dar es Salaam, Hong Kong, MEA Client secondments: Various, including Deloitte & Willis

Firm profile
Clyde & Co is a leading, sector-focused global law firm with 440 partners, 1800 lawyers, 2500 legal professionals and 4000 staff in over 50 offices and associated offices worldwide. The firm specialises in the sectors that move, build and power our connected world and the insurance that underpins it, namely: transport, infrastructure, energy, trade and commodities and insurance. With a strong focus on developed and emerging markets, the firm has achieved compound average annual revenue growth of 13% over the last ten years, making it one of the fastest growing law firms in the world with ambitious plans for further growth. We view diversity and inclusion as critical to the international nature of our business and have created a working environment where people from different backgrounds can flourish. We run a number of vacation schemes each year, during which students join us to learn about the firm and how the law is applied to our core sectors. We also run Bright Futures – a nine month programme aimed at first year law and second year non law students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds – and insight days during which students join us to gain insight into the culture and work of the firm.

Training opportunities
We recruit for our training contract exclusively through our vacation schemes. We offer training contracts in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The training contract consists of 4x6 month seats. There are no compulsory or guaranteed seats. Seats are chosen on a rolling basis. There are opportunities to second to our clients, our international offices and our Guildford office. We also offer training contracts in MEA. These are 4x6 month seats between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in corporate, employment, construction, IP/commercial and dispute resolution. International secondments to UK offices are available. We also offer training contracts in Hong Kong. International secondments to UK offices available.

Vacation scheme
• Applications open on 27th September 2021 and close on 1st November for our winter scheme, and 2nd January 2022. Applications are screened on a rolling basis so early application advised
• Clyde & Co Bright Futures Programme. 9 months mentoring starting February 2022 with a week of work experience from 11th – 15th June 2022.  Aimed at first year law and second year non-law social mobility students
• Winter Vacation Scheme –06th – 10th December 2021. Aimed at final year undergraduate students onwards
• Spring Vacation Scheme – 04th – 14th April 2022. Aimed at penultimate year undergraduate law students onwards
• Summer Vacation Scheme – 6th – 17th June 2022. Aimed at penultimate year undergraduate law students

Other benefits
Life assurance, private healthcare, cycle to work schemes, gym, dental insurance, pension scheme, restaurant, employee assistant programme, season ticket loans, online benefits, etc.

Insight days and first-year opportunities
We will be running a number of Insight Days throughout 2021 and 2022, and these will take place virtually. These are open to first year university students and upwards. Applications should be made via our website from 27th September 2021. Clyde & Co Bright Futures Programme (1 week). The day includes an overview of the firm, presentations, development workshops, networking opportunities with the current trainees and plenty of application tips.  

This Firm's Rankings in
UK Guide, 2021

Ranked Departments

    • Personal Injury: Mainly Defendant (Band 1)
    • Clinical Negligence: Mainly Defendant (Band 1)
    • Personal Injury: Mainly Defendant (Band 1)
    • Construction: Contentious (Band 3)
    • Construction: Non-contentious (Band 2)
    • Employment: Employer (Band 3)
    • Planning (Band 3)
    • Professional Negligence: Financial (Band 1)
    • Professional Negligence: Insurance (Band 1)
    • Professional Negligence: Legal (Band 1)
    • Professional Negligence: Technology & Construction (Band 1)
    • Real Estate Litigation (Band 5)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Mid-Market (Band 2)
    • Pensions (Band 4)
    • Professional Negligence: Mainly Defendant (Band 3)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Professional Negligence (Band 1)
    • Employment (Band 2)
    • Health & Safety (Band 2)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Product Liability (Band 1)
    • Professional Discipline (Band 1)
    • Professional Negligence (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 4)
    • Professional Negligence: Mainly Defendant (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Information Technology (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Asset Finance: Aviation Finance (Band 4)
    • Asset Finance: Shipping Finance (Band 3)
    • Aviation (Band 1)
    • Clinical Negligence: Mainly Defendant (Band 3)
    • Commodities: Physicals (Band 2)
    • Commodities: Trade Finance (Band 4)
    • Energy & Natural Resources: Oil & Gas (Band 4)
    • Health & Safety (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Infrastructure: PFI/PPP (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Contentious Claims & Reinsurance (Band 1)
    • Insurance: Non-contentious (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Volume Claims (Band 2)
    • International Arbitration: Commercial Arbitration (Band 4)
    • Personal Injury: Mainly Defendant (Band 2)
    • Police Law: Mainly Defendant (Band 1)
    • Product Liability: Mainly Defendant (Band 4)
    • Professional Discipline (Band 4)
    • Retail (Band 4)
    • Shipping (Band 2)
    • Transport: Logistics (Band 2)
    • Travel: International Personal Injury (Defendant) (Band 3)




Early Careers: