What do we offer?
We offer structured traineeships in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and London.
We offer traineeships for both Law Society of Scotland (LSS) and Solicitors Regulations Authority (SRA) trainees. During your two-year traineeship you will have the opportunity to undertake four six-month seats covering a minimum of three legal disciplines. Each of our legal divisions comprises smaller legal teams with which trainees undertake each of their seats.
Why choose us?
There are a number of benefits that come with a traineeship at Shepherd and Wedderburn, including:
We provide a comprehensive induction programme to ensure you have the knowledge and tools to become a fully-fledged member of our team. From your first week, you will work on real legal projects, meet clients and collaborate with others in your team and around the firm.
You will be given responsibility from the beginning to the end of your traineeship. Throughout your traineeship, you will undertake quarterly performance reviews with a senior member of your team to monitor your progress.
Pay and funding
Our trainee salaries are set competitively in respective locations and reviewed on a regular basis.
In Scotland, we fund PEAT1 Diploma fees and provide a maintenance grant of £3,500, which is payable from September to April during your diploma.
In London, we fund LCP fees up to £10,750.
Training and development
We are an authorised LSS PEAT2 training provider and offer a comprehensive training programme over the course of your traineeship. At the start of your traineeship you will benefit from an in-depth induction programme. You will also undertake a mandatory training ‘PEAT2 week’ in the second year of your traineeship. In addition, you will benefit from seat-specific legal training throughout your time as a trainee.
SRA trainees will undertake their Professional Skills Course (PSC) with the University of Law. You will also be invited to undertake a number of PEAT2 skills training sessions and seat-specific legal training throughout your time as a trainee.
The firm offers a number of client secondments, some of which are available to our trainees.
Trainees based in Scotland can also apply for a six-month secondment in our London office. Those successful in gaining a London seat will benefit from a temporary 17.5% uplift in salary and access to accommodation provided by the firm.
It is common for Scotland-based trainees to be out of their office location for up to one year of their traineeship. For instance, a Glasgow-based trainee may have a seat in Edinburgh, followed by a seat in London. Those not working from their base location will be provided with a rental allowance or a train pass.
Mentoring and support
You will be assigned a mentor for the duration of your traineeship. Your mentor will be outwith your assigned team and will be a supportive sounding board for any concerns you might have or guidance you require throughout your time as a trainee.
Our learning and development team will also actively engage with you during your traineeship. You will meet with them at least three times per seat. However, the team will be more than happy to have a chat if you need something outwith these scheduled meetings.
Diversity and inclusion
We are committed to diversity and equality of opportunity for all colleagues and candidates. Through our S+W Together focus groups, we undertake a wide range of activities aimed at fostering diversity, inclusivity and social mobility, both externally and within the firm. Find out more about our focus groups and some of their achievements .
As a trainee, you are encouraged to join any of our focus groups and to positively contribute to the firm’s wider goals.
Volunteering and fundraising
We recognise our responsibility as an employer, a business having an impact on its environment, and a member of the local communities in which we operate. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a cornerstone of Shepherd and Wedderburn’s values. We are committed to making a positive contribution to the communities in which we live and work, and encourage all colleagues to get involved in volunteering and charitable activities. This is reflected in our CSR review brochure, which details our recent achievements.
How do I apply?
We aim to open our trainee recruitment around August each year. Please note, if you secure a summer placement with the firm, you will have the opportunity to fast-track your application to the traineeship assessment centre stage.
Stage 1 – complete an application form
When traineeship applications open, you will find a link to the application on this page. The application includes questions about your university, work experience and extracurricular activities, along with skills-based questions. Here are some tips for your application:
- Complete the full application – don’t miss out sections.
- Answer the question – if a question asks about skills, be sure to reference skills in your answer.
- Triple check your spelling and grammar – and check again!
- We want to hear about all your work experience (paid, unpaid, legal, and non-legal) – we are interested in it all.
- We carry out interviews on a rolling basis so we would encourage you to get your applications in ahead of the deadline.
- It may seem obvious, but spell Shepherd and Wedderburn correctly!
Please note, we use the RARE Contextualised Recruitment System as part of our application process in order to widen access to the profession for those from less socially mobile backgrounds.
Stage 2 – undertake online verbal and numeric testing
If you are successful in progressing through the application stage, you will be invited to undertake testing via SHL, an online assessment provider. We would recommend you practise a number of assessment before undertaking the tests. You can find tests by following this link: Practice Tests | SHL Direct
Stage 3 – assessment centre (case study and panel interview – 1 hour 30 minutes)
Once you have passed the test section, you will be invited to attend an interview with two members of the firm – one panel member is legally qualified and the other is part of the graduate recruitment team. The interview will be split into two parts (click on each to find out more):
The first part of your assessment centre will involve examining a case study and compiling an answer based on a relevant question. You will have 30 minutes to prepare an answer, which you will present during the first 10 minutes of your interview.
See below for some tips for the case study:
- Read the question carefully and make sure you answer this fully within your presentation.
- Ensure your presentation has a clear structure.
- Don’t just repeat the case study – try to analyse points to add value to your answer.
- Although it is a legal case study, we do not expect you to know everything – we want you to have a go using the knowledge you have and, to some extent, your common sense.
A more traditional interview will follow your presentation. The panel will ask questions designed to find out more about you, your skills and experience. It is natural to feel nervous during an interview, but rest assured that our interviewers want to hear from you – be yourself and try to let those nerves go!
Frequently Asked Questions
When do traineeships start?
Our traineeships begin in the middle of August each year.
Can I choose the teams I work in during my traineeship?
We will ask you which seats you are interested in. We cannot guarantee to give you exactly what you ask for but we will aim to facilitate this where business requirements allow.
How will my work be reviewed?
Each seat placement involves a three-month and six-month review, which is underpinned by the requirements set out by the Law Society of Scotland or SRA.
I have applied to Shepherd and Wedderburn before and I was unsuccessful, can I apply again?
Yes, you can apply to the firm and go through to testing and interview a maximum of two times. If you have carried out testing or made it to interview twice already and were unsuccessful both times, your application will not be reconsidered a third time.
If I am offered a training contract, is there any contact before the start date?
Our HR team is always available to answer any queries that arise before your start date. You would also be invited to attend a welcome day for all new trainees a couple of months before you begin your training contact and to attend social events, including our annual Summer Ball.
I have a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010, will the firm discuss reasonable adjustments with me?
Absolutely. We are a Disability Confident Employer and would be very happy to talk to you about reasonable adjustments for the application process and your time with us, if you are appointed. There is an area in our application form where you can note any reasonable adjustments you need or, if you would feel more comfortable discussing this with our graduate recruitment team directly, please email email@example.com.
Do you provide a quiet space for anyone who requires one for religious observance?
Yes, we are happy to provide a quiet space in each of our offices. Please contact a member of our graduate recruitment team and we can discuss arrangements with you.
If I am successful in gaining a traineeship, will I be considered for an NQ role at the end of my training contract?
We run an internal recruitment process for our second-year trainees each year at some point between November and March. In previous years, our retention rate of our trainees into NQ posts has been over 80%.