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Application Process

The application form

The application form is your first opportunity to stand out, to demonstrate your interest for commercial law, and to tell us why Ropes & Gray is the right firm for you. You should make the most of your experiences, highlighting what you have gained from them and how this might apply to the skills required for a career at Ropes & Gray.

You should demonstrate that you are a commercial thinker, not only showing an interest in the legal industry, but also evidencing a sound knowledge of current affairs more generally and the impact those events might have for the firm and our clients. Above all, you should be specific in your application and tailor your submission to Ropes & Gray. You need to thoroughly research our firm and demonstrate that you understand our practices, clients, international reach and firm organisation.

As mentioned, we have integrated the contextual recruitment tool into our recruitment process. We understand that not every applicant’s achievements look the same on paper, and the CRS enables us to further understand the context in which applicants’ experiences have been gained. The CRS helps us to recruit the very best people from a range of diverse backgrounds.

We accept applications from candidates that have achieved an AAB at A level and a 2.1 in their undergraduate degree. We accept applications from candidates from all degree subjects and career changers.

If your application is successful at the first review – conducted by our trainee recruitment team – it will then be reviewed by one of the trainee recruitment partners.

Online video interview

Our video interview is an excellent opportunity for candidates to build on their application form, and really bring it to life. It is also an incredibly helpful way to prepare for an in-person interview.

Video interviewing allows us to probe a little more than the application form allows, and offers us more of an insight into both your achievements and motivations for a career in commercial law, as well as a career at Ropes & Gray.

You are able to complete the interview at your own convenience, choosing the time and place that works best for you. You can also complete some of the interview questions, and come back to the rest at a later date, should you wish to.

Assessment day 

Our assessment day is designed for us to test whether you demonstrate the attributes we are looking for in a variety of different situations and contexts. It is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the firm and our culture so you can determine whether our firm is the right place for you. 

All our partners and associates are trained to create an environment where you feel comfortable so as to give you every possibility to succeed in each assessment. Candidates should note that no specialist knowledge, including legal knowledge, is required to complete these exercises.

Key dates

Campus recruitment

This year we will be attending law fairs at the following universities:

  • 19 October 2017: Cambridge Solicitors Event
  • 1 November 2017: Bristol Law Careers Fair
  • 4 November 2017: Oxford Law Fair
  • 13 November 2017: UCL Law Fair
  • 21 November 2017: Durham Law Fair

Application deadlines

Applications for the 2018 vacation scheme (for September 2020 training contracts) are accepted from 26 October 2017. The deadline is 31 January 2018. The assessment days will now take place on 6 and 7 March 2018, and the 2018 vacation scheme is now taking place from 9 – 20 April 2018.

Applications for training contracts for September 2020 are accepted from 1 February 2018. The deadline is 31 July 2018. The assessment day will take place in September 2018.

Vacation Scheme

We have up to eight places on our two-week paid scheme and we accept applications from all candidates (except first year undergraduates) whatever degree discipline you are studying or have studied.

The scheme is a really valuable opportunity for you to experience first hand what it is like to be a trainee at the firm, and to understand the firm’s culture and expertise. You will also learn about how law firms work as a business, and how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

During the two-week scheme you will complete client work at trainee level, and be mentored and supported by your supervisor and trainee ‘buddy’. You can expect to attend workshops, training sessions and visits to barristers’ chambers and the Royal Courts of Justice. You will also have the opportunity to interact with our employees at social networking events. You will be paid £350 per week.

Key dates

Applications for the 2018 vacation scheme are accepted from 26 October 2017. The deadline is 31 January 2018. Interviews will take place in February 2018.

Vacation scheme date

  • 9 – 20 April 2018


There is no typical Ropes & Gray trainee. Our trainees come from a variety of degree disciplines and backgrounds. What makes our trainees stand out are the following attributes:

What we look for

Hints, tips & FAQs

Hints and tips

Listen to our video by Katy from our trainee recruitment team who will provide you with some hints and tips to help you with the application process.


How can I let you know about any additional work experience/exam results once I have submitted my application form?

Please email the extra information to so that we can add this to your application.

Will I be placed in my preferred practice areas for my seats?

Whilst we will take your seat preferences into account, and are always happy to discuss these, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed in all your preferred practices. This is because we need to take into account the business needs when planning the seat rotation, and trainees should be flexible.

Do you have a preferred Law School?

All our future trainees complete the GDL and LPC at BPP in Holborn.

Am I allowed to defer for a year?

We will take any requests to defer training contract start dates into consideration.

I am interested in an international and/or client secondment, what is available?

We have an international secondment to our Hong Kong office. We prefer to send a third or fourth seat trainee who has already completed a seat in our finance team.

Client secondment opportunities arise at an ad-hoc basis because they are at the client’s request. If one of these secondments becomes available then we will open the opportunity to all our trainees but reserve the right to select the trainee with the most appropriate experience.

Do you take on international students?

Yes, we accept applications from international students.

I am qualified in another jurisdiction, should I apply for a training contract?

We welcome applications from foreign-qualified lawyers but those individuals already qualified in a different jurisdiction should apply for an associate position at the firm. Please email your CV to and we will respond to let you know whether there are any suitable vacancies that you can apply for.