Training Contract


Training Contract Overview

We want you to be the very best lawyer you can be, so we have created a ‘best in class’ trainee programme that provides you with the perfect platform from which you can go on to develop your career within the firm. The training involves:

  • A four-seat rotation giving you exposure to a number of legal disciplines. You will have a lot of guidance and input into your seat allocations. Before each seat change, you will meet with your training principal to discuss your future ambitions and which seat options best meet your goals. We work hard to match your seat preferences with the needs of the business.
  • Highly trained and dedicated supervisors to provide you with on-the-job training and feedback, together with objective mentoring and advice.
  • Professional Skills Core Courses (PSC), which are completed before your first day in the office together with 24 hours of PSC electives to be completed throughout the duration of the two year training contract.
  • A comprehensive training programme consists of in-house courses, specialist seminars and workshops. You will also complete a litigation training programme which is completed in the second year of your training contract.
  • A structured performance review system which ensures you receive feedback on your performance every three months to recognise achievements and identify any areas of development.

Trainee Seats

Seat Rotation

Your training contract will consist of four six-month seats and we offer seats in the majority of the practice groups found in the London Office. We expect that you will spend time in private equity and/or finance, as these are our two largest practice groups in London, but there is plenty of opportunity to gain experience in other areas, across both transactional and advisory groups.

Seat moves take place in March and September and you will have a lots of guidance and input into your seat choices. Ahead of each rotation the Trainee Development Manager will meet with you to discuss your preferences for the next seat and which seat options best meet your future ambitions. Your Supervisor, as well as other associates and partners, will also be happy to discuss your choices with you.

Seats are available in the following practice areas:

  • Finance

    Ropes & Gray’s finance practice is recognised for its innovative approach to complex financings. With international capabilities the team is able to advise on all forms of leveraged finance transactions across the capital structure and jurisdictions.

    Read more information about our global finance practice

  • Private Equity

    Ropes & Gray has one of the leading private equity practices in the world. The global team provides its large and mid-cap sponsor clients with unsurpassed support through all stages of the transaction life cycle. The 200-strong practice is seamlessly integrated with the firm’s finance, tax, funds and government enforcement teams – making Ropes & Gray one of only a few premier one-stop private equity law firms in the world.

    Read more information about our global private equity practice

  • Real Estate 

    Ropes & Gray has a leading international real estate practice advising investors and lenders on structuring and executing complex domestic and international transactions. The practice advises on equity side transactions across the risk spectrum from core to opportunity, in multiple geographies and ranging from asset acquisition to operating businesses.

    Read more information about our global real estate practice

  • Tax 

    The London tax practice works closely with colleagues across the firm to provide strategic tax advice to sophisticated clients. The focus of the practice is on private equity, fund formation, finance, real estate, special situations and tax disputes. In an environment where tax rules - both in the UK and globally - are changing at a fast pace, the team’s extensive experience, involvement in industry groups and focus on clients’ objectives allows them to maximise opportunities and reduce risk for their clients.

    Read more information about our global tax practice

  • Financial Crime, Global Investigations and Risk

    Ropes & Gray has a leading global financial crime team which advises corporate and individual clients on the full range of cross-border and international risk issues, including anti-bribery and corruption, money laundering, sanctions, export controls and other financial risks. The team focuses on both reactive investigations and resolutions with authorities, as well as working with clients across industries and geographies to identify and mitigate risks and ensure compliance.

  • Private Investment Funds

    A pioneer at the inception of the private investment funds industry, Ropes & Gray today has one of the largest and most sophisticated practices in the world, advising on the full range of private fund strategies. The size, scope and integration of the firm’s sponsor and investor practices provide the team with unequalled insight into market terms and developments globally.

    Read more information about our global private investment funds practice

  • Competition / Antitrust

    Our antitrust team in London advises sophisticated clients on a wide range of issues, ranging from merger control matters to complex multi-jurisdictional cartel or abuse of dominance investigations and follow-on damages actions.

    Read more information about our global antitrust practice

  • Privacy & Cybersecurity

    We help our multinational clients navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding compliance, litigation and regulatory investigations stemming from global data protection and privacy legislation, security breaches and alleged data privacy violations.

    Read more information about our global privacy & cybersecurity practice

  • International secondment
    The international secondment is to our Hong Kong office working in the finance practice group. Please read our case study to gain an insight into the experience our trainees have during this secondment.

Secondments – Case Studies

To find out about our client and international secondment opportunities, please click the names below:

Nick Steynberg

For my third seat I was seconded to Liberty Global, one of the London Office’s key clients and was based at their office in Hammersmith.

The majority of the work I did at Liberty on my secondment was for the Real Estate and general commercial/ procurement teams but I also got to do some work for the M&A and Finance teams. Not being based in one specific team was a great opportunity to experience how the different legal functions support the business.

I really enjoyed the autonomy and responsibility that came with being an in-house lawyer for a period. People on the business side are not necessarily aware of what trainees are and assume that because you are in the legal team, they can approach you with any sort of legal questions. Whilst this could sometimes be quite daunting, there was always support from the in-house legal team who were more than happy to talk through anything. Everyone back at the firm were also always happy to help out and offer advice.

My time at Liberty also gave me exposure to a different way of working and I really noticed my project management skills developing on the secondment. Work is generally allocated on a project or objective basis, rather than as an individual task as is more often the case in private practice. I learnt that taking responsibility for projects/processes is always appreciated by seniors and is an approach I have taken back to my role at the firm. Understanding how one of our clients works also helped me appreciate the pressures in-house lawyers are under and what is expected/appreciated from appointed firms.

Since returning to the office I have maintained my relationships by getting involved if there are any deals/meetings with Liberty in the office. I also stay in touch on an informal basis and give my contacts a call if I see something interesting that applies to them or have other news, for example when I got offered an NQ job in the Real Estate team.

In addition to this I have also attended a couple of charity events, like the Lessons for Life 5-a-side tournament and recent bike ride in Ireland, which are great ways of keeping in touch on a social basis.

Michelle Liptakova

The first morning of my third seat rotation was different to the previous two rotations. Instead of crossing the street from City Thameslink with a magnificent view of St Paul’s and walking into Ropes & Gray’s newly built London home at Ludgate Hill, I found myself in Hong Kong looking up at the high-rise towers at One & Two Exchange Square, the home of numerous international banks, law firms and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

My seat was in the finance practice group and there is no place more suitable than the Central District of Hong Kong, the very heart of modern Hong Kong and high finance. The location of the office and trainee accommodation encourages interaction with the city’s local Cantonese culture while still maintaining proximity to the former colony’s prime expat stomping grounds. Every morning I passed by Man Mo temple where businesspeople and locals pay respect to the gods before their daily routines.

The Hong Kong practice groups are tightknit and hardworking, resulting in a collegial but no-nonsense environment for a trainee passing through. As a trainee, you are exposed to the unique market practices found in Asia, where transactions are rarely routine, flexibility is paramount, and procedural familiarity will only get you so far. With trilingual secretaries and a diverse team of legal professionals qualified across the globe, it's hard not to embrace the Hong Kong office’s East-meets-West professional culture, punctuated by the universal conscientiousness and sincerity which define Ropes & Gray.

I had a fantastic time in Hong Kong thanks to the many of my Ropes & Gray colleagues in London, Hong Kong and the US who chipped in to make sure my transition between the two offices was as smooth as possible. 

Deal Spotlight

Just a week into my secondment, I was put on the finance team for the acquisition of Toshiba Corp’s semiconductor business by a group led by our long-term client Bain Capital which included Apple, Kingston, Dell Technologies, amongst others. The transaction is not only the largest leveraged buyout and private equity deal ever in Asia but also amongst the most complex M&A transactions globally in 2017 and 2018. It was great to see how Ropes & Gray lawyers from Tokyo, Boston, Hong Kong, New York, London, San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices pulled and worked together as one team to deliver results for our client. Ropes & Gray received the Financial Times’s highest honour, standout recognition, in the category “Innovative in Legal Expertise: Managing Complexity and Scale” for its work on this deal.

Hong Kong Outside the Office

Hong Kong has the highest number of skyscrapers of any city in the world and life it offers is almost “vertical” – shopping, living, exercising and virtually any of your daily activities are somehow connected to skyscrapers. If you need a break from the urban buzz, Hong Kong has got wonderful beaches, many of them just a short bus ride away. My favourite is Clearwater Bay beach. The city is also home to many amazing hikes offering great views. Sheung Wan where Ropes & Gray trainee accommodation is situated is Hong Kong’s hipster neighbourhood with plentiful cafes and great small shops. You can easily get on a weekend “junk” boat trip, an integral part of Hong Kong’s lifestyle.

The Hong Kong airport is 24 minutes away from the office which means you can easily catch a short haul flight on Friday evening for a weekend getaway.

Social side of Hong Kong Office

Our Hong Kong office, with the number of staff at 90, feels more intimate than the London office but is just as sociable, friendly and welcoming! I was lucky enough to arrive just in time for our Asia retreat during which our four Asian offices got together for a weekend in Taipei. It was a great opportunity for me to meet my colleagues and find out more about the work they do and what makes each of our offices unique. My favourite part was Women’s Forum event, whiskey tasting during which I met Julie Jones, our Chair-elect. I had further opportunities to get to know my colleagues over my welcome lunch, Chinese New Year luncheon, conference in Macau and several closing dinners and team lunches.

Meet the Training Principal

An interview with Rohan Massey, Trainee Development Principal

Why did you become a lawyer?

My father told me to get a profession “that will be recession-proof.” This was in the early 1990’s and this made a lot of sense. Having studied history at university I was about to take up a place on the PG Dip in Law at City when I was offered the chance to work in Japan. I spent two years in Japan learning about technology and using a very embryonic internet. As my father was not persuaded by the arguments that the internet would change the world (hindsight is a wonderful thing!), I returned to the UK and did the next best thing to setting up a dot com business I became a dot com lawyer. 

What would you say is your strongest characteristic… and your worst trait?

My strongest characteristic is to be able to distil lots of information, identify the key issues quickly, apply commercial awareness and react accordingly. Remember some clients want a detailed understanding of the law, some want one line answers and it is important to be able to gauge the situation without having them tell you. My worst trait is the ability to go for pro-longed periods without sleep. I used to think that this was a good trait, but now I am not so sure (and I know that those who work with me agree on this!)

What has been your proudest professional moment?

A very proud moment was the completion of Under Armour’s kit deal with Tottenham Hotspur FC, which effectively launched the brand globally. I had 24 hours’ notice of the deal, and had not worked with the client before. Having held a briefing at 0600 at Paddington we went to White Hart Lane and over 12 hours with the Spurs chairman we completed a great deal for the brand. Even as a Man United fan this was a great achievement.

What is the best part of your job?

No two days are the same. That keeps the work interesting, and then I have a great team and colleagues in this office and across the firm, who are all incredibly talented and knowledgeable in diverse areas and have years of experience that I can draw on, and they somehow still manage to inject fun into each day.

What advice would you give a trainee joining Ropes & Gray?

As a firm we pride ourselves on our collective spirit. So if you have any questions (or you don’t understand something) ask someone. From trainee-peers to associates and partners you should feel comfortable that we can be approached. In return be prepared to help those that come to you, even when this involves personal sacrifice.

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