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Kirkland & Ellis Talent, drive, enthusiasm. That’s what makes a Kirkland lawyer.


“When we interview we look for applicants who have got to know our business and understand the kind of work we do. Then we look for their excitement about doing it.”

More Than Just A Lawyer

Quality is about attracting the best applicants and helping them develop to their full potential as lawyers. We see it as a virtuous circle: if we train the best lawyers, we can continue to undertake the highest quality work for the highest quality clients which in turn helps us attract the highest quality applicants.

That’s why we try to filter as much work and responsibility down from the partners as possible. We believe it’s the best way for our younger lawyers to learn and to develop.

A Firm With Its Door Open

It’s part of the firm’s culture. If you have a question or need some insight into a problem, you can walk through anybody’s door and get some answers. It’s an ethos we work very hard to maintain.

There is one thing that we cannot teach our lawyers, however, and that is intelligence. So we look for candidates who are naturally bright. You will need a strong academic record. You will need to be motivated and ambitious. Above all, you must want to learn.

The kind of work you will do is not restricted by the year you qualified. If you are capable of doing the work, we let you get on with it – giving you all the support and training you need along the way.

It means there are more opportunities to do interesting work, more opportunities to grow as a lawyer, more opportunity for client contact, and more responsibility at an early stage of your career.

Leading From Day One

Our lawyers need to be comfortable as leaders, too. You need to be able to galvanise and collaborate with your colleagues and take the initiative when required. We work in small teams and across practice areas. We try and maintain a culture where everyone knows what everyone else is working on and feels free to help.

It’s a much more collaborative approach, which means we need people who can work well in teams and who treat one another with respect – at both junior and senior levels. These are the people who will make partner at around six years post qualification experience.

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Meet Us

Getting first-hand insights into what it is like to be a trainee at Kirkland is one of the best things you can do. That’s why we’ve got a number of current and former trainees lined up to answer your questions. You can meet them at the many careers events and law fairs we attend.

Maybe you would value a chat with some of our existing and former trainees about the experience of launching their careers with Kirkland.

Every year we are busy attending careers events and law fairs to get to know some of our potential recruits face-to-face.

Please note we have now filled all our spaces for 2024 training contracts, and will no longer be considering direct training contract applications. If you would like to apply for 2025, please note our applications for 2023 vacation schemes will open at the start of October.


Application Process

Vacation Schemes

Before joining our firm as a trainee, you can get to know us on one of our Vacation Schemes. They’re designed to give you valuable hands-on experience across a range of practice areas, as well as crucial insights into how our London team operates. Most importantly you come away with a crucial network of contacts. We offer vacation placements throughout April and June. Applications for our 2022 spring and summer Vacation Schemes open on 1st October 2021 and close on 2 January 2022.

Apply Now >

Law Fairs

5 October 2021 Legal Cheek Law Fair


6 October 2021 Bristol University Law Fair


11 October 2021 Aspiring Solicitors Law Fair


12 October 2021 Cambridge University Law Fair


20 October 2021 Oxford University Law Fair


26 October 2021 King’s College London Law Fair


2 November 2021 UCL Law Fair


10 November 2021 Exeter University Law Fair


10 November 2021 SEO Open Day


17 November 2021 Durham University Law Fair


17 November 2021 Aspiring Solicitors Open Day


3 December 2021 LawCareers.NetLIVE Law Fair



Awards & Recognitions

Trophy Cup

LawCareers.Net – Best Work Placement Scheme (Vacation Scheme) – City Firm 2020

Trophy Cup

Lex 100 – Overall job satisfaction 2020/2021

Trophy Cup

Lex 100 – Quality of work 2020/2021

Trophy Cup

Lex 100 – Approachability of supervisors 2020/2021