UK Trainee FAQs

Answers to everything you were afraid to ask    

When can I apply for a training contract with Cooley?

Law undergraduates: You can apply once you reach the penultimate year of your degree.

Non-law undergraduates: You can apply once you reach the final year of your degree. Post-graduates or those seeking a career change should apply two years prior to the year in which they aim to start their training.

When can I apply to attend a summer programme at Cooley?

See above.

Can I meet Cooley representatives on campus or at other events in 2023?

Yes, you can. We always enjoy being out and about, getting to know prospective Cooley applicants, and answering their questions. We are looking forward to campus visits for the following law fairs and other events Cooley is involved with. We’ll add to this list over time.

  • 4 October 2023 – University of York Law Fair (in person)
  • 10 October 2023 – Legal Cheek Law Fair (virtual)
  • 11 October 2023 – University of Durham Law Fair (in person)
  • 19 October 2023 – Legal Cheek Commercial Awareness Academy: Introduction to Venture Capital (virtual)
  • 20 October 2023 – University of Oxford Law Fair (in person)
  • 23 October 2023 – University College London Law Fair (in person)
  • 24 October 2023 – University of Warwick Law Fair (in person)
  • 30 October 2023 – University of Nottingham Law Fair (in person)
  • 1 November 2023 – University of Cardiff Law Fair (in person)
  • 2 November 2023 – University of Bristol Law Fair (in person)
  • 8 November 2023 – University of Birmingham Law Fair (in person)
  • 10 November 2023 – King’s College London Law Fair (in person)
  • 15 November 2023 – University of Southampton Law Fair (in person)
  • 17 November 2023 – Vantage Webinar (virtual)
  • 21 November 2023 – University of Manchester Law Fair (in person)
  • 22 November 2023 – University of Lancaster Law Fair (in person)
  • 1 December 2023 – LawCareersNetLIVE London (in person)

When can I apply to attend a Meet Cooley event?

The Meet Cooley events in November and December 2023 are for those who are eligible and planning to apply for a 2024 summer programme. Priority is given to those who have reached at least their penultimate year of a law degree or final year of a non-law degree, as well as graduates or career changers.

The Meet Cooley event in May 2024 (date will be confirmed in early 2024) will be reserved for first-year law students, plus first-year and penultimate-year non-law students.

What are the academic requirements for summer programmes and periods of recognised training?

Cooley requires a minimum of a 2.1 at degree level (any discipline) and 128 UCAS points or equivalent, not to include points from AS levels or general studies. We will accept applications from individuals who do not meet these requirements if they have clear and valid mitigating circumstances – and have otherwise demonstrated excellence at another point in their academic or professional history.

What do we look for?

Cooley trainees need plenty of motivation and initiative. They should be adaptable and capable of thinking on their feet. Candidates should have developed great communication skills from a variety of situations and understand the critical importance of inclusivity and collaboration. Cooley will look for evidence of taking on leadership and seeking responsibilities. Interesting achievements, making the most of non-academic and work experience (not necessarily legal) opportunities – in addition to evidence of working hard to contribute to teams – will help applicants stand out.

Are there any compulsory seats during the period of recognised training?

You will complete a mixture of contentious and non-contentious work as part of your four seats (a mixture of litigation and transactional work), therefore you will likely do seats in a mix of Cooley’s litigation and corporate/commercial practices.

If I am offered a training contract, will Cooley provide sponsorship toward PGDL and SQE studies?

We offer financial assistance for law school – both the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) and Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) – in addition to a living allowance while studying of £15,500 per academic year. Cooley is transitioning to the SQE pathway for trainees who commence training with us in 2024 and beyond, so applicants are encouraged to follow this pathway for training contract entry from this point forward. Cooley trainees attend The University of Law to follow the SQE pathway.

How much contact do you have with future trainees whilst they are completing their law school studies?

We send future trainees regular updates of firm events in which they can participate, as well as invitations to socials, such as summer and festive season gatherings. We want our future trainees to feel part of the firm from the earliest possible moment and be able to continue making those all-important networks and connections.

If I am offered a training contract, can I defer my start date to the following year?

Cooley has a small intake and will usually need those offered training places to commence in the year they are due to start.

Deferral requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What are the salary and benefits? 

First-year trainees earn £55,000, and second-year trainees earn £60,000.

Other benefits include 25 days of annual leave, private healthcare, season ticket loan, pension scheme (with firm contribution), life assurance, critical illness cover, income protection, GymFlex membership/fitness and nutrition reimbursement, fertility and family-forming benefit, subsidised café, cycle to work scheme, wellness programmes, great social events, sports activities, and much more.

If you require any more information, please email