We're the perfect place for you to start your career in law

We are the perfect place for you to start your career in law, with training opportunities for graduates and those who are still studying. We look for highly motivated individuals with an excellent academic record, common sense, good communication skills and commercial awareness.

But it’s not all about education. We work in a friendly environment and like our staff to feel at ease with our culture so we value social skills and a good sense of humour.

Because of the commitment to offering some of the best training available, we recruit two years in advance. Our overriding objective is to retain our trainees as solicitors and we are proud to say that many of our present partners were trained at the firm and are now leaders in their field.

Our training contract opportunities are for those of you who are looking to become solicitors.

Our trainees work alongside our current solicitors in up to four different seats, each lasting six months, across a variety of practice areas.

When selecting seats for our trainees we always consider individual preferences as well as business needs. Some training contracts will follow divisional lines and remain in either our business or individual services division for the duration of the training contract.

We also offer trainee secondment opportunities with some of our corporate and business clients. 

Annual Open Day 2019

If you wanted to know what it is like to work for Hugh James, our annual open day could be the insight you have been looking for.


Summer placement scheme

If you are at least a second year undergraduate student, enrolled on the GDL or have completed your studies, you can apply for our summer placement scheme.

This one-week placement is an integral part of our recruitment process and is our preferred route to a training contract. This experience provides insight into the life of a trainee at Hugh James across a variety
of departments. 

You will benefit from your own mentor, usually a current trainee solicitor, so you’ll have a go-to person for any of your queries.

This award winning scheme is very popular and fills up fast. At the end of your placement, you will be invited to interview for a training contract with us. 

Summer placement scheme2023/Training contracts 2025

Applications are now open. The scheme will run over the summer between June and August. Shortlisting will be completed by April and interviews will be held in April/May.


Period of recognised training

During your training contract, you will have a dedicated supervisor and regular appraisals to make sure you’re getting the most from your training. You will work alongside our current solicitors and will have the opportunity to work in up to four different seats across a variety of the firms practice areas.   

We consider applications from all ages and backgrounds with a 2:1 degree as a minimum (unless there is good reason for a 2:2 degree being awarded).

Applications from non-law graduates are welcomed too if you are currently taking, or have completed, the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

Training contracts

We are now accepting applications for training contracts commencing in 2025. Closing date for applications is 30 June 2023.




Solicitor's Qualification Examination

The Solicitor’s Qualification Examination (SQE) offers an alternative to the traditional way of qualifying as a solicitor. We support this route to qualification as part our long-established solicitor training programme. Read about our approach to supporting lawyers at different stages of their career below.

Potential trainee solicitors

For our trainee solicitors we support both routes to qualification currently available. For those pursuing the SQE route, funding will be available for the SQE 2 training course and exam. Those undertaking a Hugh James training contract will complete a two-year contract, irrespective of any previous qualifying work experience.

The advantages of becoming a Hugh James trainee are:

  1. Two years of structured training across a breadth of disciplines.
  2. Guaranteed exposure to all the competencies needed, enabling candidates to be better equipped for the SQE stage 2.
  3. Payment of the SQE stage 2 exam and training course.
  4. A guaranteed solicitor role after the two years (subject to satisfactory performance and passing the SQE2 exam).
Future Paralegals

Our paralegal roles can be used as qualifying work experience, as the role allow individuals to develop some of the competencies needed to be a solicitor.

Previously employed paralegals who need to sign off their experience at Hugh James

For those previously employed by Hugh James in a paralegal role, this time can be used as qualifying work experience, as it would have allowed them to develop some of the competencies needed to be a solicitor, and we will sign off this experience.

If you require such sign off, please email [email protected]

Trainee insight

There are many questions we are regularly asked about our graduate options but we think it’s best coming from the people who have experienced it first hand.

Luckily our trainees are here to provide an insight into life at Hugh James and their experiences of being a trainee solicitor.


Charlotte Werner & Maddie Allen, Trainee Solicitors provide an insight into life at Hugh James and their experiences of being a trainee solicitor. #HJTraineeTalks | Hugh James


Check out our #HJTraineeTalks series where our trainees have recorded short videos covering topics such as pressure to secure contracts, being open minded when it comes to choosing seats and what it's been like working during the pandemic.

watch series

Anna McCarthy, a 2017 trainee, answers your FAQs.

Why should I choose Hugh James?
How much responsibility will I have?
What is the working environment like?
What is the social life like? 

placement year

We have been offering a professional placement year to law under graduates from Cardiff University since 2016. The firm’s relationship with Cardiff University has been cultivated and developed over more than ten years. The placement initiative is designed to support student learning and enhance employability skills as part of a work placement programme for law students.