Legal Cover Letter For Training Contract Deadlines

Deadlines for training contract applications vary and some firms (mainly smaller, high street firms) have a rolling application deadline rather than a final cut off date, but either way, you'll need to plan ahead.

Application checklist: second-year law or final-year non-law students


Winter, Christmas vacation and spring


Application checklist: final year law students or conversion course year


  • Finalise your funding options and be clear about closing dates for funding applications.
  • Be available for interviews. Don’t forget to reread your applications beforehand.
  • Apply for the legal practice course (LPC).


  • Enrol with the Law Society. You must be a student member to do the LPC.
  • Get organised for your exams. Legal practice requires a sharp intellect and graduate recruiters in law firms expect to see evidence of a consistently strong academic record on your training contract application. If there are or have been genuine mitigating circumstances affecting your exam results, make sure you mention these on your application.


  • Acceptance deadline for LPC place.
  • Make the most of opportunities to gain relevant experience.

Gap years for graduates who want training contracts

Many firms are happy for you to take a gap year before starting your training contract and a number offer training contracts beginning in March as well as September, but if you do want time out you'll want to plan for it in advance and use it well, as having unexpected time on your hands can put pressure on your finances as well as creating a potentially awkward gap in your CV. Attending recruiters’ events and law fairs will help you keep on top of deadlines as you’ll be able to ask questions and check application deadlines in recruitment literature.

Making your own bespoke application calendar is one way to keep track of what you need to do and when. Discuss your ideas with a careers adviser and consider mapping out your plans alongside the crucial dates on a large sheet of paper.

Training Contract Applications

Whether you’re applying for a training contracts or law apprenticeships, your apprenticeship or training contract applications will need to be well-written and professional. This page will guide you through all aspects of training contract applications and law apprenticeship applications. Given the distinct similarities between the two application processes, they are dealt with simultaneously on this page.

Training Contract Deadlines

Training contract applications / law apprenticeship applications are a reflection of you, your professionalism and your commitment to law. Unless you have completed work experience,attended an open day or taken part in a vacation schemeat your preferred law firm, your training contract application /law apprenticeship application is likely to be your first exposure to individual firms.

Subsequently, it is vital to complete applications to the best of your ability. Your application creates that all-important first impression – a crucial stage of the apprenticeship / training contract application process. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your written communication skills and showcase your ability to articulate yourself in a clear, concise and engaging manner.

Depending on the law firm you are applying to, your training contract application / law apprenticeship application will involve either:

  • Completing an online application form; and / or
  • Submitting a CV and cover letter.

Training Contract Applications: Case Study

Visit our Case Study: Training Contract Application Timeline page for more detail on training contract applications at Baker & McKenzie, a top London law firm.

Top Tips for Completing Law Apprenticeship / Training Contract Application Forms

You will usually be required to submit law apprenticeship / training contract  application forms online. Occasionally, you may be required to complete applications by hand.

To maximise your chances of success during the law apprenticeship / training contract application process, take note of the following top tips:

  • No typos or grammatical errors! When the competition is so stiff, applications may be rejected solely on the basis of basic, avoidable mistakes.
  • Ask a trusted person to proofread your application for errors/sense/interest once it is complete.
  • Ensure your application makes for interesting and engaging reading. If you are bored by the contents of your form, the chances are the relevant graduate recruitment team will be too! The aim is to stand out from the crowd, not blend in.
  • Ensure your application is bespoke to your target law firm/organisation by weaving in any firm/organisation specific detail where appropriate. Avoid copying and pasting in another firm’s name at all costs – to do so will almost certainly lead to rejection!
  • Make sure you answer every element of each question. If you’re asked ‘why, what, how,’ ensure you address each of these components. This is the level of detail expected.
  • With skills-based questions, make sure you back up any statements with relevant and interesting examples, e.g. ‘I like to be organised and lead from the front. For example, I run an annual charity cake sale which involves liaising with the charity, organising the venue, marketing the event and coordinating a team of voluntary people to bake and sell cakes on the day. Last year we raised over £1,000.’
  • Draw on any non-legal or legal work experience where appropriate. It will assist you in providing real life examples of experiences you have had and any transferable skills you have subsequently acquired.
  • Compile a timeline of preferred law firm application deadlines and work backwards.
Training Contract Deadlines
  • Take your time! Application forms cannot be rushed, so make a start on them early and do not wait until the day before the deadline to submit your forms. Organisation is key.
  • Be sure to take a copy of your completed application form for reference – it will be useful if you are invited for interview.

More Top Application Tips From Top Law Firms

We caught up with the graduate recruitment teams at Freshfields, Taylor Vinters and and Herbert Smith Freehills and  future trainee and trainees at Freshfields and Simmons & Simmons, who shared their top tips for securing a training contract. Note that these tips can also be employed if you are applying for law apprenticeships. Click on the links to find out more!

Freshfields Graduate Recruitment – Top Tips

Eloise Rennie (Freshfields Trainee) – Top Application Tips and More!

Herbert Smith Freehills Training Contract Advice

Simmons & Simmons – Top Tips

Taylor Vinters: Top Training Contract Tips

What type of firm should you apply to? Take the quiz!

How to Draft a CV for a Training Contract /Law Apprenticeship

Some law firms prefer to receive training contract applications / applications for apprenticeships in law by way of a CV and covering letter.

As part of a law firm’s law apprenticeship / training contract applications guidance, it may specifically state how you should format your CV and the information you should include. If, however, there is no such guidance, we would suggest using one of the more traditional CV formats, for example:

Personal details

Include your name, correspondence address, email address and telephone number.

Personal statement

This should be roughly a paragraph long and written in the third person. It is essentially your opportunity to sell yourself and positively articulate (based on your skill set, work and non-work experiences and personal qualities) why you are the best candidate for the job.

Education and associated grades

List your most recent academic grades first (along with details of the relevant academic institutions) and work backwards.

Work experience

Again, start with your most recent work experience and work backwards. For each placement, ensure you include the following detail:

  • Employer’s name/address
  • Placement dates
  • Responsibilities/achievements
  • Skills acquired and how these translate to a career in law


Include, as a minimum, detail of any IT skills and foreign languages spoken.


Include details of relevant prizes, awards, scholarships and any other notable achievements, whether they be academic, sporting or otherwise.

Extra-curricular activities

You may wish to include detail of any hobbies and interests that you have.


Include details of two referees. Health warning – ensure you have consent from your referees before you add them to your CV! It is a good idea, if possible, to provide one academic and one non-academic reference.

Top Tips for Completing CVs for Training Contracts / Law Apprenticeships

  • Ensure you use a clear and simple format which is easy to follow.
  • Restrict your CV to two pages of A4.
  • Avoid sending out blanket, generic, standard form CVs. Instead take the time to customise your CV for each application. This will immediately make your CV stand out from the crowd, giving you that all-important edge.
  • Be truthful and ensure that any statements you make are accurate. Inconsistencies may be picked up during the candidate screening process and at your interview, which may jeopardise your chances of success, so don’t risk it!
  • If your preferred law firm specifically states how they want you to format your CV, make sure you follow that particular format.
  • Where appropriate, use subheadings and bullet points.
  • Ensure your CV is free from typos and grammatical errors.
  • Don’t waffle! Keep your CV focused and to the point.
  • Use a standard font, for example Arial 11.
  • Ask a trusted person to proofread your CV for errors/sense/interest once it is complete.
  • Be sure to take a copy of your completed CV for reference – it will be useful if you are invited for interview.
Book Your Training Contract and Vacation Scheme Conference Ticket Now!

How to Draft a Covering Letter for a Training Contract / Law Apprenticeship

In addition to completing:

  • A CV; and/or
  • Application form

A law firm may require you to attach or enclose a covering letter to supplement and reinforce your law apprenticeship / training contract application. Initial impact is key with this letter as it will almost certainly be the first part of your application that any graduate recruitment team will turn to.

Covering letters can take many forms, but we would suggest using one of the more traditional formats when targeting law firms, including:

  • Your motivation to practice law
  • What attracted you to your chosen law firm
  • How your skill set fits with the firm

Top Tips for Completing Covering Letters for Law 

  • Try to establish a contact name so that you can personalise your letter.
  • Tailor each letter to the job and individual law firm in question.
  • Use a standard font, for example Arial 11.
  • Ask a trusted person to proofread your covering letter for errors/sense/interest once it is complete.
  • Ensure your covering letter is free from typos and grammatical errors.

Training Contract and Vacation Scheme Conference

Receive firsthand advice on applying for training contracts and vacation schemes at our conference – and tickets are free!

Book Your Conference Ticket Now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *