The LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards celebrate the law firms that do training and recruitment best.

Learn what makes our award-winning firms special when it comes to training contracts, recruitment and vacation schemes, plus what distinguishes them commercially.

With enriching training and fair recruitment at the heart of what they do, these leading firms provide opportunities to shine, whether in the City or a regional hub.

Winner Profiles

Best Recruiter – Large City Firm

Macfarlanes LLP

Rigour and fairness are the cornerstones of trainee recruitment at Macfarlanes, a firm that goes toe to toe with larger City competitors on clients and work quality, but does things differently when it comes growing its business. The firm has never merged, preferring to grow organically, which is why it invests so much in hiring and training the next generation. Equal weighting of vacation scheme and direct training contract applicants combines with a CV-blind policy and a careful scoring system to ensure that every candidate is measured on exactly the same criteria. This is vital when you’re recruiting your partners of the future – and makes Macfarlanes a worthy winner of this year’s Best Recruiter – Large City Firm award. Read winner profile

Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm

Mills & Reeve LLP

What you see during a vacation scheme always reveals much about what a firm is really like, so it’s no surprise that Mills & Reeve’s work experience programme is so well regarded – the firm has been named in The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work For for 16 years running. Now it has added the award for Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm to its heaving trophy cabinet thanks to a vacation scheme that is modelled as a “mini-training contract”, enabling candidates to experience a greater variety of practice areas than most other schemes offer. Read winner profile

Best Trainer – Medium City Firm:

Bristows LLP

A leading name in the world of intellectual property and patents, Bristows has a long-established reputation for attracting STEM graduates to its award-winning training programme. Trainees benefit from a level of early responsibility that larger firms cannot match, while the small intake of 10 new joiners a year ensures that every trainee’s development is individually tailored. Added flexibility is provided by a mix of three and six-month seats and a variety of secondment opportunities. Read winner profile

Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Sullivan & Cromwell’s mantelpiece is already groaning with awards in recognition of its stellar trainee recruitment programme which, remarkably, is still under 10 years old. S&C eschews the large trainee intakes at other City firms in favour of small cohorts, meaning that the level of investment in every trainee is first rate and that extensive exposure to high quality international work is guaranteed. That approach is mirrored in a best-in-class vacation scheme and the wider recruitment process – read on to learn more about this year’s Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City. Read winner profile

Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm

Farrer & Co LLP

There are no “identikit” people at Farrer & Co, a firm that knows its strengths lie in the varied skills, talents and experiences of its lawyers. With the firm’s edge provided by its people, a high-quality recruitment process is a must – the cornerstone of which is Farrers’ first-rate vacation scheme, which deservedly takes this year’s award for Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm for providing candidates with an experience of real trainee life across the variety of practice areas in which it boasts unique expertise. Read winner profile

Best Trainer – National/Large Regional Firm

Osborne Clarke LLP

Unlike some firms, Osborne Clarke does not recruit for the short and medium-term needs of the business, but is committed to trainees’ long-term career progression with the firm, whatever path they choose. Every trainee in every diverse annual intake benefits from bespoke support that begins even before the training contract officially starts. And once a trainee is through the doors, the firm ensures they experience a wide variety of work areas, which helps to develop a well-rounded skillset ahead of qualifying. Read winner profile

Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm


Openness and transparency are at the heart of Shoosmiths’ award-winning approach to recruitment, so that the whole process is designed for candidates’ benefit. The programme is geared to enable candidates to do well, not trip them up, and the willingness of people at the firm to engage extensively with students means that even those who do not go on to train at Shoosmiths tend to receive careers advice that will benefit them in the long term. See for yourself why Shoosmiths has been named this year’s Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm and discover the many opportunities on offer to engage here. Read winner profile


The LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards recognise excellence at all levels. Our 17 winners and their fellow nominees come from every category of law firm, from the City to the high street.

See nominees


About us

About us

The awards results are based on an extensive yearly survey of trainee and newly qualified solicitors. Survey respondents are asked to frankly assess their own experiences and score their firm on a number of criteria related to the recruitment, training, work placement scheme and training principal.

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