Training contract

One of the best things about Penningtons Manches Cooper is its mix of corporate/commercial and people-based work.

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The programme

Our training contracts are designed to offer trainees a breadth of experience and consist of four seats that are rotated every six months, with the aim of providing trainees with as much exposure as possible to our business and clients. During your training contract, we will work with you to ensure that your career aspirations and interests are met, all while learning from recognised experts, taking on real responsibility and interacting with great colleagues.

We offer training contracts in London, Basingstoke/Reading, Cambridge, Guildford and Oxford. You can find out more about the seats available in each location here. Please note that available seats will vary each rotation. Hear from some of our current trainees about their experiences of working at Penningtons Manches Cooper here.

Our training programme is widely respected in the legal sector and we have been recognised in independent surveys as providing excellence in training, high quality work and levels of responsibility as well as a good culture and work/life balance. Here is what you can expect when undertaking a training contract at Penningtons Manches Cooper:

Responsibility and client contact

  • Our small trainee intake means you are given real responsibility, often working on cases from start to finish as opposed to just one part of the issue. Trainees regularly interact with clients directly, allowing them to develop their client care skills whilst being supported by senior supervisors.


  • You will receive a thorough grounding in the law, spending time in the various practice groups within the firm's main business divisions: business services, private individuals and real estate. We ensure trainees gain a range of experience during their training contracts and aim to give you a balanced exposure to different areas of work and the skills needed to become a well-rounded lawyer.
  • Within your seats, you could experience work from multi-national corporations, public companies, professional partnerships, banks and financial institutions as well as private individuals. Irrespective of the type of client, international cases with cross jurisdictional and multidisciplinary facets are commonplace.


  • Along with a seat supervisor in each division, you will be allocated a trainee buddy and mentor.
  • Your mentor will be a partner or senior associate who will be someone you can go to for impartial advice and help during your training contract.
  • Your buddy will be a trainee who is a year ahead of you and will be able to answer those day-to-day questions that you may not want to ask someone more senior.
  • The trainee appraisal process, which involves a mid-seat and end-of-seat review, will also ensure that you are given regular formal feedback and support with your development.

Training and career development

  • As a new starter, you will complete an initial week-long induction. Quarterly training sessions tailored for trainees focus on skills such as drafting, legal negotiation, developing your personal brand and building relationships professionally. Team know-how and training sessions are also run throughout the year, in addition to the Professional Skills Course you will need to complete.
  • You will also get the opportunity to take part in legal technology training, which is an interactive programme, focused on the use of technology and how it can be used to drive efficiency within practice at the firm.
  • We hope that the trainee solicitors we recruit will continue to develop with us and go on to become the firm's future partners. A training contract with Penningtons Manches Cooper will offer you the opportunity to develop into a knowledgeable and confident lawyer whose career will thrive, helping us to maintain our standards of excellence and making an individual contribution that will drive us further as a firm.

Work-life balance

  • We recruit between 15 and 18 trainees annually and value each and every one of them as individuals. You will get to know everyone in your year and the year above, and meet up with them regularly at training sessions. We don't deny that at times you may be asked to work longer hours - nevertheless, our relaxed work-life culture enables trainees to continue with their hobbies, interests and social commitments.
  • Each office has a sports and social committee made up of solicitors, trainees and support staff. The committees organise regular outings such as theatre trips, summer barbecues, drinks evenings and ten pin bowling. In addition, firm-wide social events, such as Feel Good Fridays, are arranged - giving partners and staff across the offices an opportunity to get together in an informal atmosphere.
  • There is also a plethora of corporate social responsibility and pro bono initiatives that you can get involved with at the firm. Whether it be joining one of our Pennclusion groups, to drive the inclusivity agenda forward, being an environmental or mental health champion, or participating in one of our wellbeing initiatives like the walking challenge or financial wellbeing sessions, there is something for everyone that will enable them to give back and enrich their own lives outside of their legal work.

The recruitment process

All of our applications are received online and assessments are conducted on a rolling basis. To avoid disappointment, please apply as early as possible as places may already have been filled by the deadline date.

First stage
The first stage consists of a competency based telephone interview with a member of the early careers team.

Second stage
You will be required to complete a written assessment which incorporates typical tasks a trainee may be asked to complete. No prior legal knowledge is required for this.

Third stage
The final stage consists of an interview with a partner and member of the HR team, which will also incorporate a presentation based on a legal case study.

If you require any special assistance or adjustments during the recruitment process, please contact the early careers recruitment team at

For the best start to your career, we recommend applying for one of our vacation schemes, as they offer real insight into what it is like to work at Penningtons Manches Cooper. A large proportion of our training contract positions are recruited through our vacation scheme, and if this is your end goal, applying for and completing the vacation scheme is a good route to take. You can find out more about our vacation scheme placements here.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for dedicated, diverse candidates with a strong academic record and commercial awareness. You should be passionate about law, a great team player and have exceptional communication skills.

We welcome applications from all degree disciplines and from applicants at all stages of their careers – we see the value people can bring when they have gained relevant experience in other roles. You’ll have, or be on track to have, a 2:1 degree or higher and a minimum of AAB at A-Level (or the equivalent if educated outside the UK). If you do not meet these criteria and feel that your grades do not reflect your abilities, please include the context of this within your application. Please note that undergraduate applicants must be in their penultimate or final year of a law degree or their final year of a non-law degree.

How to apply

To apply for a training contract to start in 2025, please complete our online application form by accessing:

The recruitment timetable is as follows:

  • Applications now open:
  • Applications close: 4 June 2023 (applications are reviewed and candidates recruited on a rolling basis)
  • Interviews: from April to September 2023
  • Join Penningtons Manches Cooper: September 2025

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP