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Debevoise has been in London for over 30 years. Today, we have over a hundred lawyers in the city, working with some of the world’s most high profile and interesting clients. The office is home to strong and growing teams focusing on everything from high stakes international arbitration to major cross-border M&A. The office also has a distinctly international feel to it. The firm’s London based team is drawn from around the world, and it leads on much of the firm’s global work, regularly collaborating with colleagues in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

It’s a rewarding place to work. Lawyers at all levels have the opportunity to work on challenging, stimulating matters from day one. We believe that’s how you build an exceptional team; by posing tough questions, and giving the support and guidance needed to come up with the right answers. In recruiting, we look for people who will thrive in such an environment. That means high academic achievers, but also leaders, creative thinkers and effective communicators.

Training & Development

Debevoise is committed to high quality training and development for its lawyers. It has a strong associate training programme that provides people with the skills they need to reach their full potential and contribute to the overall success of the firm.

The firm offers a comprehensive and on-going programme of CPD and CLE, together with in-house training and skills sessions throughout your career.

The comprehensive training programme is further supported by the Associate Mentor Programme which plays a significant role in an associate’s development. Each associate is matched with a mentor who takes the time to guide, advise, listen and understand the associate’s experience, aspirations and concerns.

Diversity

Debevoise places a strong emphasis on equality and diversity, and is dedicated to attracting, retaining and promoting lawyers and administrative staff from diverse backgrounds. To ensure a continued focus on this commitment, the firm has an active Diversity Committee. Diversity data relating to the London office is available from the firm’s London HR Department.

Pro Bono

The firm’s commitment to pro bono work is global, spanning all offices and all levels. The London office invests considerable resources in understanding the needs of the community in which it operates, employing a qualified lawyer as a pro bono manager to lead the development of suitable pro bono activities.

"I was instantly seduced by the atmosphere of the firm, where people always had the time to greet us and have a chat… I was fascinated by the high profile cases lawyers around me were working on."

—Charlotte Lelong, Class of 2018 Associate and Vacation Scheme Student.
“I applied to Debevoise not only because of its market leading reputation but also because the firm stood out to me as one filled with intelligent, enthusiastic and interesting people. This was re-enforced during my experience of the application process and the vacation scheme.”

—Katie Power, NQ Associate and Summer Vacation Scheme Student.
“Right from my initial interactions with the firm it was clear that Debevoise did things differently. The Open Day felt like an opportunity to get to know the people at the firm, not just a grading exercise and since joining, those with whom I have worked have been both fiercely intellectual and remarkably amiable. Across my training contract I have had the opportunity to work with partners and associates on a range of matters – everything from complex emerging market M&A transactions to a pro bono case in the Supreme Court of Belize. Through these matters, I have always felt emphasis on my professional development. This sets Debevoise apart and has made it truly a unique place to train.”

—Zachary Sosah, Second-Year Trainee and Vacation Scheme Student

Graduate Recruitment

Latest News

Owing to the impact of COVID-19 this year we are planning to hold virtual vacation schemes. This decision was not taken lightly, but our priority is to safeguard all candidates confirmed to attend, as well as our own employees. We are going to host 4 one-week virtual vacation schemes and these are going to take place in the weeks commencing 25th of May, 8th of June, 29th of June and 3rd of August.

The exact format and further details can be obtained from the recruitment team.

  • The Process
  • The Scheme
  • FAQs
  • Testimonials

The Process

The firm’s application process is now closed, applications are usually open from the beginning of October.

As the firm recruits all of its trainees from the pool of candidates who attend the vacation scheme, you are encouraged to apply for a place on the scheme through participation on our open days.

The firm holds open days to recruit for the vacation schemes, normally in February and/or March. Up to 100 candidates will be invited to attend. On arrival, you will meet the graduate recruitment team and will spend time with a mentor who will show you around the office and answer any questions you may have. There will also be a short interview. There is an informal networking lunch during which time you will have the opportunity to meet current trainees and lawyers. The lunch is intended as much for you to get to know the firm as the other way around.

After the open days, candidates are notified if they will be offered a place on the spring or summer vacation schemes. The scheme is open to law undergraduates in their penultimate year of study or non-law graduates in their final year. Graduates and post-graduates are also welcome to apply.  Applicants should be expecting to achieve at least a 2(i) in any degree discipline and have a minimum of 360 (old tariff) or 144 (new tariff) UCAS points at A-level (or equivalent). Successful vacation scheme candidates will be notified around the end of March. There are about 40-45 places available each year.

The Scheme

You will share an office and be assigned a mentor in one of the firm’s practice groups: litigation, arbitration, corporate (which includes M&A, private equity, insurance, finance and funds) or tax. You will have the opportunity to work closely with several lawyers and also gain experience in other practice areas.

At the start of the two weeks you will be assigned a team project. You will also take part in a team mooting competition at the end of your two weeks. In addition, you will be invited to attend lawyer practice group meetings which are held throughout the week and often link in with other offices.

There will be several planned social events during your summer scheme as well as impromptu get-togethers with lawyers and trainees. During your time in the office, you are encouraged to speak to as many lawyers, trainees and staff as possible.

At the end of the scheme, you will have gained an insight into what life really is like as a Debevoise lawyer!

If you would like further information about the summer vacation scheme please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you have any questions that are not answered here, please feel free to contact us.

Do I have to attend the Open Day to be considered for the summer vacation scheme?
Yes. The Open Day is part of the firm’s recruiting process for summer vacation scheme students and it is therefore essential that you are able to attend the Open Day.

Can I apply for the summer vacation scheme if I am already working, having finished my GDL and LPC?
Yes, the firm will consider any application as long as you meet the necessary academic entry requirements (at least a 2(i) in any degree discipline and a minimum of 360 UCAS points at A-level (or equivalent)).

Do I have to complete an online application form, or can I submit a CV and covering letter?
The firm will only consider applications that have been submitted through the online application form.

Do I need to complete a vacation scheme before applying for a training contract?
As the firm recruits all of its trainees from the pool of candidates who attend the vacation schemes, you are encouraged to apply for a place on our open days in order to secure a vacation scheme placement.

Will I have the opportunity to work in more than one practice area?
Yes. You will be assigned a mentor with whom you will work. However, there will be other opportunities during the two weeks for you to work in other practice groups.

Testimonials

"During my vacation scheme at Debevoise in London I sat in the litigation department. I always had an interest in litigation work and had noticed the rapid expansion of the litigation department of the firm, and this, coupled with its pristine reputation, made me want to apply to find out more. I was instantly seduced by the atmosphere of the firm, where people always had the time to greet us and have a chat. The small intake of vacation scheme students made it possible to really get to know our mentors and the lawyers in our departments. I was fascinated by the high profile cases lawyers around me were working on, and I was thrilled to be given the responsibility to input my own work when needed. I gained a better understanding of the importance of pro bono work in the culture of the firm, and witnessed first-hand how Debevoise lawyers assisted the Hackney Legal Advice Clinic. At the end of the two weeks I was convinced this was the challenging but friendly environment I wanted to work in."

—Charlotte Lelong, 2014 Summer Vacation Scheme Student


"Distinguishing between firms to apply for was a difficult task. Debevoise easily satisfied my main requirements – a leading international firm, complex cross-border work, top clients, a small intake, and a challenging training contract – but so did many other firms. Debevoise really stood out from the rest when I met the people. The vacation scheme application process, which consisted of one simple open day, in itself demonstrated that this was a distinctive firm which valued individuals. Everybody was more than friendly – they were enthusiastic, interesting and actively had character. Yes, everybody was also smart and diligent, but Debevoise was equally – if not more - concerned about me and my personality.

I sat in the finance department during my vacation scheme and worked for many individuals in addition to my assigned mentor. I was encouraged to seek work elsewhere so I ended up working with lawyers from different departments too. I spent time comparing refinancing transaction documents, drafting client letters, researching contract law for a partner who had been asked to speak at a conference, drafting a research note on a recent legal development in SME lending regulation, researching merger control rules in foreign jurisdictions, managing documents, drafting emails to the investors of a client’s fund and much more. I also contributed to some of the firm’s international and local pro-bono initiatives. I researched charity law and drafted part of a letter of advice for an international client who was looking to create a UK charity. I also attended an UnLtd meeting and drafted a letter of advice on potential business structures for the client’s social enterprise. Coincidentally, during a vacation scheme at another firm, I also worked with Debevoise lawyers at the Dalston Pop-Up Clinic. It further demonstrated how much Debevoise is committed to pro-bono work.

Debevoise’s vacation scheme was more challenging than the other four firms I had been to. However, although I was encouraged to be pro-active and use my initiative, my tasks were always given with context and I always felt comfortable asking questions if necessary. I quickly built relationships of trust with lawyers of all experiences who provided me with repeat work of increasing difficulty. I really liked being in control of my own development, if only for two weeks. Debevoise also organised many events for us to meet members of the firm outside the office, including an open-air film at Somerset House and a cooking class. Anything food related was a winner for me. Indeed, I was delighted to be asked at least once every day to have meals and coffee breaks with various lawyers that I met. Getting to know everyone in a more relaxed context confirmed that I would complement the firm’s strong identity.

Debevoise treated me as a trainee in order to make my vacation scheme experience reflective of their training contract. Consequently, it was an easy decision for me to choose Debevoise over the other training contract offers that I received. Joining Debevoise would ensure playing a vital role in the firm’s high quality work, learning from leading solicitors who take an interest in my professional development and working in a close-knit office filled with lively characters.

—Sam Oladeinde, 2014 Summer Vacation Scheme Student

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The Scheme

Debevoise’s London office is growing fast. Currently, the firm expects to hire nine Trainees each year.

The period of recognised training comprises four six-month seats with a mandatory seat in litigation / arbitration. Trainees may also have the opportunity to spend time in the Moscow and Hong Kong offices. Second year Trainees complete a three-week business and finance education program (mini-MBA) at Columbia Business School, New York.

Training contracts are designed around you. This is done by giving you freedom and responsibility from the beginning. The training programme is not rigidly structured, so trainees have the opportunity to take charge of their own learning.

The firm places an emphasis on providing trainees with a supportive environment, with trainee supervisors always available and willing to answer questions. Trainees are also involved in the seat rotation process, with preferred practice groups accommodated wherever possible.

Trainees are very much part of the team and make meaningful contributions from day one. As a trainee at Debevoise, you can expect to have extensive contact with partners, counsel and other lawyers within the firm.

The Process

As all London training contracts will be offered to candidates who have participated in the spring or summer vacation scheme, anyone interested in a training contract at Debevoise should apply for a space on the open day.

Most training contract applicants are either penultimate-year law students or final- year non-law students. However, graduates and postgraduates are also welcome to apply. The firm looks for applicants whose personal qualities, academic record and other achievements demonstrate exceptional ability, motivation and potential for growth. As trainees are given high levels of responsibility from day one, the firm looks for applicants who are able to excel when they are out of their comfort zone.

Successful applicants will have consistently high levels of achievement both at A-level (or equivalent) and at university. Applicants should be expecting to achieve at least a 2(i) in any degree discipline and have a minimum of 360 (old tariff) or 144 (new tariff) UCAS points. In addition to strong academics, successful candidates should be business-minded and be able to demonstrate commercial awareness.

Debevoise generally recruits two years in advance.

Benefits & Rewards

Debevoise is a lockstep firm, which means all lawyers receive the same remuneration according to their class year. This helps foster a culture of teamwork and collegiality. Instead of creating competition amongst lawyers, they are able to work together as a team and prioritise client interests.

First-year trainees receive a salary of £50,000 per annum, rising to £55,000 in their second year.

We partner with The University of Law for the GDL and LPC. Full tuition fees are paid for both the GDL and LPC, together with a maintenance grant of £9,000 per year.

Other benefits include:

  • Private health care (medical, dental, and private GP)
  • Life and Income Protection Insurance
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Group personal pension plan
  • 22 days’ vacation
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • On-site subsidised café
  • Interest free season ticket loan
  • Discretionary qualification leave on completion of your training contract
  • 3-week training in New York in your second year as a Trainee

If you have any questions about training contracts at Debevoise please contact us.

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