Working in London

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Debevoise has been in London for over a quarter of a century. 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.


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 2014 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 2015 Summer Vacation Scheme Student.

Summer Vacation Scheme

  • The Process
  • The Scheme
  • FAQs
  • Testimonials

The Process

In London, Debevoise offers a two-week vacation scheme which is held in spring and summer each year.

The firm’s application process is now live. If you would like to be considered for a space on our vacation scheme in 2020, please submit an application by 5 January 2020 by completing our online application form.

As the firm recruits predominately from vacation scheme students, you are encouraged to apply for a place on the scheme rather than applying directly.

The vacation 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).

Short-listed candidates will be notified in January 2020 and will be invited to our Open Day which will be held in February 2020.

The firm invites around 25 candidates to each Open Day. On arrival, candidates will meet the graduate recruitment team and will spend time with a mentor who will show them around the office and answer any questions they may have. There will also be a short interview. There is an informal networking lunch during which time they will have the opportunity to meet current trainees and lawyers. The lunch is intended as much for them to get to know the firm as the other way round.

After the Open Days, candidates are notified if they will be offered a place on the vacation scheme. There are around 30 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?
Whilst not mandatory, the firm does give preference to candidates who have completed the vacation scheme. As such, you are encouraged to apply for a place on the summer scheme if possible.

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.


"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


Training Contracts

The Scheme

Debevoise’s London office is one the firm’s fastest growing. Currently, the firm expects to hire nine trainees each year.

The period of recognised training comprises four six-month seats with a mandatory contentious seat in litigation / arbitration. Trainees may also have the opportunity to spend some time in the Moscow and Hong Kong offices.

As much as possible, training contracts are designed around you. This is done by giving trainees 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.

All trainees share an office with their supervisor, giving them the best opportunity to develop and learn directly. Trainees are very much part of the team and are able to 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 the majority of London training contracts will be offered to candidates who have participated in the spring and summer vacation scheme, anyone interested in a training contract at Debevoise is strongly encouraged to apply for a vacation scheme place. For further information on when and how to apply, please visit the vacation scheme section of the website.

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 records and other achievements demonstrate exceptional ability, motivation and potential for growth. A career at Debevoise can be demanding and challenging but also highly rewarding. 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. Trainees are given interesting and challenging work in a supportive environment.

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. Applications for training contracts can be made between 1 June and 15 July by completing our online application form.

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.

The firm understands that it is difficult for students to support themselves during their studies, so future trainees are paid an £9,000 maintenance grant per year in respect of the GDL and the LPC. The firm will also cover GDL and LPC tuition fees.

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.

More Information

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IDRG Internship

The application process for Interns in our International Dispute Resolution Group is now closed. Please check our careers page regularly for updates on the next recruitment cycle. 

International Disputes Support Lawyer (Litigation), London

The application process for our International Disputes Support Lawyer position is now closed. The application process for the next recruitment cycle will reopen in September 2020, please continue to check out careers page for updates.

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