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Vacation placements - Northern Ireland

Applications are: OPEN


The perfect introduction to Pinsent Masons

We design, structure and develop the placement programme to give you an experience which is practical and enjoyable whilst authentically reflecting the Trainee Solicitor experience.


We make business work better for people

Retention rates

We are proud to retain 80% of our trainees

Comprehensive Training

We deliver core and complementary training

The value of a placement


For many people, a Vacation Placement presents the first opportunity to work in a professional organisation and environment. We make sure that first step is an easy one with a day one induction. You’ll be welcomed to the Firm (perhaps virtually!) and encouraged to make the most of every opportunity.

You’ll experience what it’s like to be part of the Pinsent Masons team and get the chance to make a great first impression. You’ll also get the opportunity to develop transferable professional skills, building your confidence along the way. It’s also a great opportunity to get a feel for the social scene, make friends and start building a useful network of contacts for the rest of your career.


Structure and dates


During 2020 our placement programme was, very successfully, delivered virtually. Whilst candidates were not assigned to a specific practice area, they were allocated a trainee buddy and a solicitor mentor. We use the Inside Sherpa platform as a hub for content and information and would plan to do that for 2021 if we are not able to revert to a ‘traditional’ in-house placement.

Participants have the chance to complete assessments for a Training Contract, attend presentations and get involved in social activities.

2021 dates are yet to be confirmed but by way of a guide, please see the originally planned dates for our 2020 programme below.

2020 Placement Dates: Monday 8 June to Friday 19 June 2020

We don’t offer ad hoc placements or work experience opportunities, so you must make sure you’re available for the full placement during the above dates.

If you want to find out more about the placements before applying, why not come and meet us at one of our events? You’ll find dates and details in our events calendar.



We believe placements should be paid as, while you are with us, you will be making a valuable contribution to our business. We also recognise that undertaking placements can mean incurring costs for travel and accommodation. That is why we pay our Vacation Placement students a competitive rate of pay while at the firm.

Our 2021 Vacation Placement salaries are yet to be confirmed but for our last in-house placement during summer 2019 they were £315 per week.


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If you don’t meet the above criteria but there are mitigating circumstances that explain why you’ve failed to meet the minimum academic requirements, there’s an opportunity for you to include this information in your application.


Vacation placement to training contract


We hope your Vacation Placement experience will fuel your interest in joining the firm as a Trainee Solicitor. So, during your placement we’ll ask you to take a final assessment for a Training Contract. This will involve preparing and presenting a SWOT analysis, followed by an interview regarding your presentation and your placement experience. We’ll also get feedback from your practice group and, if you meet our core capabilities and perform well throughout both the assessments and the placement, we’ll offer you a Training Contract.

If you gain a placement, it’s because we already see you as a potential Trainee. And during the time you spend with us, we’ll do our best to give you every chance to prove us right. That’s why Vacation Placement students don’t need to make a separate application for our Training Contract programme. In our eyes you’re already in the running.


A focus on detail

With a conscientious approach, you’ll have the ability to read and absorb large amounts of reference material and spot errors quickly. You’ll be a stickler for detail when it comes to your own writing too, ensuring it’s always clear and accurate.

An interest in business
An interest in business

We’re a commercial law firm, so you’ll have a genuine interest in how business works. That means keeping up-to-date with the latest business issues, as well as appreciating how legal expertise can support and steer commercial organisations.


With the self-assurance to voice your own opinions and defend your point of view when you need to, you’ll be a convincing and persuasive communicator. But you’ll also have the self-awareness to ask for help when you need it.

Intellectual capability
Intellectual capability

You’ve the intellectual curiosity to explore new approaches and ask others’ opinions. With an analytical approach, you think things through and weigh up the implications, but also have the capacity to think on your feet to find solutions.


You’ll be approachable, outgoing and confident engaging with people from different backgrounds and experiences to your own. Whether you’re communicating with colleagues or clients, you’ll understand the need to adapt your message to suit your audience.

Personal drive
Personal  responsibility

You’ll need to combine a real desire to be the best with the energy, ambition and enthusiasm to go the extra mile to succeed. With a can-do attitude, you’re always open to learning from your experience, so you can be even better next time.

Personal responsibility
Personal drive

You understand that taking responsibility for your successes and acknowledging when things go wrong will help you to constantly improve and achieve your career aims. By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you give others confidence in your abilities.


You understand priorities and monitor your progress towards set objectives. By being well-organised and planning and managing your work efficiently, you make sure you always deliver quality work on time.

Our recruitment process

We’ve designed our application process to ensure you’ll know the outcome in no more than three months after the application deadline. The below shows a typical recruitment and selection process. This may be subject to change depending on government guidelines and restrictions in relation to COVID-19. You’ll be given full details of the process in relation to your own recruitment as appropriate.

    • How long does the Vacation Placement last?

      The programme runs over a two-week period in the English and Belfast offices, and over three weeks in the Scottish offices. Each office typically has two intakes of Vacation Placement students, starting in June and July.

    • Is the Vacation Placement programme paid?

      Yes, in 2019 Vacation Placement students were paid £375 per week in London, £325 per week in the English regional offices, £325 in Scotland and £315 in Northern Ireland. Salaries are reviewed annually.

    • Do you get to choose which practice group you sit in?

      We’ll ask you to tell us your top three practice group preferences and we’ll do our best to place you in one of them. However, from time to time, it may be difficult to achieve this due to commercial reasons.

    • Can I take a Vacation Placement in my first year at university?

      No, we don’t offer Vacation Placements to first year students unless you’re on the accelerated (two-year) LLB or equivalent. If you’re a first-year student, we’d encourage you to develop your legal knowledge by attending campus events and insight evenings or through gaining some commercial experience.

    • Do you offer Vacation Placements in your overseas offices?

      Our Hong Kong office offers a Vacation Placement, but this is only available if you’re looking to train and qualify in Hong Kong. Although we don’t offer Vacation Placements in any of our other international offices, we do offer a work-shadow placement scheme in Dubai.

    • Do I have to apply for a Training Contract as well as a Vacation Placement?

      If we offer you a Vacation Placement programme, we’ll automatically consider you for a Training Contract at the firm and your placement will include Training Contract assessments. If you don’t gain a Vacation Placement, you’ll need to wait until the following year to apply for either a Vacation Placement or Training Contract.


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