Your Success is our success

Our 2 week summer vacation scheme is a great opportunity to gain an insight as to what is it like to work for a leading regional law firm.

This scheme is currently closed and will reopen in 2021

We are offering a 2 week placement in either our head office in Bury, Lancashire, or our commercial centre on Gadbrook Park, Northwich. You will gain experience in two different departments, and we will try to ensure that these are diverse. These departments could be for example commercial property and agriculture, medical negligence and family, or private client and corporate and commercial.

The experience is designed to provide a taster of what a Training Contract with Butcher & Barlow would be like. As a regional law firm with 160 staff over 10 locations, you will be fully immersed in the Firm from the outset. You’ll be working with a Partner or a Senior Lawyer who will mentor you and provide you with your daily work load. Although the work you will undertake will vary between departments you can be sure you will have some client contact and be preparing legal documents or researching for projects or articles. You will have an opportunity to talk to the Firm’s current Trainees and Paralegal about their experiences and meet members of other teams who can answer questions on their areas of expertise.

If you have enjoyed your time with us you will be put forward for a Trainee Contract with the Firm, with no need to complete a separate application. Therefore these two weeks are your chance to shine and show us what you are made of!

At the end of the two weeks, you will receive remuneration of £450 (£225 per week).

What we are looking for

To be eligible to apply, you should be in your final or penultimate year of your university education. It is not however, about your background, or the type of degree you have, or where you studied.

Applicants should have:

  • A genuine interest in pursuing a career in law
  • Commercial awareness
  • Attention to detail
  • Individuality
  • Drive, passion and innovation

Applicants should be:

  • Team players with interpersonal skills
  • Strong communicators
  • Able to accept responsibility

A word from our Future Lawyers

I qualified in September 2019 in to the Commercial Property department, having spent my last seat working in the Commercial Property team at the Firm’s Gadbrook Park office.

There is no typical day in the life of a Trainee Solicitor working in the Commercial Property department and the tasks that I was required to carry out were extremely varied. I might be expected to do simple tasks such as chasing the Land Registry for an update on a registration or copying completed transaction documents to more challenging tasks such as reporting on a contract for sale or transfer deed for a client or drafting a new lease to be sent out for client’s approval.

The majority of clients that we act for are businesses or people that own businesses and therefore we find that they are already well informed of what requirements they want from a property transaction and how this should be achieved. Of course, this also means that the clients can be quite demanding and it is not unusual for clients to give you short deadlines to achieve their instructions or for your instructions to change from one day to the next in order to meet the clients’ objectives. The hardest part to learn is how to interact with clients and to make sure that you do not over promise, but at the same time, you are confident enough to give them replies to their enquiries.

My day would usually start with me reviewing the list I wrote at the end of the previous day, prioritising  tasks which must be completed by certain deadlines and which ones are not as urgent. I then check my emails and see if any emails have arrived overnight or if my supervisor has given me any new tasks to add to my list. This is even more important now I am qualified and becoming responsible for my own case load whilst still being delegated work from my supervising Partner.

On most days, a large portion of my time could be taken up by answering phone calls from clients on emails or letters that we have sent them or on questions that they may have on their matters. Managing and prioritising your time is a key skill that you will quickly pick up and it is essential to learn how to juggle your time effectively.

As I go through my list of tasks I cross off the ones which I am able to complete and make notes against the tasks which I have not been able to finish. I may need to come back to the task if I am missing information (for example if I need instructions from a client on a drafting point in a lease) or if the task is particularly lengthy and it requires further work.

Once it gets towards the end of the day I reassess whether or not I have any urgent tasks that need to be carried out that day and if I do, I make sure that I prioritise that task. Otherwise I will try and get through as much as I can before the end of the day. My final job is to make a list of the tasks that I need to do the next day. This will be a range of tasks that I did not complete that day but will also be new tasks which have come in through the day and need to be dealt with.

The responsibility I was given as a Trainee has given me a strong foundation on which to start my journey as a newly qualified Solicitor. The transition has been a smooth one with me continuing to work on the matters I was previously working on.  There is an expectation of me to begin building relationships with new contacts and start to bring in work of my own.  I have been attending young professionals networking groups throughout the latter half of my Training Contract and am continuing with these now I am qualified.  The Firm encourages personal development and supports me in going out to meet new business contacts.

My training with Butcher & Barlow has been thorough and enjoyable, and I look forward to continuing to learn from those more experienced than me, and carving out a niche of my own within the department.

There are many advantages of training in a regional firm compared to a larger city or magic circle firm.

The main advantage is probably the responsibility that you are given from day one.

As a Trainee in the Litigation department at our head office in Bury, I work directly with the Managing Partner of the Firm.  This affords me the opportunity to gain invaluable experience learning from a Legal 500 ranked lawyer who has over 20 years’ experience in the area and who is an accredited Member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Scheme. In a ‘Magic Circle’, or City law firm it would be very unusual for a trainee to work with somebody so high up in the firm and you may never even meet the Managing Partner.

I have been given the responsibility to conduct the initial meeting with the clients and take an active role in all stages of the litigation process – from meeting the clients and taking their instructions, to drafting Particulars of Claim and other formal documents, to liaising with Counsel and relevant experts and attending Court hearings/trials.

This differs somewhat to training with a larger firm where the interaction with clients/counsel/counterparts is very limited and a large proportion of work is centred on more research based and admin tasks.

The litigation work is very varied at the Bury Office which has allowed me to gain experience in a greater number of areas which is crucial for making a more rounded and knowledgeable qualified solicitor. The areas I work in are clinical negligence, contentious probate, and commercial and property litigation.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ working in the Litigation department; one day I could be reviewing medical notes/reports for a potential clinical negligence claim, the next I could be in a conference with Counsel discussing case strategy or drafting a letter of claim in a boundary dispute – no two days are the same and this is what I find most interesting and engaging.

Working at Butcher and Barlow allows me to put into practice what I learned at University and see how the legal principles you learn at an academic level translate into everyday use in a commercial and business environment.

At Butcher and Barlow, you are valued as a key member of the team in the firm and treated as such. This is reflected in the opportunities you are given to be heavily involved in all stages.

I have found that having this exposure, although at times difficult, has given me the confidence and skills I need for when I qualify to become a competent and successful solicitor.

I joined the Private Client department at the Bury office in September 2018 for my second seat at the Firm. I was warmly welcomed by Partner and head of department Chris Hopkins, fellow Paralegal Emma Delaney and Chris’ secretary, Linda Barlow.

It is always slightly daunting starting a new seat as it can feel like you are starting a new job every six months! However, the team made me feel at ease straight away and I was thrown in at the deep end with a fun quiz with the whole of the Bury office.

Chris is a hands-on training Partner and got me involved from the outset. I would sit in with Chris on all of his meetings, whether it was a Will signing or a lengthy meeting about Probate or Inheritance Tax. This enabled me to get a feel of the way Chris worked with clients, what type of clients we  acted for and how to approach different topics, which helped me immensely. I found it much easier to learn when I was experiencing the work first hand and it helped me develop my own style and approach to clients.

My days began with arriving at work nice and early to get a head start on the emails I had received whilst I was away from the office. This was also a good time to make a list of the files I had to deal with that day and put them in order of priority. I would also locate and briefly review the files which we had client meetings with on that day so that they were fresh in my mind.

Despite thinking otherwise before I joined, every day in the Private Client department was different. My work included drafting Wills, dealing with and obtaining Powers of Attorney, obtaining Grants of Probate/Letters of Administration and distributing estates, dealing with Inheritance Tax documentation and continuously interacting and communicating with Clients on a day to day basis. We often visited clients at home if they were elderly or housebound.

I found my time in the Private Client department to be a completely immersive experience and I came away with an abundance of knowledge (in particular when dealing with estate accounts given I am not the best with numbers!) and new-found confidence, which has been put to good use in my subsequent seats.

I have now begun my training contract with Butcher & Barlow and am due to qualify in September 2021. I am currently in a family seat having recently completed a commercial property seat in the Firm’s dedicated commercial office.

Training at Butcher & Barlow provides a varied and hands-on experience.

I have been working in the family department for a few months now. I usually get to work a little early and have a coffee whilst checking over any emails that have come in overnight. I like to write myself a to-do list of everything I have outstanding so nothing gets overlooked.  I log onto CCMS (the online portal for Legal Aid) and deal with any notifications or actions that have arisen.  Usually within the first hour or so I will have a meeting with my supervisor, Kevan Hankinson, who is the head of the Family department, to go through any queries I have on cases, check over work I have done the previous day and set me some additional tasks.

Often my to do list will alter throughout the day following phone calls and emails received after I arrive and a skill I think I have developed is being able to prioritise the tasks I am given.

Work in the family department is very varied and everyday tasks for me include drafting divorce petitions, liaising with clients in order to draft statements on their behalf and preparing financial disclosure as part of a couple’s separation.  I assist in children’s cases by drafting applications for Child Arrangement Orders and Prohibited Steps Orders.  Kevan will check any drafting  before sending to the client for approval.  Kevan will give me tips on suitable wording and answers any questions I have.  Since joining the department I have been involved with cases from opening of the file to close and I have enjoyed seeing how cases develop and what can crop up along the way.  By being at a large regional firm like Butcher & Barlow I am getting a very high quality of training and the opportunity to be hands on throughout the entirety of the case as opposed to only working on certain aspects

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend conferences with counsel and PLO meetings.  I will make myself familiar with the file beforehand and make a note of any key questions or points that need to be raised.  I have really enjoyed having such a high level of contact with clients and being trusted to carry out tasks such as this.

Occasionally I will be asked to assist counsel at a finding of fact hearing or a final hearing.  Whilst at court I stay with the client, assist counsel in finding any necessary information or contacting the office.  I take notes of the hearing to send to counsel to assist them in their final submissions.  I find the experience of assisting counsel particularly valuable and I especially enjoy listening to the cross examination.  Advocacy is definitely something I would like to do more of as my confidence and knowledge grows within the department and I am looking forward to getting more involved with that.

These opportunities came quite early on within working in the department and in part I think this is due to being part of a team in a regional firm.  The family department at Butcher & Barlow work departmentally across the offices meaning there is often opportunity to assist in different matters with a range of different fee earners, something you would not get the chance to experience in smaller firms.  This style of working has also meant I have felt a part of the team from when I first joined and I have always been given as much support as needed. I am looking forward to commencing my training contract with Butcher & Barlow.

I joined Butcher & Barlow LLP in April 2018 as a paralegal, working within the Family Law team at the Runcorn office.

At the outset, I was provided with a great amount of responsibility and a varied workload. I assisted two experienced fee earners who provided me with a good balance of supervision and freedom, in order to afford me the opportunity to develop my legal skills independently.

My main tasks on a day-to-day basis included attending clients in order to obtain initial instructions, drafting instructions to Counsel, preparing court documents relating to divorce proceedings and preparing witness statements.

At the beginning of 2019, I was trusted to attend Manchester Civil Justice Centre on a daily basis for four months to support a Client who was subject to Care Proceedings. I was supporting a Junior Barrister and Queen’s Counsel Barrister. This experience enabled me to develop essential client facing skills and gave me an insight in the Court process and the preparation needed to in Family Litigation cases.

One benefit of working at Butcher & Barlow is that I was, when needed, able to assist other fee earners within the office which meant that I gained experience in Private Client and Commercial litigation matters whilst at Runcorn.

In June 2019, I moved to the Conveyancing department working from both Sandbach and Bramhall.

Experiencing the differing approach of two fee earner was interesting and gave me insights to use in my career.

I began my Training Contract in September 2019. My first seat was in the Commercial Property department at Gadbrook Park, a seat that I had been excited to begin.

During my time working within the Commercial Property department, I was given tasks such as:

  • Reviewing leases and providing summary reports to be used by fee earners and clients;
  • Dealing with registrations of leases;
  • Deducing property titles; and
  • Preparing reports on title.

I was pleased to assist with a high value transfer of an estate sized in excess of 1000 acres.

In March 2020, I moved seat to the Commercial Litigation department. From the start of my seat in Commercial Litigation I was provided with my own cases to run on a daily basis. I am afforded a great amount of trust in order to independently research the relevant cause of action in each new matter we receive. My supervising partner, Alex Sandland, provides me with support and guidance which has developed my legal skills to a great extent and has allowed me to appreciate the day-to-day role of a solicitor.

Throughout my time at Butcher & Barlow I have been provided with hands on experience and responsibility. The close working relationship between the trainees and the supervising partners allows the maximum level of opportunity to learn and develop.

The benefit of working at a regional firm is that you are completely involved in every element of a matter from start to finish as opposed to being limited to one particular element, thereby gaining a thorough overview.

How to apply


Fill in the application form here and return it on line with your CV and covering letter. We’ll get in touch if we like what we see asking you to come in for a first interview.


If that goes well, you’ll be asked back for a second interview.

Apply for a Vacation Scheme

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