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Training Contract Programme

At Covington, we view the Training Programme and Summer Placement Schemes as fundamental to the growth of the London office. Our trainees benefit from a carefully tailored programme. Each trainee sits with a senior lawyer who ensures they are exposed to meaningful work in a supportive environment. They are also assigned an associate mentor and will enjoy regular contact with the training principal and HR team.

We currently offer up to nine training contracts each year.

What We Look for in Candidates

Candidates must be able to demonstrate a consistently impressive record of academic achievement. In particular, we look for strong grades at A-level (minimum ABB/128 UCAS points or equivalent) and candidates must be predicted to achieve (or have achieved) at least a 2:1 in their undergraduate degree.

However, whilst being academically strong is important, we look for much more than that. The candidates we choose are sharp, articulate and quick thinking in interview. They have confidence and composure, but also honesty and humour. We ask ourselves: ‘Will I enjoy working with this person, and will they impress our clients?’

Trainees have supported our partners and associates with clients such as:

Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Subsidiaries

We acted on an investment treaty arbitration against Venezuela. In addition, we acted in a companion international arbitration case against PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned petroleum company.

Facebook

We have advised Facebook in connection with its acquisitions of Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp and other entities.

Illumina

We worked on its strategic alliance agreement with Genomics England in respect of sequencing genomes of patients with cancer and rare diseases as part of a four-year UK government project to decode 100,000 human genomes.

American Express

We provided cybersecurity training and support including advising on incident response planning and mobile phone payment security issues.

Building Energy

We advised Building Energy, a multinational company operating in the renewable energy industry with the development and financing of the R5 billion 147 MW Roggeveld Wind Farm in South Africa.

Microsoft

We have advised Microsoft on a wide range of e-commerce, IP, and data protection issues.

Hilton Hotels

Successfully defended the main shareholder and director of a hotel conglomerate against a minority shareholder claim alleging unfair prejudice and dishonest conduct in connection with the management and operations of a L500 million group of Hilton hotels.

The NFL

We have represented the NFL on a variety of matters, including acting in relation to the licensing of Wembley Stadium for the International Series games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency and UK Anti-Doping


We supported WADA and UKAD in addressing the privacy concerns of athletes subjected to drugs tests.

Tencent Holdings

We advised on the acquisition of a majority stake in Supercell from SoftBank for $8.6 billion. Supercell has developed some of the most popular mobile-based games in recent times including Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Boom Beach, and Hay Day.

Training, Development, and Support

Trainees begin their time with the firm by attending a comprehensive induction programme. The induction provides an introduction to the firm, outlines the structure of the training and gives guidance on the trainee evaluation process and the training contract record system. Detailed seat guides are also provided at the outset and each trainee will have a handover meeting with the trainee vacating their particular seat. Trainees also get receive comprehensive on-site training about the firm’s marketing, IT, and research. Trainees meet as a group with the Training Principal, the Graduate Recruitment Partner, and the Legal Recruiting Professional Development team, who discuss some practical ‘dos and don’ts’ to help trainees get the most out of their training contract. Trainees will continue to have close contact with all three, and they are available on an ongoing basis to provide advice and guidance.

Supervisors will provide trainees with work, supervise and manage work flows, provide day-to-day feedback and guidance, as well as formally evaluate trainee performance at the mid-seat and end-of- seat stage. In addition, all trainees have an associate ‘buddy’ who is available to provide informal mentoring and advice, have regular contact with the Training Principal and Professional Development team, and attend all relevant team meetings relevant to the seat they are in. Trainees document their progress against the Skills Standards by maintaining a regular, monthly training contract record.

Our training programme ensures that the formal training, as stipulated by the SRA in their Skills Standards, is provided and that more informal professional development opportunities and on-to-one support are also available. During the course of the training contract, trainees will participate in all practice group training sessions on offer, in addition to taking part in all broader skills-based development programmes run by the firm. Professional Skills Course training is compulsory and is comprised of three core modules and 24 hours of electives, which trainees are responsible for selecting and scheduling. This training is delivered by an external provider.

There are regular opportunities for trainees to get together socially and there is a dedicated trainee social budget. All trainees also travel to a firm-wide integration seminar in Washington DC at the beginning of their second year.

All trainees undertake the following two seats.

Corporate

Our corporate clients range from start-ups to established multinationals, and include investment banks and investors. Given the firm’s particular strengths, much of our work is within the pharmaceutical/life sciences, energy and clean energy, brands, technology and media industries. Our work includes premium cross-border M&A deals, complex worldwide licensing and collaboration transactions, international project development and finance advice to emerging companies and their investors, capital markets fundraisings and private equity fund transactions and formations.

Dispute Resolution

Lawyers in our dispute resolution practice advise companies across a wide variety of industries. Often our work is in ground-breaking, complex fields and we have advised on significant high profile cases both in international arbitrations and High Court litigation.

The practice also comprises one of the largest and most sophisticated corporate crime and investigation practices in Europe. We advise our multinational client base on a range of issues including bribery, money laundering, embezzlement and securities fraud.

Trainees choose two elective seats from the areas below. Whilst individual preferences are not guaranteed, we make every effort to satisfy trainee requests and tailor the training contract to specific interests.

Employment and Incentives 

Covington’s international employment practice helps multinational employer clients manage HR-legal compliance projects. Our work includes the preparation of global policies and codes of business conduct, expatriate secondments/global mobility, multi-country project management, cross-border M&A, corporate restructuring, and litigation. Current projects in which we are involved include business and human rights-related compliance initiatives, and gender pay gap reporting requirements.

Life Sciences Regulatory

Covington is widely acknowledged to have one of the world’s top life sciences practices. We advise companies and trade associations, including many of the major multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers, biotechnology companies, and producers of medical devices, cosmetics, foods, food packaging, specialty chemicals, and consumer products. 

Our advice covers a wide range of regulatory, transactional, and contentious matters. We represent our clients before regulators, policymakers and the national and European Courts. The group has been heavily involved in most of the major regulatory developments in recent years.

Technology and Media 

We advise clients on a variety of technology and media issues, as well as copyright, patent, trademark, and IP law matters. 

Our expertise spans such diverse topics as data protection, data security, e-commerce, digital health, social media, online apps, behavioural advertising, geolocation tracking, and biometrics, to name just a few. Our public policy and government affairs team works closely with us, helping clients shape technology, IP, and related laws pending before the European institutions and national legislatures.

Project Development and Finance

Our team advises private companies and international governments on a variety of energy and infrastructure projects. The core geographic focus of the team is in the Middle East and Africa and the London team works very closely with colleagues based in our other offices, in particular Dubai, Johannesburg, Seoul, and the U.S. We advise on all stages of project development including structuring, drafting and negotiating the complex contractual arrangements required to facilitate the procurement, construction, operation, and financing of projects. We work on both conventional and Shari'ah compliant financing structures.

Real Estate/Tax

The combined real estate and tax practice seat gives our trainees the opportunity to experience two busy and vibrant practices in the same six-month period. Our real estate lawyers represent clients in all aspects of their acquisition and development projects, commercial leasing activities, financing transactions and construction projects and regularly counsel major corporations and developers of property. Our tax team works closely with our clients on matters including structural tax planning for global businesses; transactional tax planning for mergers, acquisitions, sales and restructurings; resolving tax controversies and the implementation of efficient remuneration strategies. Our clients range from venture backed early stage biotech companies to some of the largest multinational corporations, sports teams and foreign governments.

The firm offers trainees the chance to go on secondment to either a client or to the Brussels office. Client secondments present valuable opportunities to understand the way our clients’ businesses work, and to develop strong relationships with in-house legal teams our trainees may be working with in the future. Trainees enhance their legal skill-set, develop greater commercial awareness and build levels of confidence. And we know our clients are delighted with how they operate - because they tell us.

A secondment to Covington's Brussels office provides an opportunity to work in the EU competition law practice group (working with other practice groups may be possible). The team advises clients on a range of issues - cartels, abuse of dominance, mergers and State aid - and represents them in front of the European Commission, national competition authorities and national courts. Trainees will work primarily in English, though other languages, in particular French and German, are an asset.