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Core and Elective Seats

Our principal practice and industry groups are corporate, dispute resolution, life sciences, and technology and media.

The demarcation between these areas is not rigid and lawyers frequently work across groups, and work closely with other offices. Trainees will complete four six-month seats during the course of the training contract, which consists of two compulsory core seats (corporate and dispute resolution), and two elective seats (these include employment and incentives, life sciences, technology and media, and client secondments).

All trainees undertake the following two seats.


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, and technology, media and communications industries. Our work includes: premium cross-border M&A deals; complex worldwide licensing and collaboration transactions; 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.

Life Sciences 

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. 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, e-health, social media, online apps, behavioral advertising, geolocation tracking, and biometrics, to name just a few. Our public policy and government affairs team work closely with us, helping clients shape technology, IP and related laws pending before the European institutions and national legislatures.

Client Secondments

For the trainee, a client secondment presents a valuable opportunity to understand the way our clients’ businesses work, and to develop strong relationships with in-house legal teams they 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.