The Government Legal Service (or GLS as it is more popularly referred to) is the organisational name for of about 2,000 lawyers employed in 30 central Government Departments.
GLS lawyers advise Government Ministers and officials on their powers and responsibilities, litigate on their behalf and ensure that official decisions comply with the law.
The GLS is a unique legal practice in the sense that it has only one client—the Government; and the scope of work done by GLS lawyers ranges from domestic, public and administrative law, to European Union (EU) legislation and international human rights.
The GLS offers training contracts and pupillages on its ‘Legal Trainee Scheme’.
Over a two year training contract, trainee solicitors spend six months each in four seats, with a compulsory seat each in litigation and an advisory practice. Work and on-the-job training depends upon the GLS department in which trainees are placed, but cover the basic essentials of research, drafting, negotiating, advocacy and advisory services.
The structure of GLS pupillages will vary according to Department. In most, pupils will either spend the first six months, or middle four months, in a set of Chambers and the remainder with their Departmental legal team. Throughout your pupillage, they will be involved in the wide range of work in which their Department and Chambers are involved. You will also get to attend court (with a supervisor), carry out research for other lawyers and draft opinions.
Formal training includes a detailed induction into the GLS, training modules on administrative, civil and criminal law, EU laws, human rights and legislation, general management and professional skills and in certain instances, external training programmes for external qualifications, language training and any other relevant subjects.
All training positions are based in London, across various government offices in Whitehall, Westminster and Holborn.
Internships & Placements
Vacation schemes at the GLS are targeted at those who are eligible to apply for the GLS trainee scheme. The vacation will involve working alongside other lawyers and trainees in casework, liaising with clients, observing hearings and attending talks.
Applications for the 2015 GLS vacation scheme are expected to open in April 2015.
There are no apprenticeships offered by the Government Legal Service
School Leaver Programmes
Salary & Benefits
First year legal trainees receive a salary between £23,900 and £24,600. In the second year of a training contract, trainee salaries will be in the range of £25,300 and £26,500.
The GLS will also pay your LPC or BPTC fees in full, if you have not started the course. If you have already started the course, most departments will make a proportional payment based on the time remaining. Unfortunately, the GLS cannot reimburse you for the LPC or BPTC you have successfully completed.
If you study for the LPC or BPTC on a full-time basis, you may be eligible for a grant between £5400 and £7600 for the vocational year.
Benefits also include annual holidays of 25 days, Civil Service pension scheme, the Civil Service Healthcare scheme, membership of the Civil Service Sports and Social Club at low membership fees and full-service staff restaurants and catering facilities.
Applicants must have or be predicted a minimum 2:2 in an undergraduate degree. This does not have to be in law. You will also need to have completed a GDL, LPC and BPTC before starting training in September 2014, 2015 or 2016. You will also be eligible if you hold a Certificate of Academic Standing from the Bar Standards Board or Solicitors Regulation Authority. Fellows of CILEx who have satisfied at the SRA’s academic stage will also be eligible.
The GLS look for applicants to be able to make effective decisions, leadership and communication skills, the ability to work as part of a team that have a motivation to work hard and progress in their training and career.