The Macfarlanes training scholarship

The Macfarlanes training scholarship is a unique programme developed within the firm and delivered in partnership with Brunel Law School at Brunel University London.

We want to find and recruit the most talented people to become the future of our firm. The Macfarlanes training scholarship has been designed to tackle the socio-economic barriers that discourage talented students from joining the legal profession.

The firm will support three Brunel law students annually – known as Macfarlanes training scholars – through a fully-funded programme from the first year of their law degree onwards.

The firm will cover the full cost of university tuition fees, alongside paid work experience, a paid placement year at the firm, and mentoring from senior lawyers throughout. This significantly reduces the financial burden faced by many socially-mobile graduates when they enter the workplace and gives participants the opportunity to develop their legal knowledge and skills, while building their networks in the profession.

Applications open: Monday 8 January 2024

Applications close: Friday 23 February 2024

Assessment day: Friday 19 April 2024

Apply now. 


The Macfarlanes training scholarship is open to first year LLB law students (on either the three- or four-year programme) who meet the firm’s social mobility criteria, as set out in Rare Recruitment’s contextual recruitment system. The criteria include:

  • lower socioeconomic background; and/or
  • receipt of Free School Meals/Pupil Premium; and/or
  • first-generation university student; and/or
  • state-educated; and/or
  • care-experienced status; and/or
  • refugee/asylum-seeker status.


The scholarship lasts for the duration of a scholar’s degree programme. Scholars are selected during their first year of study and are assigned a mentor – who is a senior fee earner at the firm – from the first day of their scholarship. Scholars are mentored throughout their degree and beyond.

In the summer between first and second year, scholars join us for six weeks’ paid work experience. In their third year of study, scholars undertake a paid placement year at the firm. Some or all of the placement year will count towards qualifying work experience (QWE), and scholars will be mentored throughout the placement year to help them get the most out of the experience.

After the placement year and graduation, the hope is for all of our scholars to sit the SQE and join our trainee cohort.

Meet our scholars

The first cohort of Macfarlanes training scholars was announced in May 2023. That same month, our scholars – Daniel Benchabbat, Sarah Gashi and Dhruv Kotak – visited our London office for an introduction to the firm and to meet their mentors. In the video below, you can hear from each of our scholars about how they found their first day and what they’re most looking forward to about the scholarship experience.

We are very excited to be announcing these initiatives which will help to ensure that the talented students of today become the leading lawyers of the future.
Catherine Morgan-Guest Senior Manager, Early Legal Careers


How are tuition fees paid?

We anticipate that first year students will have taken out a tuition fee loan via Student Finance. When the Macfarlanes training scholars finish their first year of study, Macfarlanes will repay the tuition fee loan to the Student Loans Company. At that time, scholars will cancel their tuition fee plan and the firm will pay future tuition fee instalments directly to Brunel. This means that Macfarlanes training scholars will leave university with much less student debt.

Is the summer work experience paid?

Yes, the work experience is paid. We pay all of our work experience participants, no matter which programme they join us on, at the level of the London Living Wage.

How does the placement year work?

The placement year takes place in the third year of study. Macfarlanes training scholars take a year out of study to join us as full-time employees between September and the following August of the relevant year. Scholars will receive a job description, a competitive salary and will be able to count some or all of the placement year towards their qualifying work experience (QWE).

I'm a Brunel student who is not eligible, what can I do?

Even if you’re not eligible for the training scholarship, we still want to hear from you! We’ll be on campus at Brunel regularly, so please do come along to our events and workshops. Check out our early legal careers webpages and consider applying to join us on a first-year insight scheme, vacation scheme or one of our other events.

I'm not a Brunel student, what can I do?

We recruit from a wide range of universities – so please don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions at all. The early legal careers team are more than happy to help with your queries. Please get in touch or come along to one of our events to find out more about us. Check out our early legal careers webpages for more information.