DSO Two-Year Solicitor Traineeship Programme 2024

Find out more about the DSO Solicitor Traineeship Programme and how to apply.

What does DSO do?

The Departmental Solicitor’s Office (DSO) is part of the Department of Finance and operates at the legal heart of government providing excellent legal advice, counsel and representation so as to serve, enable and empower government bodies in Northern Ireland to achieve their objectives within the rule of law.  It does so by providing key legal advice and services to all Northern Ireland Ministers and Departments in a complex constitutional, political and legal environment. 

How many placements are there?

This competition is to fill two opportunities for a Solicitor Traineeship within the Department of Finance (DoF).  The successful applicants will be based in the Departmental Solicitor’s Office (DSO), Litigation Division, at our modern office on 2nd floor of Lanyon  Plaza, close to the Royal Courts of Justice and Laganside Courthouse.

What is the criterion?

At the time of closing date of applications (12 noon (UK time) on Thursday  18  July  2024), you must hold an offer from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies of a confirmed place on the solicitors' course subject only to obtaining a Master. A copy of the letter must be enclosed with the application.  Application forms without a copy of the letter enclosed will not be considered.

Why should I apply to DSO?

If you seek a diverse and truly unique training experience as well as a solid foundation on which to build your legal career, then DSO is perfect for you. The DSO 2-year Trainee Solicitor Programme offers so much more including;

  • second to none experience working on some of the highest profile and most interesting legal cases in this jurisdiction
  • support from colleagues with knowledge in a variety of specialisms
  • access to a wealth of resources
  • a friendly and supportive working environment
  • a salary of £22,011 
  • payment of 50% of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS) fees

How to you apply?

Completed application forms must be returned by email to Mary.Owens@finance-ni.gov.uk or via post to Mary Owens, Departmental  Solicitor’s  Office, Litigation Division, 2nd Floor, Lanyon  Plaza, Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3LP no later than 12  noon (UK time) on Thursday 18 July 2024.

Please refer to the Candidate Information Booklet (CIB) before completing your application form and retain a copy for your reference.

See what our past and present trainees say about DSO

Since 2019, DSO has a track record in producing highly qualified solicitors, with everyone who successfully completed their traineeship with DSO quickly securing employment. Below are comments from some of DSO’s former trainees.

Niamh Gollogly
Niamh Gollogly (centre)
“As a trainee solicitor with the DSO, you get first hand exposure to unique public law issues, learning from senior colleagues with vast experience and receiving bespoke training which elevates your on-the-job understanding.  The traineeship was a highly rewarding experience and there was a warm and friendly environment in which to learn.  I would really recommend the DSO trainee solicitor programme, it’s a great place to begin your legal career.”

Niamh Gollogly, Trainee Solicitor, 2019-2021.

Éadaoin MacRandal
Éadaoin MacRandal
“I completed my training contract with DSO in October 2022.  While I was sad to leave DSO, I was lucky enough to join the Crown Solicitor’s Office upon qualifying where I have had amazing opportunities to build upon everything I learnt during my training.  I will shortly be moving to London to join the Government Legal Department, where I am looking forward to developing my legal skills and interests further - something that I feel my time in DSO has equipped and motivated me to do!”

Éadaoin MacRandal, Trainee Solicitor, 2020-2022.

Lauren Goudie
Lauren Goudie
“My time at the Departmental Solicitors Office provided me with so many opportunities and learning experiences.  It was a pivotal part of me achieving my goals and graduating as a solicitor.  Being based in the Litigation Division, I participated in many high-profile cases, from judicial reviews to high value personal injury claims, and as I came closer to the end of my training contract, I then got my own case load, under supervision.  I also had the opportunity to work on cases belonging to other teams in DSO, such as employment and insolvency cases.  This hands-on experience put me in the best position when my training contract came to an end, and I was starting my career as a newly qualified solicitor.  The support provided to me throughout by not only my Master, but the rest of my team and the wider DSO was instrumental, and I cannot recommend the solicitor training contract at DSO enough.”

Lauren Goudie, Trainee Solicitor, 2021-2023.

Gemma Ross
Gemma Ross
“I am now at the IPLS studying as a Trainee Solicitor with DSO and I am loving every minute of it.  The training and exposure I received during my placement year and during my training contract is second to none and I urge anyone who is thinking about either the placement year or the training contract to apply as I never looked back."

Gemma Ross, Trainee Solicitor, 2023-2025.

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