Who can apply for STEP Traineeships?

Law students, graduates, and young lawyers who are ELSA members may apply for STEP Traineeships.

When can I apply for STEP Traineeships?

The application period for STEP is open twice a year.

The autumn application period is open from 18 November 2019 until 9 December 2019.

The spring application period is open from 13 April 2020 until 4 May 2020.

Where do STEP Traineeships take place?

Business sector

STEP Traineeships are offered in a wide range of law-related areas at e.g. law firms, legal departments of companies, legal advice centres, courts, governmental organisations, NGOs, and publishing houses.

Geographic location

In addition to European countries, STEP Traineeships may occasionally be offered in other parts of the world as well, e.g. the USA, India, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Tunisia.

What is the role of my ELSA Group?

Sending ELSA Group

Your "sending" Local/National ELSA Group helps you with the application procedure and verifies your application.

Hosting ELSA Group

(1) The main contact between you and the Traineeship Provider;

(2) Helps you to prepare for your arrival;

(3) Supports you with finding accommodation, administrative procedures, etc.;

(4) Helps you to integrate during your stay (e.g. social events, meeting with local students, etc.)

What is the procedure?

Contact your local ELSA Group

Contact your local or national ELSA Group, and check your ELSA membership.

Ask the local/national STEP Officer to provide you with further information about STEP and the application procedure, if necessary.

Submit the online Student Application Form

The Student Application Form (SAF) appears on the main page when the applications for STEP Traineeships are open.

Read the instructions carefully, including the terms and conditions of participation.

Get your application verified by ELSA

After submitting the SAF, you may be contacted by your local/national STEP Officer asking for supportive information to verify and process your application.

Make sure to provide the requested information within the timeframes indicated by the STEP Officer in order for your application to be forwarded eventually to the STEP Traineeship Providers!


Wait for the selection results

The STEP Traineeship Providers make the final selection of trainees, and you will be notified by ELSA International about the result via email with further instructions.

You may be requested for an interview by the STEP Traineeship Provider. Nevertheless, note that you may not contact the STEP Traineeship Providers out of your own motion with the risk of cancelling your participation in STEP.


When do STEP Traineeships take place?

STEP Traineeships may take place around the year. The exact start and ending dates are indicated by the Traineeship Provider in the advertisement unless they are flexible i.e. negotiable.

STEP Traineeships may from two weeks up to two years. The average length is 4-6 weeks, and many of the opportunities take place during the summer holidays.

For the first application period (deadline on 9 December 2019), the earliest start date is from 3 February 2020 onwards.

For the second application deadline on 4 May 2020), the earliest start date is from 29 June 2020 onwards.

What are the benefits of an internship abroad?

1) You gain valuable work experience in the legal field of your choice;

2) You further your skills as an internationally-minded lawyer of tomorrow by honing your understanding of comparative law in practice and other legal systems and traditions in practice; 

3) You are appreciated – you bring the international element together with your unique set of skills that the Traineeship Providers specifically were looking for;

4) STEP sets you apart – having worked and lived abroad is not just a good conversation starter but an element setting your CV and future applications in the spotlight;

5) You expand your professional and social network in a new country;

6) You get to know different cultures and even improve your language skills;

7) You will receive a STEP Certificate of Participation from ELSA International after participating in a STEP Traineeship.

What is the application fee?

Applying for STEP is free of charge, i.e. there are no administrative fees. You just need to have a valid ELSA membership.

If there is no ELSA group in your country, the application fee is €25. Contact ELSA International for further information at step@elsa.org.

Are STEP Traineeships paid?

There are both paid and unpaid STEP Traineeships. The rate and type of remuneration are specified for each STEP Traineeship opportunity individually in the description/advertisement. 

How do I know if I have been selected for a STEP Traineeship?

In case you are selected for a STEP Traineeship, you will be informed via email by ELSA.

Do not contact the STEP Traineeship Provider before the selection results are published/communicated!

Can I cancel my application?

When the application period is open, you may withdraw your application by simply informing ELSA.

After the applications have closed, you may cancel your participation in the programme only with valid reasons as stated in the general terms and conditions of participation elaborated in the Student Application Form.

When are new STEP Traineeships published?

STEP Traineeships are published twice per year on the STEP website, usually in November/December and April/May.

The first patch is published on 18 November 2019 (deadline on 9 December 2019).

The second patch is published on 13 April 2020 (deadline on 4 May 2020).

What if the dates do not work for me?

The dates of the traineeships may be negotiated between you and the Traineeship Provider usually only if the dates of the traineeship were stated to be "flexible" in the advertisement/description.

Who makes the final selection?

The Traineeship Provider chooses the trainees from a list of applicants matching the specified requirements of the former.