The European Law Students' Association (ELSA) is the world's largest network of law students and young lawyers. ELSA is present in 44 countries in Europe with over 400 local chapters and nearly 70,000 individual members.


ELSA is politically impartial and independent. Through its activities, ELSA promotes inclusive legal education and social responsibility of the next generation of legal professionals globally in the spirit of mutual respect and cultural awareness.


The Student Trainee Exchange Programme (STEP) is ELSA's oldest Flagship Project. STEP provides law students and young lawyers with legal work experience in the form of STEP Traineeships. These opportunities are offered by Traineeship Providers active in different jurisdictions and legal sectors.


STEP is administered by ELSA which includes:


• Receiving and verifying all Traineeship Specification Forms submitted by Traineeship Providers;

• Promoting the STEP Traineeship vacancies twice a year;

• Verifying all STEP Application Forms submitted by applicants;

• Communicating directly with Traineeship Providers and applicants;

• Facilitating the initial contact between Traineeship Providers and applicants;

• Assisting the Trainees before and during the STEP Traineeship.


* The final choice of Trainee candidates is always made by Traineeship Providers.


ELSA supervises the proper execution of STEP Traineeships.


STEP Trainees are supported before and during the STEP Traineeship vacancy. Each STEP Trainee is assigned to a hosting ELSA Group that is in charge of proper reception of the STEP Trainee before and during the vacancy.


STEP Traineeships are offered in different jurisdictions around the world.


STEP provides a cross-cutting picture of the true diversity of the legal professionSTEP Traineeships may be offered at any organisation active in the legal sector, e.g. law firms, non-governmental organisations, intergovernmental organisations, legal clinics, courts, consultancy firms, publishing houses, research institutes, law faculties...


In the autumn application cycle of 2019, ELSA provided over 250 STEP Traineeship vacancies at over 170 Traineeship Providers operating in 33 different countries in and outside of Europe.



STEP Trainees are adopted in the work environment as the Traineeship Provider's team members.


The tasks of each STEP Traineeship may vary. They are decided by each Traineeship Provider respectively. Traineeship Providers may seek STEP Trainees for general supportive tasks or specific projects requiring specific skills.


The details of and requirements for each STEP Traineeship vacancy are explained in the publication of the vacancy during the application period on the STEP website.


Providing STEP Traineeships through ELSA is free. The only requirement is that the Traineeship Provider must provide sufficient remuneration for the STEP Trainees for their work.


ELSA members may apply for free for STEP Traineeships.


External Applicants, i.e. individuals based in a country where no ELSA Group exists, may apply for STEP Traineeships against the payment of a €25 fee to ELSA International via PayPal.


There are two STEP application periods per year in the spring and the autumn, respectively.


The start dates and duration of STEP Traineeships varies dependent on each Traineeship Provider. These details are explained for each STEP Traineeship in the publication of the vacancy during the application period.


Can I apply despite the coronavirus?

During the spring 2021 application period for STEP Traineeships, ELSA offers both "normal" on-site STEP Traineeship vacancies, which require physical presence throughout the Traineeship period, and online STEP Traineeship vacancies, which are done remotely from the Trainee's home office.


The start dates of on-site STEP Traineeships are often negotiable directly between the Trainee candidates and the Traineeship Providers.

This way, the start of the on-site STEP Traineeships requiring physical attendance in the given location can be adjusted to the prevailing circumstances rather flexibly.


Additionally, certain on-site STEP Traineeships are offered flexibly online.

This means that the final decision whether a STEP Traineeship is conducted on-site or online is negotiated directly between the Trainee candidates and the Traineeship Providers.

This way, the execution method of the STEP Traineeship can be adjusted to the prevailing circumstances rather flexibly.


ELSA does not promote or encourage defying restrictions on international travel and social distancing.