The law sandwich degree is here
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has teamed up with the London office of US giant Reed Smith to offer an LLB with a placement year spent working at the firm.
The four year sandwich degree — to be known as the “Law in Practice LLB” — is the first of its type in law and comes with a guaranteed interview for a training contract at Reed Smith.
During the year effectively working as paralegals the students will receive the London Living Wage of £17,000 — the same amount typically paid to legal apprentices.
They will do spells in both the firm’s transactional and litigation departments, and get a taste of life in the firm’s non-law business support teams.
There is also a chance, hinted Reed Smith learning and development director Nigel Spencer, that candidates will get to spend time at one of the firm’s plentiful network of international offices.
“We will be very open to adding in students’ requests. We want to be able to tailor the experience to their wishes,” he said.
The programme will begin in September next year, with five current QMUL first year students to be chosen to spend their third year at Reed Smith. They will then return to uni to complete their final year — hopefully having bagged a training contract.
The plan is to then up the numbers doing the scheme to ten in 2017 — approaching half of the 24 training contracts offered by Reed Smith each year.
Looking ahead, entry to the placement will continue to be decided at the end of students’ first years, with candidates applying via an online form containing training contract-style questions about why they want to work at Reed Smith. They’ll also be asked to complete a “strengths-based test”, before being interviewed by the firm.
The chosen ones will then have to complete consulting and project management modules in their second year alongside their standard law courses before starting at Reed Smith the following year.
Valsamis Mitsilegas, the head of law at QMUL, said that that new sandwich degree “reaffirms our commitment to deliver real-world, practical experience, alongside traditional educational approaches and academic excellence that students expect.”
Reed Smith firm profile [Legal Cheek]