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Big Four accountancy giant EY launches law training contract — and you don’t need a 2:1 or top A-levels to apply

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Applicants to be selected via online tests

EY-london

Accountancy and professional services giant EY has launched a training contract for wannabe solicitors — with no minimum educational requirements.

EY opened applications this week for eight TCs for which candidates are not required to have a 2:1 or even three Bs at A-level.

Instead the firm is inviting anyone who wants to be a lawyer to apply and is assessing them via a series of online tests which EY describes as:

A new and enhanced suite of online ‘strengths’ assessments and numerical tests which are designed to assess the potential of applicants.

That numerical element may concern law students, who are traditionally awful with numbers. But the chance for people who’ve messed up their A-levels and degrees to become a solicitor with one of the world’s biggest firms means that there will doubtlessly be plenty of applicants.

Hopefuls shouldn’t hang around, though. While most law firms’ training contract deadlines aren’t until summer next year, EY is closing its applications at the end of this month — with its deadline on Monday 30 November. Interviews and assessment centres take place in December.

Those who bag the positions will be able to start earlier than trainees at big City law firms, with four commencing their EY TCs in September 2016. The other four will follow the traditional law firm two-years-in-advance schedule and begin in September 2017. They will earn £39,000 in their first year and £44,000 in their second year.

EY will cover the cost of successful applicants’ Graduate Diploma of Law and Legal Practice Course fees — if they haven’t completed these courses already — plus provide a maintenance grant of between £6,000 and £,7000 to cover living expenses.

EY is not disclosing information about pay when the trainees qualify. But it has made explicit one upside its trainees will enjoy — unlike at law firms, they won’t have to apply to be taken on full-time at the end of their training contracts, instead automatically becoming associates in the UK legal team.

The new recruits will be able to do seats in corporate, commercial, employment, financial services and tax — so none of the high end banking & finance areas that trainees experience at top law firms.

But the work is likely to be of a mid-tier City law firm level, and EY says trainees “may have the opportunity” to do an international secondment. With the global behemoth boasting a terrifyingly vast network of 700 offices across 150 different countries, they will have plenty of options to choose from.

EY received its alternative business structure (ABS) license last December and has already built a UK legal services team containing 50 lawyers. The plan is to grow by 25% over the next 12 months — hence the need for the graduates — and expand to 150 by 2020.

Reflecting on the news, EY UK legal team chief Philip Goodstone commented:

We have big ambitions for the growth of the team and a training contract programme will allow us to develop and nurture top talent in house. Our trainees will gain experience in the full spectrum of EY’s legal services, but will also benefit from working side-by-side with colleagues from across EY in our tax, assurance, corporate finance and advisory practice. We will offer our trainees a fantastic opportunity to gain a rounded view of the business world, in addition to honing their legal skills.

Goodstone also gave some details about the sort of students he is after, explaining:

What we’re really looking for are graduates who are personable, practical, technical and flexible — people who have a positive mind set and a pro-active approach. We want people who will embrace change and want to be at the forefront of developing a new, multi-service legal business in the UK and globally.

The truly “CV Blind” recruitment process operated by EY came into force in August following a similar move by Big Four rival PwC — and applies across EY’s graduate roles, not just the law ones.

20 Comments

Anonymous

“Doubtlessly”, indeed!

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Hmm, I’m pretty sure those with poor academics will still struggle to get in, despite the lack of advertised standards for this.

(15)(2)

Anonymous

Come on, don’t think like that, you can do it.

(2)(0)

Bristol Uni Lawyah

The moment I noticed they will require a numeracy test my body was filled with a nameless dread – I knew I will never be a trainee at EY Legal.

(17)(0)

Anonymous

PwC Legal isn’t “CV blind”. They only recruit for TC through the vac scheme.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

A Levels and Degree classifications are an indicator of intelligence.

This new test is an indicator of intelligence.

Thus, I expect a strong correlation between those being recruited and those with excellent exam results.

Which makes you wonder just what the point of this new test is.

(15)(7)

Anonymous

Correlation isn’t causality.

While dependent on the choice of test used it could be a much purer reflection of general intelligence than exam/degree results.

There is also the possibility that the testing may include a personality element, which is something many law firms currently neglect.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

“Correlation isn’t causality.”

Correct, but that had nothing to do with the point I was making.

Which was that the two tests will tend to select the same people. This is the correlation I’m talking about. I’m not making any causation claims.

(2)(2)

Anonymous

No they will not idiot…

(0)(4)

Anonymous

Vac schemes and interviews are partially personality tests. A few arseholes get into good firms, but by and large they are checking the way you present yourself and your ability to communicate your ideas.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What happens if you’re really intelligent, with great grades, but you just can’t do more maths than fractions?! Are you suddenly too stupid for EY?!

(9)(2)

Anonymous

EY are accountants not a law firm perse that’s why they are fixated on figures..,

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Better deal than PwC Legal.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Yet they still ask for your degree grades and a full breakdown of your academic history in your application form, sounds like bs…

(10)(0)

Anonymous

where can I apply? cannot find details anywhere

(1)(0)
(0)(1)

Not Amused

The move by big employers away from trusting degree grades is a worrying trend.

There are huge problems with the degree system – universities are playing fast and loose with grade boundaries and massaging figures. But those problems should be tackled and solved.

Instead employers will create a new problem by relying on their own testing – which is frankly often devised by some questionable people. Issues such as rich born kids being tutored for the tests will soon emerge.

(11)(1)

Tyrion

Exactly, the system will be gamed eventually even if this sort of thing becomes more widespread. If this sort of thing becomes mainstream, the issue I have is that those who work hard to get good grades at school and Uni all of a sudden are told that counts for nothing and they have to start at the same level again as some of those who coast. So what is the incentive to work hard and get into a good university to then get a good job?

(6)(3)

Anonymous

Like in all thing the rich shall and do inherit the world…

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Hi, my name is boxxie

(0)(2)

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