Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May will NOT offer legal apprenticeships

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

Government-led Trailblazer scheme is not so magic, say elite City duo


Magic circle duo Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May have no intention of introducing new legal apprenticeships into their current recruitment model it emerged today.

The latest apprenticeship programme is the new government-backed Trailblazer scheme which combines a part-time LLB with on-the-job paralegal-level work. Geared towards school-leavers the route can lead to qualification as a solicitor in just five years. Law firms that choose to embrace the new route to qualification receive a state subsidy to cover apprentices’ law school fees.

Wharf-based giant Clifford Chance and uber-elite outfit Slaughter and May have said thanks, but no thanks, with both firms opting to stick with their current recruitment models, according to the Law Society Gazette.

Speaking to Legal Cheek earlier today, Clifford Chance — which currently offers around 100 training contracts annually — confirmed that the new apprentice route wasn’t something it was looking to explore. Instead, the firm says it will focus its efforts on breaking down barriers to entry and make its current graduate recruitment method more accessible.

Meanwhile, Slaughter and May told Legal Cheek that it didn’t have “any current plans” to adopt the government’s apprenticeship scheme.

Earlier this week fellow magic circle outfit Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer revealed it would be offering legal apprenticeships, with the firm’s Manchester hub being earmarked as the prospective launch site. The Anglo-German practice aims to have something up and running within “the next 12 months”, though it still isn’t clear whether the firm is looking to adopt the government-led Trailblazer scheme or another type of apprenticeship. The latter would result in non-graduate qualification as a chartered legal executive, an alternative type of lawyer.

Late last year Eversheds announced it was embracing the Trailblazer movement. Teaming up with BPP Law School, the corporate heavyweight announced it would take on eight young apprentices this September.