Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May will NOT offer legal apprenticeships

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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.



But how many women would they have recruited, that’s what we want to know!


Tired old granddad

Yeah and meanwhile the Pope’s a Catholic.

Spectacular journalism today, Tommy, really, I mean it.



Trailblazer schemes are a silly idea.

University isn’t simply for academic learning, it also develops and matures you.

I do a non-law subject at Uni, and never had any plans to pursue a career in law. I was always quiet, and believed myself to be too inarticulate and shy to be a solicitor.

However, I became very passionate about debating. This improved my articulation and self-confidence enormously.

I also had the opportunity to ‘explore’ vocations. I met people who studied different subjects, and attended plenty of career fairs. All of this convinced me to become a solicitor.

The truth is that very few people know what they wish to do at 17/18. In University you are given many opportunities which will inevitably shape you.

It is not wise to place a school leaver into a professional work environment. You are essentially locking them into one career without the possibility of exploring other avenues.



Many of us become passionate about ‘debating during uni. All the pent up frustration needs to be released somehow.


S Hardwick

Apprenticeships are a great idea and many people don’t join them at school leaver age but later as an alternative to University or when they’ve had several years work experience. Apprenticeships are a good idea for many reasons such as providing access to careers without University debt, combining real work experience with relevant learning, and creating a loyal workforce that has learnt the skills most relevant for your business. It’s interesting that this business isn’t embracing apprenticeships, but it would be more interesting to understand why as it seems like the perfect way to break down the barriers to graduate entry.



I’d say that work experience matures you much more than the student bubble.



Due to inflation and devaluation of the word “top”, it has become necessary to choose a more powerful superlative to describe things. I’m liking this experiment with “uber-elite”, I hope it is a sign of things to come.


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