Med neg giant combines with ULaw to launch solicitor apprenticeship with law degree
New Fletchers programme modelled on law school’s scheme with Mayer Brown
The movement to minimise wannabe solicitors’ debts by having them ‘earn while they learn’ continues today with the news that medical negligence giant Fletchers is combining with the University of Law (ULaw) to offer a new law degree solicitor apprenticeship.
The scheme will see school-leavers work full-time at the firm while completing an undergraduate law degree, LLM and Legal Practice Course (LPC) part-time at ULaw over six years. At the end of that time, the rookies — who won’t have to pay tuition fees — will be fully qualified solicitors, with no need to do a training contract.
Fletchers’ tie-up with ULaw comes after the law school unveiled a similar “articled apprenticeship” programme last year with the London office of international megafirm Mayer Brown.
ULaw’s rival, BPP, has also been working on similar projects, with a flagship solicitor apprenticeship with Eversheds set to commence from the autumn.
Legal market chatter suggests that several more big name firms could join the solicitor apprenticeship trend as City Law School and CILEx Law School also move into what might prove to be a major growth market.
For now, though, numbers on these schemes remain fairly low. Fletchers is initially taking on three apprentices under the terms of its deal with ULaw — they’ll start in September — while Mayer Brown currently has two lawyers-to-be on its scheme. Eversheds is taking eight apprentices this year, but it’s not known how many of those will actually go on to qualify as solicitors.
Applicants for Fletchers’ programme are restricted to students at a local school, King George V College in Southport, with which the firm has links, although internal candidates will also be able to apply.
Fletchers’ CEO Ed Fletcher said:
We’ve long advocated the investment in young talent, as part of our long-term plan to ‘grow our own’ people and harness talent within the firm that fits in with our core values. And what better way to do it than to grow this talent within the firm? I also think it’s incredibly important that we encourage diversity in the law profession — not everyone can afford the burden of spending years at university and not earning at the same time, so an apprenticeship is a great alternative.
Professor Andrea Nollent, provost and chief academic officer at ULaw, added:
We are delighted that Fletchers is grasping this new development opportunity for its current staff and future employees. We are confident that the practical nature of the programmes offered by The University of Law, alongside substantive work based learning, will deliver considerable enhancement to Fletchers’ future workforce.