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Freshfields launches new Manchester-based paralegal apprenticeship scheme

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Magic circle outfit teams up with ULaw to create alternative route into the profession

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Anglo-German giant Freshfields Bruckaus Deringer has launched a new paralegal apprenticeship scheme at its low-cost legal services centre in Manchester.

Teaming up with the University of Law (ULaw) and apprenticeship specialists Damar Training, Freshfields will offer a two-year earn-while-you-learn programme that will see aspiring paralegals combine academic study with on the job training.

The apprentices — who will study at both ULaw’s Manchester branch and online — will cover a number of key subject areas including the English legal system, contract law, corporate law, and legal and business skills.

With the aim of providing a more flexible and less costly route into the legal profession, the first two apprentices will start at Freshfields this October.

The head of the legal services centre at Freshfields, Olivia Balson, said:

This is a fantastic opportunity for the Legal Services Centre and for our future apprentices. The Legal Services Centre plays a significant role in adding value and efficiency to our global clients, and it is vital that we continue to attract and develop the very best talent and maintain our reputation as an employer of choice. We want to encourage wider access to law and possibilities for progression for the very best talents. These apprenticeships offer a flexible route for talented students to join the legal profession and opportunities to those already in the firm to nurture these talents.

But unlike other firms such as Eversheds and Mayer Brown, which aim to train their apprentices all the way up to solicitor level, Freshfields’ new scheme stops at the paralegal stage.

The paralegal recruitment drive comes just a year after the magic circle colossus opened its legal services hub in Manchester.

Freshfields — which currently offers around 80 London-based training contracts annually — set up the centre to handle the firm’s less glamourous ‚Äúrepetitive legal work”. And the move appears to be have been a success.

Last October the City giant confirmed plans to double the size of its northern operation, putting pen to paper on an 80,000 sq ft lease, due to start early next year.