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Hogan Lovells teams up with ULaw to launch Birmingham-based paralegal apprenticeship scheme

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Firm will take on its first new recruit next month

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International giant Hogan Lovells has unveiled a new paralegal apprenticeship scheme at its legal services hub in Birmingham.

Teaming up with the University of Law (ULaw) and apprenticeship specialist Damar Training, Hogan Lovells will offer a two-year programme to school leavers which combines on-the-job training with academic study.

With participants eventually qualifying as paralegals, the firm hopes the scheme will provide an attractive alternative route into the legal profession. But expect to work hard: according to Hogan Lovells, the new programme will combine “foundation-level” legal knowledge with the “technical rigour expected of a high-performing paralegal.”

The new apprentices will be based within the firm’s real estate and corporate finance departments at its legal services centre in Birmingham. Opened in 2014, the hub recruited its first trainee lawyers earlier this year.

Hogan Lovells — which offers around 60 London-based training contracts annually — has confirmed that its first apprentice will start next month, with the aim of expanding the programme in the coming years. While it’s still not clear what they can expect in terms of remuneration, similar schemes operated by the likes of DWF pay between £11,000 and £15,000 a year.

Michael Gallimore, head of the legal services centre at Hogan Lovells, said:

This is a first for Hogan Lovells and an important development for us in continuing to ensure that we are finding the best talent for the business. Apprenticeships offer access to highly capable and bright students who are seeking to forge a career in law, via an alternative path. We look forward to welcoming our first apprentice to the firm in early 2017.

Earlier this summer Anglo-German giant Freshfields Bruckaus Deringer launched a similar scheme at its low-cost legal services centre in Manchester. Again teaming up with ULaw, the firm stressed it was keen to create a more flexible and less costly route into law.

But unlike Mayer Brown, Eversheds, Burges Salmon and Dentons — firms which aim to train their apprentices all the way up to solicitor level — Hogan Lovells’ new scheme stops at the paralegal stage.