Pinsent Masons launches ‘earn while you learn’ paralegal programme as it reveals solicitor apprenticeship hopes

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Firm follows in footsteps of Freshfields and DWF

Pinsent Masons has announced it will be delivering an apprenticeship programme that at this stage stops at paralegal level, but has told Legal Cheek it hopes to open up the gates to aspiring solicitors in the longer term.

The 20 ‘earn while you learn’ apprenticeships will be delivered in collaboration with The University of Law (ULaw), which also exclusively provides the postgrad courses for Pinsents’ future trainees. Remuneration-wise, the apprenticeship has an £18,000 starting salary in London and £15,500 in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Deborah McCormack, head of recruitment and graduate development at the international law firm, said:

Providing innovative new pathways into our business and profession through a blend of graduate and apprenticeship opportunities widens the talent pool we have access to and the ways in which candidates can engage and connect with Pinsent Masons.

Corporate hotshot Pinsents is not the first firm to launch a paralegal apprenticeship scheme.

Legal Cheek reported back in August 2016 that magic circle titan Freshfields had teamed up with ULaw to open a similar route at its low-cost legal services centre in Manchester. DWF, based in the Walkie Talkie building, also has a government-backed paralegal programme.

Some firms go further. Instead of limiting non-graduate staff to the rank of paralegal, the likes of Eversheds Sutherland and Mayer Brown run apprenticeships that train candidates all the way up to solicitor level.

While this isn’t quite on the cards for Pinsents just yet, McCormack did tell us:

Longer term, our aim is to support bright legal apprentices through to qualification as solicitors via this new route, and will be looking at how best we achieve this in due course alongside the introduction of the Solicitor Regulation Authority’s (SRA) new Solicitor’s Qualifying Examination (SQE). 

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