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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Slave labour.

Crock of sh1t.



£18,000 in London? I guess you could just buy a load of newspapers and sleep outside the office #diversity



“Corporate hotshot Pinsents”


Ex-FBD Paraweasel

The FBD scheme is a joke, there is no infrastructure in place for it. It is entirely at the initiative of the paralegal, who has to drum up partner and associate support while not being assured of receiving the relevant work to fulfil the criteria. It is a hollow gesture aimed at motivating under-paid and over-skilled workers into the years of bundling and document review from which City paralegals are already fleeing into other industries.






Sand in your vagina much?



Agreed – I’m paralegalling for a year before starting my TC. Not to offend, but I have no idea how people do this for a career. Pay is crap, tasks are as dull as dishwater and you are looked down on by just about everyone.



Yep, unless you have a TC lined up and you make it known to pretty much everybody, they will treat you like an item. I remember being referred to as a “vital tool” by one of the partners.

That said, paralegaling had good aspects about it too. For one, I was actually able to get holidays without any major bollocks and to actually spend Christmas with my family. There was a good degree of flexibility and the hourly pay meant potentially a lot of money, if one was willing to work overtime.



Yeah very true! Although, I can’t actually afford to go anywhere on holiday!


Former paralegal

I have never come across ‘overtime’ as a paralegal. The places I worked just paid you a salary and expected to get as many hours as possible out of you as and when needed. They may not have mentioned it if you left the office ‘on time’, but I’m sure it affected who they were willing to take on long term.

Paralegal is not a good option for a career. Shit pay, fixed-term contracts repetitive and mundane tasks and you are usually treated like a dogs-body. If you can’t get a TC fairly promptly then don’t stay. But who takes former paralegals and do they progress onto anything other than more of the same basic admin tasks?



Cheap labour. Oh dear.



Aka cheap labour – soz pinny masons, that ship sailed with beasting Mayor Brown


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