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Accountancy giant Deloitte in ‘SQE training contract’ first

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First ten up for grabs from today

Accountancy giant Deloitte is making further inroads into the legal profession with a new training contract programme specifically designed for the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

The Big Four player’s legal arm, Deloitte Legal, is looking recruit ten rookie solicitors to commence their legal training from September 2020, qualifying as solicitors under the new SQE regime in 2023. Applications open today.

Deloitte says the new three-year-long “SQE Training Contracts” will allow law students to take up their place straight out of university, enabling them to start earning immediately while gaining qualifying legal work experience before sitting the SQE1 and SQE2.

This differs from the current — and more common — arrangement where students do not start their training contacts until they’ve passed the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

Deloitte confirmed it had been working closely with the University of Law (ULaw) to develop an “innovative training programme” to prepare future trainees for the SQE, which is set to replace both the LPC and Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) when it comes into force in force in September 2021.

Deloitte told Legal Cheek that it has a policy not to disclose salary information, but did confirm that the training contract will initially be available in its London office.

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Michael Castle, UK managing partner for Deloitte Legal, said:

“The legal training environment is undergoing significant change to contend with a rapidly evolving legal landscape. Deloitte Legal is in the fortunate position of being able to immediately adopt the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam, allowing us to be at the forefront of what is undoubtedly an exciting new era in legal education and training.”

Professor Andrea Nollent, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of ULaw, added: “It has always been hugely important for us to nurture the next generation of legal talent. With the new SQE Training Contracts allowing students to experience the real legal world earlier in their career and education, we are now able to team with leading organisations such as Deloitte to continue our aim of providing a more practical and hands-on legal education.”

Deloitte’s inaugural TC offering comes just over a year after it was awarded an alternative business structure (ABS) licence, allowing it to provide reserved legal services in the UK for the first time. Deloitte told us at the time that plans to launch a training contract programme remained “under review”.

Elsewhere across the Big Four, PwC currently takes on around 30 trainees each year, while KPMG announced back in 2015 it was offering training contracts but has remained tight-lipped about exact numbers ever since. EY launched a training contract scheme around the same time with no minimum educational requirements, however a message on its website appears to suggest it’s not currently recruiting.

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13 Comments

Big Boris

As the SQE prerequisites demand that, in order to sit the SQE, one must hold a university degree in any discipline, it is a little unsettling that this method of recruitment will carry with it the risk of recruiting people with absolutely no working knowledge of the law. Risque

Anonymous

Disagree. Rather, it opens up the profession to a more diverse range of applicants. People do non-Law degrees all the time and then switch across. How is this any different?

Trump- et

It’s different in that you’re directly throwing trainees in the deep end who hasn’t a single clue about the law. Your example of people from non-law degree is different to this case in the sense that non-law degree holders must undertake some form of legal studies (GDL, LPC or BPTC) prior to starting. Deloitte’s recruitment policy doesn’t require you to have sat the SQE 1 to start the job.

Lawyer

Big 4 are a joke. Massively overrated pillars of crony capitalism. Soviet levels of efficiency. Law firms have nothing to fear

Anonyman

I can’t help but think that lawyers who work for one of the Big Four wouldn’t be able to not have a chip on their shoulder…knowing that they are working for an accountancy firm rather than a law firm. Or am I wrong?

Anonymous

Definitely wrong. What do you know about what lawyers at the Big 4 do and their professional backgrounds?

Anonyman

I know that they typically hire individuals from leading international firms, so the legal pedigree is undoubtedly there.

But at face value, would most lawyers not rather work for a well established international law firm instead of being based with a vast corporate conglomerate that is effectively a ‘Jack of all trades’?

Anonymous

I am currently sitting the LPC and have recently accepted a paralegal position with a member of the big four.

My aim is to finish the LPC and complete my training contract with the member. From my research, I have come to the conclusion that this is a great career move due to exponential growth, and the member’s values and working environment — but it would be interesting to obtain some insight.

For example: where does the big four & the ABS structure compare to the traditional law firm model? & how does having a big four brand name on one’s CV help/hinder career career prospects going forward.

Any and all views are welcome.

Truther

Big 4 does low value work. Use the paralegal experience then join a real law firm.

QMUL Law Student

Kirkland or Big 4 TC offers from both any advice please?

Headhunter

Kirkland as it will give you solid training in a well established firm with decades of proven high quality mandates

Very Senior Associate

I don’t think that was a legit question Mr. Headhunter!

Anon

Much in the same way that I have a chip on my shoulder because I work at Ashurst and not Slaughter and May, I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like to be a lawyer at an accountancy firm.

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