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Linklaters launches grad scheme for legal operations roles

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Two-year TC alternative covers key business functions including project management, innovation and pricing — but doesn’t lead to solicitor qualification

Linklaters has become the latest law firm to launch a two-year graduate scheme that will run in parallel to its training contract.

The new programme, led by Stewart Chippindale, director of legal operations at Linklaters, will see successful applicants spend the majority of their time within one of Links’ four core operational teams, developing what the magic circle player says is the “complex skills” they will require to succeed in their new roles.

The four teams are: alternative legal services (offering a range of “alternative resourcing solutions” for clients); innovation (using technology to improve the way the firm’s lawyers work); knowledge and learning (offering a range of tools to “enhance the capabilities” of clients); and matter pricing (using “innovative tools to support pricing decisions” for clients).

Linklaters says it will look at a candidate’s experience, career goals and assessment centre performance before placing them in a team that suits them best. Those who make the cut will also have an opportunity to undertake placements within the other legal op teams, to ensure they gain a broader understanding of how each functions.

Commenting on the programme — which does not lead to qualification as a solicitor or mimic the structure of a training contract — Chippindale said:

“Linklaters is all about delivering excellent client service and our new Legal Operations function is designed to help us do just that. Legal operations brings together our network of business experts into a single, integrated team, all focussed on providing the best possible service for our clients.”

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Candidates will have a minimum of a 2:1 degree, in any subject, as well as strong interpersonal skills, commercial awareness, motivation and problem-solving skills. The firm declined to comment on how much the grads would be paid but did confirm that on completion of the scheme, they will have have an opportunity to apply for a permanent role.

This isn’t the first time a City law firm has offered graduates an alternative to the traditional training contract.

Ashurst offers a series of so-called ‘new law’ roles in areas including legal operations and legal project management through its ‘Advance Pathway’ programme, while Allen & Overy has a tech-focused grad scheme that leads to a project management qualification. Elsewhere, Norton Rose Fulbright has a similar two-year programme geared towards grads who have a wider interest in law, technology and innovation.

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