Kennedys launches SQE-ready solicitor apprenticeship for graduates

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New 30-month TC alternative enables trainees to earn while they learn

Law firm Kennedys has launched an alternative to the traditional training contract that combines on the job training with preparation for the upcoming solicitor super-exam.

The new route, dubbed the Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship (GSA), sees law graduates join the firm straight from university, or for non-law graduates after they’ve completed a conversion course.

The 30-month programme, six-months longer than a standard TC, allows trainees to earn while they learn, spending four days a week at the firm developing the skills they would have been taught on the Legal Practice Course (LPC), and one day a week at BPP Law School in preparation to sit both part one and part two of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) towards the end of their training.

Kennedys — which will continue to offer conventional training contracts for graduates, and paralegal apprenticeships for school leavers — says it’s looking to take on its first 13 GSA newbies next autumn: six in London, three in Birmingham, two in Cambridge, and one each in Manchester and Taunton.

They will earn the equivalent to those trainees on Kennedys’ traditional TC, which Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows is £38,500 in London and £27,500 in the regions for first year trainees, rising to £41,000 in London and £30,000 in the regions for second years.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Commenting on the new route to qualification, Kennedys’ HR director Caroline Wilson said: “Introducing the new SQE route to qualification will allow us to attract and train people from a much wider range of backgrounds, as graduates can start earning as soon as they commence the Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship.”

She continued:

“Kennedys has always embraced providing opportunities to all and following the success of our Legal Apprenticeship, launched in 2012, we wanted to introduce this new route as soon as we could to enable talented graduates to qualify at Kennedys.”

News of the programme comes ahead of the launch of the SQE in autumn 2021, which the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) hopes will bring greater flexibility to solicitor training. Under the new regime, wannabe lawyers will still have to complete at least two years of on the job training but can opt to split this time between up to four legal organisations, while completing skills training that is currently done during the LPC.

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Disgruntled Applicant

This is BTEC


Nervous Paralegal

I am very unclear as to where this new system leaves those who have completed the GDL. Will firms still offer training contracts via the traditional route for a few years? There has been very little word on this to date.


Legal Officer with a 2:ii

If you have to wait “a few years” for a TC you probably ain’t gonna cut the mustard mate. Tough but fair.


Old Codger

Do these Kennedys make good monktraps? It’s time I’ve bought a new pair and Church’s are a tad too pricey.



I completed the LPC in 2009, but started working in financial sector. Would you suggest there would be a way for me to train as a solicitor. The financial services firm does not offer in house TC or alternative route to qualify. Thanks


Legal Officer with a 2:ii

No way. Give up now matey boy. Your LPC long since expired and if you didn’t get a training contract In 11 years you ain’t getting one now amigo.



Thanks for sharing your perspective. I have a 2:1, but believe it or not even though I completed the LPC, I did not apply for training contracts. My personal circumstances were difficult, so I got myself a job and started working. I guess I should just get over the idea.



I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that. Your experience will be valuable and many law firms gravitate towards older trainees who have experience in other areas. You won’t lose anything by submitting some applications and seeing how far you get.



It is an interesting proposal. I think it could work, but we need to remember that one glove does not fit every hand. In a room you may have some talented young lawyers, but you could also have some good-for-nothing p*ssyholes. How do we go about separating them?



I agree. Too many good-for-nothing p*ssyholes in the profession.



Quite right. Need to get rid of the dog dirt.


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