Kennedys launches SQE-ready solicitor apprenticeship for graduates

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By Thomas Connelly on

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.

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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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