Stephenson Harwood embraces earn-while-you-learn solicitor apprenticeships

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By Thomas Connelly on

City player also launches £15k a year scholarship fund in diversity push

Stephenson Harwood is the latest law firm to launch a solicitor apprenticeship programme.

The six-year course sees school-leavers split their time between the firm, undertaking paid paralegal/trainee-level work, and completing their legal studies at BPP Law School.

Stephenson Harwood says the apprentices, who start on a salary of £20,000, will have access to the same opportunities as trainees — including spending time across practice groups, getting involved in international and client secondments and being supervised and supported by partners and associates throughout the programme.

Six places are up for grabs when applications open this October, with the first cohort joining the firm in September 2021.

A number of big legal players have already embraced the alternative route to qualification as a solicitor including Mayer Brown, Burges Salmon, Eversheds Sutherland, Dentons and even magic circle player, Freshfields.

At the same time, Stephenson Harwood has announced the creation of a sizeable new scholarship fund to help lighten the financial burden that comes with pursuing a career in law.

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The three scholarships will provide students with £15,000 per year to cover the costs of university fees and contribute to living expenses. The firm says successful applicants will also be given a mentor from the firm, invited to insight days and employment workshops, as well as being provided with work experience and guaranteed a place at an assessment centre for a training contract.

“Widening access to the legal profession is something which I am particularly passionate about,” Stephenson Harwood’s chief executive, Eifion Morris, said. “Of course it’s the right thing to do, and we all know that diversity — in all its forms — is so important in any successful business. But, for me, this one’s personal.”

He continued:

“I grew up in a rural village in West Wales, in a family where one grandfather had been a miner, and the other a farmer. The progression to higher education is something that was a natural expectation by most of my colleagues, however that is not true for everyone and wasn’t my experience growing up. I was one of ten grandchildren and the first and only one to go to university.”

“We need more diversity in law, more people who may have thought that a career in law is not for ‘people like them’ and that’s what these programmes seek to support,” he added.

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