Six-month pilot launches in February 2021
DWF is set to launch a new lawtech seat aimed towards trainees with backgrounds in technology and STEM subjects.
The pilot, which launches in February 2021, will see one trainee work within DWF’s legal tech team, where they will help lawyers and clients solve problems through document automaton, artificial intelligence and e-discovery.
Though the initiative will be advertised as a regular seat which all DWF trainees can apply for, the listed firm will focus particularly on attracting STEM graduates and those with tech experience. The seat pilot will last for six months, after which it will be reviewed. If successful, another DWF trainee will start the seat in September 2021.
Commenting on what drove the stock market-listed outfit to launch a lawtech training seat, Jamie Whalebone, DWF’s director of legal consultancy and transformation, told Legal Cheek:
“With demand growing for the central legal technology team, increased interest from clients for technology driven service delivery and an engaged trainee population, we felt we had the right elements to drive forward the next phase of the plan.”
DWF isn’t the firm to introduce a tech-focused training seat. In 2018, Addleshaw Goddard rolled out a six-month seat within its innovation and legal technology group. That same year, magic circle firm Clifford Chance went one step further, unveiling a full training contract specifically geared toward tech-minded wannabe lawyers. Meanwhile, elite City firm Allen & Overy created a legal tech grad scheme which mimics the structure of a training contract.
News of DWF’s tech seat follows the firm’s announcement this summer that it is ditching its traditional training contract programme in favour of a new super-exam friendly graduate apprenticeship. The 32-month programme — which will be partly funded by the government’s apprenticeship training levy — will see rookies initially study full-time, preparing for and sitting part one of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), before completing two years of qualifying work experience. If rolled out more widely, DWF’s new lawtech seat could play a role in the training programme, which comes into force from January 2022.
The STEM-focused seat also follows the firm’s decision to scrap specific A-Level requirements for training contract seekers, in hopes of attracting and recruiting talented individuals from all backgrounds.
STEM Future Lawyers is the UK’s dedicated law careers network for STEM students looking to make the leap into law. Since its launch in 2016, STEM Future Lawyers has grown to over 1,500 members, all of whom are STEM students. You can sign up to STEM Future Lawyers, which is a Legal Cheek sister site, here.