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Flexi training contract specialist launches SQE scholarship for Black aspiring lawyers

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Accutrainee’s diversity initiative sees it team up with City outfits including CMS

A flexible training contract specialist has launched a scholarship programme which aims to help Black aspiring lawyers secure training contracts or qualifying work experience (QWE), as well as cover the costs associated with sitting the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

Accutrainee is looking to place graduates of Black heritage into a range of top law firms and other businesses where they will complete the necessary work experience requirements to qualify as a solicitor under the new regime.

The scholarship has no minimum grade requirements, however the company says it’s looking for university graduates who “identify as having Black heritage with a genuine passion and interest in law with a strong desire to qualify as a UK solicitor”.

Companies already signed up to the programme include international law firm CMS and the Open Banking Implementation Entity, a body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority to deliver open banking.

Accutrainee — founded by former Hogan Lovells banking & finance associate Susan Cooper in 2011 — says it is at various stages of discussions with other law firms, both small and large, with the aim of having multiple organisations join the programme in the near future.

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For candidates undertaking the SQE path to qualification, Accutrainee hopes to cover the cost of the prep course and exams through the scholarship too, although it tells Legal Cheek that with many law schools still to reveal their fees, this cannot be guaranteed at this stage.

It is currently running assessment centres, with the first group of scholars taking up their roles in March.

Commenting on the new diversity scholarship, Cooper said: “Quality and diversity have always been at the forefront of everything we do at Accutrainee. Although we have high numbers of BAME individuals in our trainee cohorts, it has always been clear to us that a lot more can be done, particularly in relation to specific sub-sections of the wider BAME group. Throughout their entire qualification process, we will be offering scholars the same quality training, mentoring and support we have become known for, to help them develop into well-rounded 21st century lawyers.”

She continued:

“We are therefore incredibly excited to be launching this scholarship programme and of course very proud to be partnering with organisations like OBIE and CMS. We look forward to bringing other sponsor organisations on board to help make a meaningful impact to the widely acknowledged benefits of greater diversity within our profession.”

Michael Cavers, early talent partner at CMS, added: “We are dedicated to expanding opportunities for the BAME lawyers of the future and are pleased to sponsor Accutrainee’s scholarship programme. This great initiative will help us, and we hope other firms, continue to improve BAME diversity in the workplace. We look forward to welcoming programme scholars to CMS.”

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12 Comments

Equality advocate

Is it not racist to offer opportunities to people solely on the basis of their skin colour?

I completely support any scheme which aims to increase access to the legal profession from underrepresented backgrounds, but can we not be honest that these people come from pretty much every race and religious group in this country and offer them all the same chance on merit?

(40)(18)

Observer

The real issue — and the one they should be addressing — is aspirating black lawyers from poor and working-class backgrounds. With no information to the contrary, I have a suspicion that this will only benefit the affluent and privately educated – with a RG education. Overall, this move will enable the provider to virtual signal from atop Mt. Everest whilst also garnering the candidate they’ve always sought out.

By extension, this also excludes potential candidates form every other race from a poor and working-class background.

Overall, this achieves nothing – and is pure virtue signalling.

(26)(3)

Observer

Aspiring**

(2)(3)

Anon

Quite. Ryan and Hannah from the local comp need help, too.

(8)(2)

Rachel

I’m take aback by this. This literally is asking for only one race to apply for the job, which is literally racism and does not comply with the Equality Act 2010? This is unfair on other races who have experienced similar difficulties, but don’t get a look in because they’re not the race the employer is looking for!! Truly disgusted that this is praised. Everyone deserves equal rights, no one deserves more rights than others solely because of their skin colour.

(26)(7)

Sense

At its core, the aim of this initiative is to promote and help aspiring solicitors with a “genuine passion and interest in law with a strong desire to qualify” (as given in the text). To place a qualification of eligibility only to black aspiring lawyers I think misses the point. It should not matter whether you are black, white, or any other race or ethnicity that comes in between the two ends of that spectrum. For instance, BAME is not restricted to black individuals, yet there are no such diversity schemes for asian individuals. The aim is sound, but it makes no sense to have it restricted only to black individuals, the focus should be promoting access to all race and ethnicities.

(18)(4)

Dislike ignorance

‘yet there are no such diversity schemes for asian individuals, that I know of.’

Fixed it for you.

(4)(7)

Temi

I am extremely disappointed by the number of comments that have mentioned the word “racism” in relation to this scholarship scheme. You clearly do not understand the word racism or have opened your eyes wide enough to look around the country we live in, or even the stats in the legal profession. I am extremely worried for your various clients that they have ignorant people like you for representatives.

(14)(42)

Anon

What a vacuous comment.

(21)(4)

A

I really doubt anyone on here doesn’t know what racism means. Treating someone of one race less favourable that you treat someone of another is not a hard concept to grasp.

And reading the comments, I’m quite confident that the concept has been applied correctly.

(25)(2)

Anon

Why would you post the quit law to live on a boat story, without allowing comments? What’s the point?

Good for the girl who quit.

(2)(0)

Tom

1% Black candidates in big law
Vastly more Black candidates come from less socially mobile backgrounds
White priviledge is a thing
Is the MOBO awards racist – if you ansered yes to that, think it about it a bit longer
BLM – is not ALM – if you find youself thinking it should be ALM, you need to think a bit longer, maybe even do some research.

(8)(28)

Comments are closed.

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