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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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