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A&O becomes first magic circle firm to embrace solicitor apprenticeships in London

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Six apprentices to start in September 2022

Allen & Overy has launched a solicitor apprenticeship scheme in London, becoming the first of the magic circle to do so. The new programme is targeted towards school leavers and leads to qualification as a solicitor.

A&O is recruiting an initial cohort of six apprentices to start in September 2022 on a salary of £25,000.

They’ll have the opportunity to earn whilst working and studying towards a law degree and the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) over a period of six years. A&O has partnered with BPP Law School for the provision of training.

A&O apprentices will spend time in the firm’s legal practice groups, but also have the opportunity to work in Fuse, the firm’s legal tech hub, as well as the markets innovation group, legal tech, eDiscovery and project management teams.

The apprenticeship is open to all students completing their A-Levels in 2022, and the firm said it hopes to attract “a socio-economically diverse pool of high-achieving pupils”. It runs parallel to A&O’s existing training contract scheme, which is aimed at graduates.

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James Partridge, graduate recruitment partner and training principal, said:

“I am so excited to be able to launch this important alternative route to becoming a solicitor. At A&O we strive to be open, accessible and inclusive and we understand that we have a key role to play in creating and offering opportunities in the legal profession. This apprenticeship programme is about doing just that. I look forward to welcoming our first apprentices and supporting them on their journey to a career in law.”

A number of City law firms have established solicitor apprenticeships that incorporate training under the new SQE regime. Norton Rose Fulbright and DLA Piper last month announced solicitor apprenticeship programmes in London and Manchester, with Norton Rose launching a separate scheme for paralegals in Newcastle.

Freshfields is the only other magic circle member to offer solicitor apprenticeships but from its Manchester hub, and these are only open to the legal support assistants based there.

The SQE, a two-part national assessment to be set and examined centrally, comes into force on 1 September 2021.

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14 Comments

IB tho

This is absolutely fantastic. Worked for law in the past, works for accountants now, and should open access to the profession / improve diversity of perspective.

(20)(4)

Touker

Being locked in for 6 years at A&O sounds like a punishment

(30)(3)

k

sounds amazing!

(3)(0)

A

“A socio-economically diverse pool of high-achieving pupils”. If you are “high-achieving” why on earth would you opt out of the uni route and sign up for a £25k a year gig?

(7)(4)

Anonymous

True say.

(2)(0)

fax

Because the uni route doesn’t combine a degree with 6 years of experience working in a law firm, making connections with both junior and senior members, whilst also being paid a salary on top, meaning no tuition fees at all. Seems to me like the real high achievers would be much more drawn to this route.

(9)(5)

Old guy

Definitely.

(1)(0)

SavetheKrill

Because there is much politics and wokeness force fed to uni students. Uni is an ethics free zone where raw power rules. Some people can do without this tatty phase in their lives. Here in Australia this proposal seems to be a blend of the old articled clerk and non-degree solicitors qualification. High achievers are not always the go. Many people grow and thrive as time goes on.

(0)(5)

Dynamite

Because there is much politics and wokeness force fed to uni students. Uni is an ethics free zone where raw power rules. Some people can do without this tatty phase in their lives. Here in Australia this proposal seems to be a blend of the old articled clerk and non-degree solicitors qualification. High achievers are not always the go. Many people grow and thrive as time goes on.

(0)(3)

Anonymous

Because they pay all of your uni fees on top of the salary and you get your undergrad plus qualification alongside 6-7 years of relevant work experience.

That’s much better than getting into student loan debt and graduating from the LPC/SQE with no work experience at all.

(10)(0)

fax

100%

(2)(0)

well-wisher

Well yes, but that assumes that BPP counts as a university. Fair point re student debt if taken in a vacuum, but this scheme means locking oneself into 6 years of low-level work at A&O, foregoing any reasonable quality of higher education in favour of what is a law degree only in name from BPP, all in the hopes of qualifying via a route whose value in the market remains untested.

If you are a captive candidate (ie, one who would otherwise be 100% certainly unable to afford university within the next 3-5 years), it may be an option. To all others, I recommend asking themselves if BPP University would be their top choice for a law degree (or any degree) apart from the tuition fees and MC name appeal of this scheme.

(14)(0)

Jax

This sounds alright, but will others follow? Here’s the value of a law degree and GDL going down in my opinion

(2)(2)

SavetheKrill

University is not for everyone – it is a bit of a fascist, woke and power based institution, and not everyone wants to go through that mill. It sounds like a useful addition to the existing degree/after degree training.

(0)(2)

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