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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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