Clifford Chance appoints ULaw as exclusive SQE prep course provider

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By Thomas Connelly on

First rookies start next summer

Clifford Chance’s London office

Magic circle law firm Clifford Chance has appointed The University of Law (ULaw) to help prepare its future trainees to sit the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), it confirmed today.

Following a successful tender process, the tie-up will also see ULaw become the exclusive training provider of the Legal Practice Course and the Postgraduate Diploma in Law for the Canary Wharf-based giant.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List shows CC is one of the largest training contract providers in the City, with an annual rookie intake of around 95. The first LPC intake will start at ULaw in July 2022 while the firm’s first SQE recruits will commence studies in 2023.

Previously, CC sent future rookies to ULaw before switching to market rival BPP University Law School in 2014. Seven years on, it’s now switched back.

Commenting on the new deal, Peter Crisp, pro vice chancellor external at ULaw, said:

“Our partnership with Clifford Chance, one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms, will see us providing market-leading legal education for the firm’s future legal talent and supporting them as they take the next steps in their legal careers. We look forward to working with Clifford Chance and welcoming the firm’s talented future trainees to ULaw.”

The 2021 Legal Cheek SQE Provider List

Michael Bates, UK managing partner at Clifford Chance, added: “Our partnership with The University of Law builds on this ethos and longer-term investment in innovative and multi-dimensional training which allows our lawyers to have a more holistic understanding of our clients’ needs — giving both their careers and the firm a distinct advantage.”

The competition among legal education providers to secure big City contracts has been slowly building over the past year or so.

BPP struck an early blow when, in late 2019, it was appointed the exclusive training provider of the City “consortium” — an influential group made up of Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, Linklaters and Slaughter and May. Elsewhere, new UK entrant BARBRI has signed deals with the likes of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (alongside BPP) and Reed Smith. Expect more tie-ups to be announced in the coming months.

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