Macfarlanes launches ‘app scheme’

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By Thomas Connelly on

TC hopefuls can now get the ‘trainee experience’ via their phones

Macfarlanes has created a new mobile app that it says will give wannabe lawyers a flavour of life as a trainee at the City law firm.

The free app features a range of “mock trainee tasks” which have been modelled on real matters across a range of the firm’s key practice areas, including corporate and M&A, finance, litigation and private client.

It has been developed in-house by the firm’s graduate recruitment and lawtech teams, with solicitors and trainees helping create the tasks. It also offers TC hopefuls an insight into Mac’s culture as well as key information relating to its vacation scheme and training contract programmes.

The firm, which recruits around 33 trainees each year, says it has created the app to make work experience opportunities at City firms more accessible to all, “regardless of location and background”. It noted that many aspiring lawyers have other commitments and cannot easily spend two weeks in London, where the vast majority of these opportunities take place.

Screenshots of the app

Commenting on the launch of the Macfarlanes trainee experience, training principal Jat Bains said:

“Given the superb effort across the firm to create bespoke tasks for our virtual vacation schemes, and the concerns that many of us have around the negative impact of lockdowns upon access to the legal profession, I am pleased that we can give anyone who wants it a sense for what the job might entail and how a lawyer has to think.”

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He continued: “It’s fantastic that, through the use of technology, firms can open the gates to the ‘playing field’ wide open and allow people from all backgrounds to have the chance to see at least some of what those who gain a place on a vacation scheme can experience. We are hopeful that this approach will better prepare candidates for success when applying for a training contract at the firm of their choice.”

A raft of City firms cancelled their vacation scheme and open day programmes when the pandemic struck, with many going on to offer virtual alternatives. Now, with in-person work experience opportunities looking set to return, law firms appear keen on retaining and developing their online offerings in order to attract a wider and more diverse range of TC seekers.

Earlier this year Clifford Chance launched an online programme which sees sixth-formers complete lawyer-set tasks, while Linklaters created a virtual offering that allows students to rotate through the firm’s key practice areas, much like a training contact. Other firms to launch similar programmes include Hogan Lovells and Slaughter and May.

Keen to find out more about life at the firm or a life in law more generally? Why not sign up to the Legal Cheek UK Virtual Law Fair. It takes place on Thursday 4 November, between 2-5pm, and features 70 law firms, including all the magic circle and leading US firms’ London offices, international firms, and national firms across the UK.

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