Hill Dickinson replaces TCs with apprenticeships in training shake-up

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New graduate pathway sees aspiring lawyers juggle legal work with SQE studies at ULaw

Hill Dickinson is replacing its traditional training contract programme with a new graduate apprenticeship pathway that sees would-be lawyers split their time between the office and law school.

The firm, which recruits around 20 trainees each year, joins a growing number of outfits rethinking their training programmes in response to the roll-out of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) earlier this year.

From next month, Hill Dickinson’s first crop of apprentices will study towards and sit SQE1 with help from The University of Law (ULaw) before joining the firm in December. At this point they will prepare for SQE2 alongside completing two years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE).

The outfit confirmed it will be accessing the government’s apprenticeship training levy to help fund the new programme.

Commenting on the new approach, Hill Dickinson human resources director Carolyn Morgan said:

“We are keen to build on our excellent partnership with ULaw to develop a programme that supports our future solicitors to develop to their full potential. We also recognise the need to rethink how we attract the next generation of Hill Dickinson lawyers so that our people fully represent the diversity of the communities we serve. For us, that has meant starting with a fresh approach to training and we believe this partnership can deliver that.”

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Graduate solicitor apprenticeships should not be confused with the more common solicitor apprenticeships. The former is aimed at those who have attended university while the latter is geared towards school leavers. Both do, however, lead to qualification as a solicitor.

The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows Hill Dickinson’s London rookies start on a salary of £37,000 and move to £59,000 upon qualification.

The move comes some six months after Norton Rose Fulbright launched a graduate solicitor apprenticeship in its Newcastle office which operates alongside its traditional TC pathway. Meanwhile, DWF confirmed back in 2020 it was ditching TCs in favour of graduate apprenticeships.

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This strikes me as being a pretty hairline distinction between completing the LPC in 8-10m and then doing a 2-year TC. So they do a few training sessions on the job (which people should be doing anyway) but is this really a huge “shake-up”?


Meat Printer

If you properly funded the GDL and LPC I’m not sure how this route would increase diversity…

Does this also disadvantage non-law students? Again, not sure you can roll out the diversity card here.


Kirkland NQ

Who’s going to break it to them that they’ll never even see inside a Lambo on that sort of wage.


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