City Consortium reveals future trainees will complete ‘mini-training seats’ with virtual law firm as part of SQE prep

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By Thomas Connelly on

New details emerge during LegalEdCon 2022

Herbert Smith Freehills’ partner Tim West addressing delegates at LegalEdCon 2022

A group of six influential law firms collectively known as the ‘City Consortium’ used LegalEdCon 2022 to reveal further details on how they will prepare future trainees for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

The group — made up of Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, Linklaters and Slaughter and May — will put soon-to-be rookies through a bespoke training programme featuring SQE1 and SQE2 prep as well as a special ‘Consortium plus programme’.

Addressing over 200 delegates in London last week, HSF graduate recruitment partner Tim West explained how the 15 week plus programme sees future trainees rotate through four “mini-training seats” at a virtual law firm. The seats include key specialisms of the Consortium firms including private acquisitions, debt finance, equity finance and commercial dispute resolution, with each seat featuring an end of seat review, much like a real training contract.

The 2022 Legal Cheek SQE Provider List

West explained how candidates will also develop key skills and professional behaviours throughout the programme, as well as knowledge of business strategy, finance, legal technology and innovation.

The programme, which sits between the SQE1 assessments and prep for SQE2, will be delivered through a combination of online and face-to-face learning, and concludes with a series of standalone assessments separate to the SQE. The Legal Cheek Firms Most List 2022 shows the Consortium collectively recruits over 400 trainees each year.

The group will switch to the SQE track this September, with future trainees commencing the new plus programme early next year. The group has partnered with BPP University Law School for the provision of training.

The new details come some seven months after Legal Cheek revealed that the consortium’s full training programme is eleven months in duration and sees non-law graduates complete a Law Foundations Course (PGDL) prior to commencing their SQE1 prep.

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