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Mayer Brown teams up with ULaw to launch first ‘direct to solicitor’ apprenticeship

Mayer Brown has announced that it will be the first City law firm to offer the University of Law’s (ULaw) Articled Apprenticeship scheme, which enables candidates to obtain a degree, postgraduate qualification and the recognised training required for full solicitor status.

The scheme provides school leavers who want to pursue a career in law with an alternative route to qualification and sidesteps the need to commit to full-time study. The scheme is also targeted at promoting greater access to and diversity within the legal profession.

The six-year programme will comprise a four-year part-time degree in law followed by completion of the Legal Practice Course and Professional Skills Course. From the third year of the apprenticeship, work undertaken will count towards the compulsory period of recognised training required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Candidates, which are currently being recruited for the scheme with the first apprentices to start in September 2015, will study part-time at ULaw while also being employed by Mayer Brown across a number of practice areas in the firm’s London office.

Commenting on the scheme, Annette Sheridan, global chief HR officer at Mayer Brown, said: ‘We have been working hard to introduce a programme that will nurture the talent of people who feel the traditional route to being a solicitor isn’t a viable option for them. We are therefore delighted to launch this apprenticeship with the University of Law and look forward to welcoming our first apprentice.’

John Latham, chief executive and president of ULaw, said: ‘We are delighted that Mayer Brown, one of the world’s major law firms, is embarking on this partnership with ULaw to provide Articled Apprenticeships for school leavers. This new six-year route to qualification as a solicitor gives employers a ground-breaking way to attract and nurture talent.’

Earlier this year, Reed Smith partnered with Queen Mary University on a four-year LLB which included a sandwich year spent at the US firm. Five students are initially being guaranteed a place for 2016-17 with that number expected to rise to 10 in 2017-18.

This article first appeared on Legal Business’ sister website The Lex 100.