Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright is delighted to announce the launch of its legal apprenticeship programme for school leavers in the UK. Legal apprenticeships offer an alternative route into the legal profession enabling the apprentices to develop their legal skills while starting to build their career. Apprenticeships facilitate on-the-job studying without incurring the costs of university and, for the successful applicants, remove the risks associated with changes in the jobs market and future competition.
The apprenticeship programme, which includes a solicitor programme in London and a paralegal programme in Newcastle, will start in September 2021. The firm is aiming to recruit three solicitor apprentices and six paralegal apprentices in the first intake. It is open to all final year school leavers who are completing their A-Levels in 2021. Over the apprenticeship, 20% of working time is ringfenced for studying, with the tuition fees funded by the apprenticeship levy.
The London solicitor programme will take place over six years, with apprentices awarded a LLB on completion. The Newcastle paralegal programme will take place over two years. The structure of the solicitor apprenticeship programme provides a new opportunity for complex, specialist skills that would usually only be gained after qualification to be developed from the outset of the apprentices’ careers. The paralegal apprentices will be part of Norton Rose Fulbright’s growing Newcastle Hub.
By launching the programme, Norton Rose Fulbright aims to engage and attract a socio-economically diverse pool of high-performers to start their careers and development from an earlier age. The launch coincides with the firm’s 10th anniversary of its strategic focus on social mobility in the UK.
During this time, Norton Rose Fulbright has committed to a number of social mobility projects, including working with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), Rare Recruitment, the Sutton Trust Pathways to Law initiative and Aspiring Solicitors. The firm is also a signatory to the Social Mobility Pledge and a founding member of PRIME, an alliance of law firms in the UK committed to improving access to the legal profession. In 2020, the firm launched its Advance network whose aims include helping the firm widen access to more socio-economically diverse talent in the UK.
Most recently, Peter Scott, Managing Partner for Europe, Middle East and Asia and corporate partner Clementine Hogarth were appointed to support the City of London’s first taskforce on socio-economic mobility, which is focused on progression and socio-economic diversity at senior levels.
Peter Scott commented:
“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and these apprenticeship programmes provide an exciting opportunity for students who want to have a career in law but may not have previously considered this. Our apprenticeship programme offers students an alternative route to the law, with a particular focus on training and digital innovation. We are excited to launch this important programme and look forward to welcoming our apprentices in September.”
Clementine Hogarth, who is also co-chair of Advance, commented:
“The launch of our apprenticeship programme represents an important step in our social mobility journey and comes at a time when a spotlight has been shone on the need for action to improve access to professional industries and progression within them. We hope that through this programme we will be able to open up career opportunities to students in our local communities in South East London and Newcastle and we are excited to see a new, wider pool of talent applying to be part of our firm.”