Big Four accountant Deloitte has launched a pioneering three-year training contract, allowing trainees to study at the University of Law for one day a week and work the remaining four.
Deloitte Legal, an alternative business structure set up last year, will enable graduates to take both parts of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) without spending a full-time year at law school, as with the current legal practice course (LPC).
A spokesman for Deloitte said the ‘SQE training contracts’ would prepare students to take parts 1 and 2 of the new exam “through a combination of work-based and online supervised study, together with practical and academic activities” at ULaw campuses.
“Students will work at Deloitte Legal four days per week and will be released to study one day per week for the duration of the programme.”
He said the new contracts would enable law graduates to take up places “straight out of university, allowing them to start earning immediately while gaining qualifying legal work experience before sitting their SQE 1 and 2”.
Applications opened yesterday for traineeships starting in September 2020, leading to qualification as a solicitor in 2023.
Deloitte Legal, which employs around 200 people, did not specify the number of contracts it was offering, but there are expected to be around 10. The ABS employs around 2,500 professionals in more than 80 countries around the world.
The firm is also embracing legal apprenticeships, using the programme delivered by the University of Law.
Michael Castle, Deloitte Legal’s UK managing partner, said: “The legal training environment is undergoing significant change to contend with a rapidly evolving legal landscape.
“Deloitte Legal is in the fortunate position of being able to immediately adopt the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam, allowing us to be at the forefront of what is undoubtedly an exciting new era in legal education and training.
“We want to broaden access to the profession and make it as inclusive as possible. This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring solicitors to earn while they learn, while also encountering the wealth of expertise beyond legal work that Deloitte Legal can offer as a multidisciplinary firm.”
Deloitte Legal said it had worked closely with ULaw to deliver its “innovative” training contract.
Professor Andrea Nollent, vice-chancellor and chief executive of ULaw, added: “With the new SQE training contracts allowing students to experience the real legal world earlier in their career and education, we are now able to team with leading organisations such as Deloitte to continue our aim of providing a more practical and hands-on legal education.”
Earlier this month BPP became the first law school to reveal details of a new conversion course aimed at getting students through the first stage of the SQE.