Law firm DWF has joined forces with BT Group to offer students in Northern Ireland the chance to qualify in England and Wales while working from its Belfast office.
The pair said that, “recognising the challenges faced by law graduates from less socially mobile and diverse backgrounds, the programme provides an alternative pathway for those who may not secure one of the limited places to qualify as a solicitor in Northern Ireland”.
The joint traineeship will enable six graduates to qualify as English solicitors through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination route, covering the fees for the qualification and allowing for remote study with only essential attendance in Great Britain for the two exams.
With DWF and BT Group both having dual qualified lawyers situated in their Belfast offices, the trainees will attend training sessions and benefit from mentoring from both organisations.
Additionally, BT Group is offering one of the six the opportunity to undertake a six-month commercial seat with the company.
Hilary Ross, DWF’s UK & Ireland regional managing partner, said: “We are committed to breaking down barriers and fostering inclusivity in the legal profession and this collaboration with BT presents a golden opportunity for law graduates in Northern Ireland to pursue a career in English law without having to relocate, which has often been the only option for previous generations.”
Leeanne Whaley, legal director for digital at BT Group, added: “This joint initiative not only addresses the geographical constraints faced by Northern Ireland law graduates but also emphasises our commitment to diversity and social mobility.
“By offering one of the trainees a commercial seat at BT Group, we aim to provide a comprehensive and enriching experience beyond traditional legal training.”