Transatlantic  firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has recruited two new solicitor apprentices to join the firm’s Newcastle office.

Ian Wildish, developers and investors apprentice, and Sahana Grimaldi, projects and procurement apprentice, have enrolled in the apprenticeship scheme with WBD which will see them qualify as solicitors in 2024.

The North East Solicitor Apprenticeship (NESA) was launched last year by a consortium of five law firms, including WBD, and works in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and Northumbria University.

The apprenticeship takes six years to complete and consists of four years studying towards a law degree run by Northumbria University.  Whilst being employed by the firm on a full-time basis, the apprentices will be expected to complete part-time learning, with study days spent at the law school. For the final two years, the apprentices will join the graduate rotation and newly qualified solicitor process.

Last year, WBD welcomed three solicitor apprentices; Peter Black, private wealth apprentice; Ellie Gadsby, property litigation apprentice; and Hope Gallant, residential property apprentice.

Kevin Robertson, artner and head of the Newcastle office, said: 'Following the successful launch of our solicitor apprenticeship scheme last year, we are pleased to welcome Ian and Sahana as our latest recruits.

'Alternative routes into the legal profession open up opportunities for young people who find that university isn’t the best path for them. We take pride in developing home grown talent and this programme helps to ensure we have a healthy pipeline of exceptional and talented people.'

Sahana Grimaldi, solicitor apprentice, added: 'The solicitor apprenticeship scheme presents the perfect opportunity to acquire a legal qualification whilst gaining invaluable hands-on work experience at a leading law firm. The support and advice we have received so far has been so helpful and encouraging and we are really looking forward to the next six years.'

WBD runs a successful apprenticeship programme across a number of its offices and was amongst the first law firms to make legal apprenticeships available. The firm now has a total of 38 apprentices including solicitor apprentices, paralegal apprentices and apprentices working in support teams including HR, facilities and IT.