Insurance specialist Keoghs has developed an apprenticeship scheme enabling graduates to start their training without completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC). It is one of the first firms to update its graduate programme following the approval of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam last October.
Keoghs said its graduate entry solicitor apprenticeship ‘removes a key financial barrier to the legal profession’ by enabling people with a qualifying law degree to access training as a solicitor, irrespective of whether they have completed the LPC.
Candidates without the LPC will combine studies at the University of Law with two years qualifying work experience in the office. Meanwhile, those who have completed the LPC will embark on a traditional training contract.
Jo Wright, head of people at Keoghs, said: ‘Having the best legal talent is important to us and training contracts are a great way for talented people who can afford to study for the LPC to qualify as a Solicitor. However, we wanted to make sure that those talented colleagues who could not afford to study for the LPC had the same opportunities so we decided some time ago that the graduate entry solicitor apprenticeship was a great route to qualification for us and our people.’
So far, very few firms have announced plans to update their training pathways in light of the new rules. From 2022, Reed Smith will allow graduates to undertake start earning before they begin their two years of qualifying work experience.
Meanwhile, listed firm DWF will introduce a 32-month graduate apprenticeship programme in January 2022. Graduates will initially study full time at BPP University in order to take the first Solicitors Qualifying Exam assessment, before starting two years of qualifying work experience. More announcements are expected soon.