International firm Reed Smith has joined with Queen Mary University in London to create a new ‘degree with apprenticeship’ scheme for law students.
The four-year ‘law in practice’ degree combines three years of legal education with a year-long placement at the firm.
The degree is available to existing law students from this month, with the first five successful applicants guaranteed a placement in 2016/17. That number will increase to 10 for 2017/18.
As part of the criteria for the course, students (including those currently in the first year of their degree) will be required to complete an eligibility assessment at the end of the first year.
Successful students will then complete special skills modules in the second year prior to the placement, which will also be available for all second-year law students.
Nigel Spencer (pictured), global director of learning and development at Reed Smith, said that the idea was to combine a legal degree with formal apprenticeship.
He added: ‘Students can benefit not only from the in-depth critical thinking of a law degree at a top university but also gain hands-on commercial experience of legal practice in a City law firm.’
Lucy Crittenden, graduate recruitment manager at Reed Smith, said this course is the first time a Russell Group university has applied a work placement model to a law degree. She added the qualification will ‘create a blueprint to assist UK plc in the development of commercial and business-ready students’.
Reed Smith already works with BPP’s law and business schools on a legal practice course focusing on both specialisms.
The firm is also one of a number of legal practices involved in developing the standard for a solicitor qualifying through the government’s trailblazers scheme.
Reed Smith has 25 offices and more than 1,800 lawyers across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US.