Mayer Brown first major firm to launch ULaw’s apprentice to solicitor programme

Mayer Brown is the first major firm to partner with the University of Law to deliver apprenticeships by which apprentices become solicitors in six years. 

The programme includes a degree, postgraduate qualification and training leading to qualification as a solicitor and allows candidates to qualify as a solicitor over six years while working for a law firm concurrently. It is the first City firm be involved in ULaw’s articled apprenticeship programme for school leavers.

Candidates will be employed by the firm while studying part-time at the University of Law. They will spend their first 12 to 18 months in business services departments to gain a broad understanding of how the firm operates before working within a number of practices within the London office.

Mayer Brown has confirmed that students in the programme will have to take out a loan to cover their studies, although it is providing a salary of £18,000 a year, reviewed on a yearly basis. After students have completed the degree, the firm will cover the costs of the LPC, PSC and SRA registration.

The first firm to sign up to the University of Law scheme was North West outfit Hillyer McKeown, which offers both private client and commercial services. At the time it stated that it would pay trainees ‘a competitive salary’ but would not disclose details on wages.

Other firms, such as Clyde & Co have launched legal apprentices with the understanding that some apprentices will go on to become qualified solicitors but Mayer Brown is the first major firm to launch such an initiative outright. Meanwhile Addleshaw Goddard is championing a government-approved apprenticeship standard, which will be formally launched this year and allows apprentices to transition to qualified solicitors.

Mayer Brown launched an independent apprenticeship scheme two years ago run in partnership with the charity City Gateway, which also caters to school leavers, giving them a one-year placement within one of the business services departments in Mayer Brown’s London office, with a salary of £15,000.