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Eversheds Sutherland launches its SQE Academy

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  • United Kingdom


    A new route to legal qualification

    Eversheds Sutherland (International) announces the launch of its first SQE Academy to open up a new legal qualification route at the firm for its existing cohort of paralegals in the UK.

    The continued strong growth of the firm, and the changes in the routes to legal qualification in the UK, has provided Eversheds Sutherland with the opportunity to enrol 10 candidates each year to the firm’s first SQE Academy to undertake the required training, preparation course, work experience and supervision to become newly qualified lawyers.

    The SRA launched its new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) qualification route in September 2021 in England and Wales, and each of Eversheds Sutherland’s paralegals on the programme will undertake the SQE qualification over a two year period. Similar to the firm’s existing legal trainee programme, each paralegal candidate will gain relevant Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). The firm will then sign off this experience and, combined with passing the SQE, candidates will be eligible for newly qualified solicitor roles at the firm.

    To gain a place on this training programme, high calibre paralegal candidates from within the firm, who would like to build a career as a qualified lawyer, will need to have a degree or equivalent qualification (in any discipline). They would then be required to pass the new centralised assessments of SQE1 and SQE2 during the two-year programme. The firm will support each of the 10 paralegals, with paid time off each week for their studies.

    The firm’s 10 paralegal candidates will be in addition to the existing cohorts of trainees and apprentices, and so creates three possible routes for our future talent to achieve legal qualification at the firm.

    The firm will also increase the number of trainees it recruits each year by another 10 candidates, adding to the 40 university graduates it recruits for its annual intake. Eversheds Sutherland (International) was among the first law firms in the UK to introduce Solicitor Apprenticeships in 2016 with the first annual cohort of 10 apprentices due to qualify in 2022.

    Lorraine Kilborn, Chief People Officer, Eversheds Sutherland (International) comments:

    “Innovation is at the core of the firm’s DNA and providing opportunity to future talent, often from diverse, socio-economic backgrounds, is a key focus of our people strategy. I am delighted to launch our SQE Academy which will provide a third route to qualification at the firm for our initial group of 10 talented and ambitious paralegals. Our SQE Academy will enable our candidates to move their careers through training to qualification as lawyers over the next two years. By opening up a new route to a legal career for candidates who will come through from more diverse backgrounds, we are reflecting the communities we operate in and meeting the demands of our clients who look to our firm to invest in and shape the future of legal services.”

    Innovation in graduate recruitment

    This latest, innovative training scheme follows on from Eversheds Sutherland’s (International) recent announcement of the launch of its Legal Technology Graduate Scheme. This two year scheme will offer six graduates the chance to work within the firm’s legal service design team and on its legal tech applications, as well as rotating between the legal technology teams in two of the firm’s five practice groups during the second year of training. By the end of year two, the graduates can apply for a permanent position with the firm. The first cohort of three graduates will start in March 2022, followed by a second cohort in March 2023.

    The firm also launched its Risk and Compliance graduate scheme in May this year – a legal services first in the UK. Successful candidates will rotate around different parts of the Governance and Compliance team to ensure that they develop into truly rounded compliance professionals, before specialising in one area. The firm’s Governance and Compliance team is committed to developing the next group of leaders in this field and, once candidates have been appointed into a more specialised role, they will be supported with further technical training or external accreditations to ensure continuous professional development.

    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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