updated on 19 June 2023
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The scheme was announced last week on Social Mobility Day (15 June 2023) and will identify, attract, recruit, educate, qualify and develop committed solicitor apprentices. The group’s goal is to double current apprentice cohorts from 50 to 100 by September 2024 and establish at least 100 City Century path partners by 2040.
The programme is headed up by six leading law firms:
A further 38 firms are taking part in City Century, demonstrating “a myriad of different business models and prospective solicitor employers”.
An increasing number of law firms now offer solicitor apprenticeships, including the six global firms leading the scheme.
This move was exemplified by the minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, Robert Halfon, who said: “Giving more people from all backgrounds the chance to enter this prestigious career without a student debt is a significant step forward in building a skills and apprenticeships nation and I commend their commitment to social mobility.”
According to the latest UCAS data 425,000 (50%) of users are now interested in apprenticeships and from this autumn will display apprenticeships side-by-side with undergraduate courses.
Paul Lewis, Linklaters’ firm-wide managing partner, commented on Linklaters’ involvement in the scheme, stating: “I want us to help address this by opening up the solicitor apprenticeship route in the City. We’ve accelerated our own solicitor apprenticeship programme at Linklaters over the last few months and are working to scale up this approach by starting the City Century collaboration.”