DWF to introduce SQE and new graduate training programme

updated on 02 October 2020

Multinational law firm DWF will adopt the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) from January 2022 and launch the firm’s new graduate entry-level apprenticeship programme in partnership with BPP University Law School.

Like the SQE, the new apprenticeship programme, otherwise known as the Future Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme, will utilise the flexible qualifying work experience (QWE).

The 32-month programme, which builds on the success of DWF’s existing paralegal and solicitor apprenticeship programmes, will include the SQE, with graduates earning as soon as the programme begins.

Graduates will start with full-time study at BBP University Law School to prepare for and take the SQE1 assessment. They will also develop their legal knowledge and practise their legal skills before undertaking their 24 months QWE, during which they will have the chance to get involved in different practice areas, as well as complete internal and external secondments.

DWF’s head of learning and development Clare Collins said: "We are excited to have partnered with BPP University Law School to offer one of the first graduate programmes that meets the SQE requirements. The programme will not only give candidates all the preparation they need to pass the exams but will equip them with the technical, commercial and interpersonal skills needed to succeed in a changing legal environment."

Meanwhile, head of business development at BPP University Liz Ritter said: “This approach will enable DWF apprentices to understand and apply legal principles and engage in professional tasks in the context of relevant and realistic case studies, thoroughly preparing them for success in assessments and in practice. The advantage of flexible work experience as part of the changes introduced by the SQE will most certainly prepare DWF graduates for long and successful careers in a rapidly changing legal sector.”

Candidates who complete the programme will receive a Graduate Entry Solicitor Level Apprenticeship and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Solicitor), as well as an invitation to apply for newly qualified positions within DWF.

The programme’s launch comes after DWF announced that it has replaced its specific A-level/Scottish Highers requirements with “good A-levels/Scottish Highers or equivalent” as the firm aims to attract the best talent.