The University of Law partners with commercial law firm to deliver “innovative” solicitor apprenticeship

updated on 18 February 2022

The University of Law (ULaw) and Hill Dickinson LLP have entered an exclusive partnership to deliver a brand-new graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme, which will replace the firm’s traditional trainee model.

As of March 2022, the firm’s future generations of junior lawyers will join a graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme to study for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) at ULaw on a block-release programme, before joining the firm as solicitor apprentices. Study will include blended learning and face-to-face tutor support.

Prior to starting at the firm, candidates will study and sit SQE1, while also completing a tailored, sector-focused ‘Hill Dickinson Plus’ programme aimed at preparing them for their practice groups.

The new intake of graduate solicitor apprentices will join the firm in December 2022, where they will then prepare to sit SQE2 during their qualifying work experience (QWE), with the support of a qualified solicitor skills coach.   

For more information on QWE head to LCN’s SQE hub and read ‘How do I get my QWE accredited?’.

Carolyn Morgan, director of HR at Hill Dickinson, said: “We are keen to build on our excellent partnership with ULaw to develop a programme that supports our future solicitors to develop to their full potential. We also recognise the need to rethink how we attract the next generation of Hill Dickinson lawyers so that our people fully represent the diversity of the communities we serve. For us, that has meant starting with a fresh approach to training and we believe this partnership can deliver that.”

ULaw will provide subject-specialist support via the university’s team of qualified solicitor tutors, offering supervised tuition, guidance and feedback.

Ceri Evans, national programme director apprenticeships at ULaw, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the first cohort of Hill Dickinson’s graduate solicitor apprentices onto this truly innovative and bold programme. We have developed a tailored programme for Hill Dickinson to match the firm’s sector focus. Studied through the vehicle of a simulated law firm, to reflect life in a large commercial firm, the new cohort of Hill Dickinson’s graduate solicitor apprentices will develop their core technical and sector-focused knowledge during the programme alongside the development of key professional skills and behaviours.

“We are passionate about apprenticeships and the benefits that they bring. We are proud to have partnered with Hill Dickinson for over a decade and are very excited by the opportunity to continue our partnership to develop the trusted advisers of the future.”