Deloitte has launched a new training contract designed to fit into the Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE) regime.

The new ‘SQE Training Contract’ will be three years long rather that two, and will allow law graduates to begin immediately after finishing university, gaining qualifying legal work experience before sitting Parts 1 and 2 of the new SQE.

Previously, law graduates would have to complete a year-long Legal Practice Course (LPC) before beginning their training contract..

Successful applicants to Deloitte’s scheme will begin in September 2020, qualifying as solicitors in 2023. They will have the opportunity to take seats in areas including tax litigation, employment, and corporate and commercial .

In addition, trainees will also be able to use some of the firm’s proprietary legal technology, including dTrax, an AI-enabled contract management tool, and MyInsight, a secure client portal that enables clients to track and monitor their legal compliance services.

Deloitte partnered with the University of Law to design the course.

Michael Castle, UK managing partner for Deloitte Legal, said: “The legal training environment is undergoing significant change to contend with a rapidly evolving legal landscape. Deloitte Legal is in the fortunate position of being able to immediately adopt the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam, allowing us to be at the forefront of what is undoubtedly an exciting new era in legal education and training.

“We want to broaden access to the profession and make it as inclusive as possible. This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring solicitors to earn while they learn, while also encountering the wealth of expertise beyond legal work that Deloitte Legal can offer as a multidisciplinary firm.”

As  the firm expands its training capabilities, it recently beefed up its legal team through a string of laterals. It targeted Travers Smith and Squire Patton Boggs, marking the first significant legal hires since the appointment of Allen & Overy lawyer Michael Castle as managing partner.

Travers Smith former managing partner Andrew Lilley was appointed by the Big Four firm to lead its employment law offering. Alongside Lilley, Deloitte recruited former Squire Patton Boggs partner Liz Pierson as legal lead for its reward practice. She now leads a team of approximately 20 lawyers offering legal advice around executive remuneration, equity and incentives for both private and public clients.

Meanwhile, Deloitte made significant moves aimed at boosting its technology and innovation capabilities. It recently brought in Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s (BCLP) legal operations director Bruce Braude as its first chief technology officer. The firm had been hunting for a chief technology officer to spearhead its mix of legal and technology services for several months. The move closely followed the hire of Taylor Wessing’s innovation manager Laura Bygrave, who has recently been appointed head of innovation. The duo formed the first innovation line-up of Deloitte Legal since Allen & Overy banking partner Michael Castle was brought in last January as managing partner.

In the UK, Deloitte Legal has currently over 60 lawyers and 125 fee-earners in the UK; globally, it counts 2500 legal professionals spread across 80 countries.

Earlier this month, BPP Law School revealed details of its new SQE-compliant postgraduate diploma in law (PGDL), the conversion course for those wishing to pursue a legal career who did not study law at undergraduate level.