Linklaters puts its weight behind new training pilot

Linklaters puts its weight behind new training pilot” />Linklaters has become the first magic circle firm to sign up to an alternative solicitor training scheme that will be piloted by the Law Society’s regulatory arm later this year.

The project, which will be coordinated by the new Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), will allow LPC graduates who have not secured a training contract to be seconded to different law firms where they will learn on the job.

As well as Linklaters, three smaller firms – London-based Percy Short & Cuthbert, 13-partner Campbell Cooper and Worcester-based MFG Solicitors – have all joined the pilot scheme, which will start in September. The pilot will be completed in August 2009. An SRA spokesperson said the competition for training contracts is becoming increasingly fierce each year, which is why the Law Society is proposing new routes to becoming a solicitor.

She added: “The pilot will be looking at how best to assess the competence of trainee solicitors. It’s proposed that trainees would put together a portfolio of evidence of the skills and knowledge they acquire while in training.

“This would allow trainees who are not in an accredited training firm to be able to put together evidence so that they could reach the point of qualification.”

Once the trainee has reached this point their performance will be assessed by the SRA, which will judge whether the graduate has fulfilled all the requirements to certify them as a solicitor.

Simon Firth, Linklaters trainee development partner, said: “We’re excited to be involved in this project, which we hope will have a positive impact on the future of legal training both in the City and across the country.”

The SRA has applied for funding from the Department for Education and Skills and is expecting to receive a grant towards the cost of piloting the alternative to a traditional training contract.