8 years of removing barriers
At Accutrainee, diversity has never been an initiative or something we do alongside our core business. Diversity IS our business. In 2012 when we created our model, a training solution to remove existing barriers and give solicitors another way to qualify, we did this driven by the need to diversify the trainee pool, to create opportunities for great graduates in a market where it seemed increasingly hard to do so. At the same time, we wanted to ensure legal services providers had access to this diverse talent pool. From these two market forces, Accutrainee was born.
And in the past 8 years we have helped over 100 trainees to qualify as solicitors. Our track record for diversity is solid with 38% of our current cohort identifying as BAME and 65% of candidates who come from outside of the Russell Group.
But we can and need to do better.
We need to take action urgently. And we all need to be part of this.
We could devote this entire blog to the importance of diversity in business. Variety of perspective, higher innovation, better decision-making, increased creativity, reduced employee turnover, better company regulation, improved hiring results, higher employee engagement all leading to increased profits – just some of the benefits to workplace diversity.
Yet we continue to battle against a lack of diversity in the legal profession.
As with all change, approaching diversity and inclusion in a meaningful way can feel overwhelming, especially for smaller legal service businesses or in-house legal departments. Where do you start with action?
But if we all, as members of the legal profession, commit to do just one thing, there is such power in collective action, in the little and often. We all have a responsibility and the power to use our business privilege and platform to help create a more diverse legal profession.
A lot of the businesses we speak with at Accutrainee are under pressure to do more with less. As always, we wanted to remove barriers and make it easy for legal leaders to do their part. So over the past months, we have been proudly working up our new scholarship programme which enables sponsors to easily support diversity and inclusion in the legal industry whilst having access to exceptional diverse talent.
Introducing the Accutrainee Scholarship Programme
Our new scholarship programme is more than work experience. It has been created to offer deserving candidates from minority backgrounds the opportunity to have their solicitor examinations paid for whilst gaining the necessary work experience in an in-house legal department or a law firm to help them achieve their dream of becoming a qualified solicitor. Our law firm and in-house legal department sponsors contribute to the cost of SQE fees and exams and for the placement of a highly talented and motivated legal resource, who is fully supported by Accutrainee’s quality development programme. In other words, we’ll take care of all the training, mentoring and regulatory requirements, so our sponsoring law firms and in-house teams can benefit from highly motivated and diverse trainees.
Our training programme is so successful, a huge percentage of our clients decide to keep their Accutrainees on once qualified. So this is an investment in talent for the long term.
Whilst the programme is designed to run across all sectors, we have an initial focus on FinTech. As one of the fastest-growing regulated sectors, it is one that attracts a lot of interest from potential trainees. It is also one we align with at Accutrainee as a company looking to drive change in a traditional industry. Through working in this disruptive market, candidates will gain skills in modern financial and tech regulation, which will equip them with strong core skills from the outset to ensure they become the business partners of the future of this fast-growth sector. And sponsors who offer candidates the opportunity to work for their legal departments will benefit from all the commercial advantages whilst supporting diversity in legal.
We are excited to get our first scholarship underway in 2021. Our programme will only be as successful as the support we are given by participating law firms and in-house legal departments, so this is our call to arms to law firm and in-house legal leaders. Take one small, but meaningful action and invest in our scholarship programme to make a significant difference to our scholars.
Will you join Accutrainee and help us create a more equal and diverse profession with opportunities for all in 2021?
Let’s take action and make a difference together.
CEO and Founder, Accutrainee
If you would like to know more about becoming a sponsor, we would love to hear from you. Contact our founder Susan Cooper on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to apply to be one of our Accutrainee scholars, please visit our career page where you will find more details about the programme and eligibility.