What’s the challenge?
We know that it’s a tough market for law graduates – there are so many changes going on in both the legal industry and legal education. The number of training contracts on offer is very volatile and the route to becoming a qualified solicitor can be lengthy, confusing and frustrating.
What’s our solution?
We have been around for 10 years and we have helped 100s of candidates qualify as solicitors through our supportive and innovative model.
The way we have operated since we launched nearly 10 years ago is essentially how the ‘new’ Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) works. I guess you could say we were a bit before our time! Therefore, no one has as much experience with this method of delivering work experience or the same level of knowledge and expertise as us in training, nurturing and mentoring trainees in this way.
We have an outstanding track record with our trainees securing at least one NQ role after qualification.
Unique – We’ve developed a unique approach which makes it easier for law firms and in-house legal teams to recruit trainees. We employ you as a trainee solicitor under a training contract or QWE and second you to our clients for a specified period of time helping you reach qualification.
Bespoke – We work hard to deliver bespoke training contracts and QWE placements with the opportunity to work in more than one organisation. Our goal is to offer you secondment opportunities that are suitable to your requirements, taking into consideration your preferred areas of law and whether you want to work in-house or in private practice.
Our trainees have the chance to experience great quality work and high levels of responsibility from day 1.
Varied – Our clients include a wide range of both in-house legal teams and law firms. From financial services firms to media and entertainment companies, from top UK and US law firms to boutique niche practice firms, we work with a very wide range of organisations so that we can source the right opportunities for you. We also cover a wide range of practice areas and were recently shortlisted in the Legal Cheek awards for best firms for the quality of work and for partner approachability. Our trainees will typically gain experience in more than one organisation during the two years of their work experience. This helps you get exposure to different cultures and environments, experiencing different areas of law and working styles so you can get a better understanding of where you want your career to take you.
Supported – You’ll also benefit from dedicated mentoring and support which we believe is unmatched in the legal profession throughout your time with us. We partner with legal professionals who act as mentors for our trainee solicitors, representing an added source of support which is external from your seconding organisation. Our mentors include current and ex-GCs as well as highly experienced current and ex-partners of top City law firms. They meet with our trainees monthly to offer advice, guidance and support ensuring trainees gain the fundamental skills they will need to become well-rounded lawyers upon qualification.
Flexible – Our trainee secondments can start at any time of the year. There is no 2 year waiting list and the earliest we have managed to get someone started on their journey was just 1 week after their assessment centre!
Diverse – Our focus is quality, diversity and inclusion. We strive to eliminate barriers and create new opportunities for our candidates. We have a strong track record with around half our trainee cohort coming from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Our goal is to capture hidden talent, all those great candidates who otherwise may slip through the net! There is one word that sums up what we are looking for: Potential. We look at every single application, in full, full stop. We will delve into you as an individual and your own specific unique journey.
As a result, our standard application forms have no specific requirements in terms of previous work experience or academic achievements as we firmly believe you are so much more than what’s on paper.
Tech – We have developed Pathways, our competency platform which will help our trainees keep track of their training portfolio, access bespoke training and mentoring and offer advice, guidance and recommendations. Not to mention somewhere where they can keep up to date with the latest social, networking and training events we offer!
What’s the selection process?
There’s no doubt about it, our selection process is no walk in the park – but that’s because we’re looking for the best and we’re willing to put time, energy and care into finding exceptional candidates. Our clients demand the best and that’s what we deliver to them. We recognise that excellent candidates sometimes slip through the net because of personal circumstances or any number of reasons. We are not put off by this – we’ll assess your skills, competencies, attitude and aptitude. If we think you have the potential to become an outstanding solicitor, we want to help you become just that.
If successful, we will start matching you with placements available from our clients, based on your previous experiences, your set of skills but also your preferences. If you are shortlisted and selected for a placement that’s when your training contract/QWE starts. You will be employed by Accutrainee and seconded to the law firm or in-house team for a fixed term period of typically 6 months or more. In this way we will take you through the 2 year training contract or QWE, mentoring you and supporting you every step of the way.
A: Yes. It may be that there are special circumstances why you didn’t achieve a higher grade. You will however need to be able to demonstrate strong academic ability in other areas.
A:You can apply to us at any time. Our selection process has no deadline and is open all year round.
A: Our clients include law firms and in-house legal teams of all sizes covering many different practice areas. If you’re successful, we’ll talk through placement opportunities which we think you’ll be interested in as and when they arise. We will only put you forward for opportunities you’ve agreed to – that way you can be confident about what your training contract/QWE will look like!
A: The clients we’ve worked with so far have predominantly been based in and around London. However, we also have clients in other areas around the UK. If you have a specific preference, just let us know.
A: Most of our placements are in the UK, but opportunities might come up if this satisfied a client’s business need.
A: We’re currently unable to provide financial support for law school fees or prep courses. For candidates qualifying through the traditional training contract route, we pay for the professional skills course. We also offer core skills training for all our trainees regardless of the route you choose. We do however offer funding for scholars through the Accutrainee Scholarship Programme. To find out more do not hesitate to visit our career page.
A: Although our salaries do not match the levels offered by some top City firms, we do review them regularly to make sure they’re competitive. We will certainly discuss this with you in more detail during interviews.
A: We do not have a specific trainee intake as opportunities from our clients arise at any time. For this reason we keep our selection process open throughout the year and placements start all year round.
A: We offer very detailed feedback to candidates who interview with us. We’re sorry but because we get so many applications, we can’t offer feedback for applications rejected at the initial application stage.
A: This is a very difficult question to answer as it depends on so many things. The shortest time we’ve been able to get someone started on their qualification journey is less than two weeks from the assessment centre! However, we also have candidates who joined our database many months ago and we’re still working hard to secure the perfect placement for them.
A: Yes, absolutely. We would encourage you to continue applying as we cannot say how long it will take to secure placements for you. The last thing we want is for you to miss out on any great opportunities. We’re here to help you reach your goal, not slow you down!
A: There is one word that sums up what we’re looking for: Potential. Our goal is to capture hidden talent. We want candidates who can show genuine ambition and drive to succeed. We review each application as a whole, taking into account all your qualities and attributes. Things that will make you stand out are a bespoke application with no typos and mistakes, where you tell us about your journey, your passion for law and the skills that you have gained and can put to good use!
A: We regularly organise a variety of events for our trainees, from bespoke training events to networking events and social events, where all the Accutrainees gather from the different seconding organisations to network and socialise.
A: If you are working with one of our clients, we would contact you towards the end of your placement to discuss new opportunities, so that you can start interviewing with other clients and secure your next work experience before the current one has expired. For SQE trainees, you may have something lined up yourself.
A: As we are deemed to be an Employment Business, it is very difficult for us (given our business model) to secure sponsor status to secure work permits for candidates. Therefore, regrettably we are unable to sponsor international candidates.
A: Trainee solicitors need to be constantly supervised and the pandemic has posed new challenges to trainees lives due to the uncertainties of the ‘new normal’ and the working from home situation.
Accutrainee managed to overcome those challenges by switching all its processes online. We never stopped supporting our trainees with our dedicated mentoring programme and appraisals which have been taking place via remote video calls. We have also kept organising our social and training events so that our trainees can interact with each other remotely.
We care about personal wellbeing and mental health, so we offered pastoral support to our employees and implemented new stress awareness and mental health online courses.
We also never stopped our selection process. In fact, we kept onboarding trainees and paralegals remotely throughout the whole pandemic. We converted our selection process remotely without compromising its thoroughness and the support offered to candidates.
A: You can still apply for a training contract (if that’s your chosen route) with us if you have not started/completed the LPC. If successful through the selection process we will add you to the successful candidates database. We will start considering you for placements with any clients who do not strictly require the LPC and are happy for you to complete this part time during your placement. However, please note that many of our clients prefer trainees who have completed their legal studies before starting a training contract.
A: Yes, if you have started or enrolled on to a qualifying law degree and/or LPC before September 2021 you can still qualify through the training contract route. You have until 2032 to complete this route to qualification. To apply for trainee solicitor opportunities with us please visit our career page.
A: If your non-law degree ends before September 2021 you will be able to choose between the traditional Training Contract route and the SQE route.
A: You will have to qualify through the SQE route.
A: Yes, although our clients will want you to have some level of legal knowledge, so we are more likely to be able to secure placement opportunities for you once you have completed your law degree and/or passed SQE1.
A: The SRA is very flexible about when you can do SQE2 but we feel the right time will be different for everyone. Accutrainee has developed a competency platform to help you gauge when is the right time for you personally to sit SQE2. We recommend that in most cases SQE2 should be taken after at least 12 months of QWE.
A: We will be partnering with the best legal education providers so that we can guide you in selecting the best SQE-preparation courses available. To find out more do not hesitate to register onto Pathways, our new competency platform.
A: You can already apply to Accutrainee for trainee solicitor opportunities. We will count the experience gathered during your placements as either part of your training contract or QWE depending on the qualification route you are taking. You will be able to sit SQE assessments while working with us or in-between placements to eventually qualify as a solicitor.
A: Accutrainees will be able to record their QWE directly on the Pathways platform. This is a competency based platform which will enable you to accurately record, monitor and get your QWE confirmed ready to register it with the SRA. You will have a dedicated training portfolio with progress updates against the SRA’s statement of solicitor competence.