Six in-house legal teams are leveraging current changes in legal education to accommodate a variety of interns.
Paralegal service provider Flex Legal has partnered with general counsel including ASOS, Vodafone, The Crown Estate, Trussle, The Phoenix Group and Next15 Communications for the program, known as Flex Trainee.
For internal teams, this will involve welcoming a candidate for at least one year of their qualifying professional experience (QWE), as the training contract is now called. At the end of this year, the candidate will either stay for a second year or move to another internal team.
The interns started on Monday 1 November and are employed by Flex with a salary of £ 32,000. They will take one of the Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE) next July and the second in April 2023. At the end of the two years of professional experience required, the internal organization will be able to retain them at no additional cost. . .
Flex is partnering with Barbri, who will provide SQE preparation to interns while they work. It recruited its candidate interns, all graduates interested in a legal career, through two social mobility charities, Strive and Talent Tap. Flex interviewed 25 prospects before selecting the last six.
Flex CEO Mary Bonsor said Avocado the program was funded by the apprenticeship tax, which remains unused in many organizations. Traditional training contracts cannot be funded with this money, but changes to the SQE allow this scheme to tap into it.
Nicholas Cheffings of The Crown Estate said, “The Crown Estate is delighted to participate in the Flex Secondment program, which allows us to hire a very talented individual and help them achieve their ambition to become a lawyer. What’s particularly important to us is that, thanks to Strive’s involvement, the program is perfectly aligned with our commitment to expand access to those with potential but who might otherwise miss out on opportunities. “
Mark Sanford, GC of Next15 Communications, added: “We have had paralegals on our team for some time and the SQE path is a big step forward for the profession, making it easier for paralegals to become qualified lawyers. Flex went even further by hiring interns themselves and launching Flex Trainee. I love that interns have gone through Strive – we get a great resource with the support of Flex Legal and help to help social mobility within the profession.
Bonsor said Flex hopes to lead two cohorts per year in the future and that more internal teams and specialist law firms have already signed up to participate in the spring cycle.