London - Mayer Brown, working in partnership with The University of Law (ULaw), announced the launch of its legal apprenticeship programme, which includes a degree, postgraduate qualification and recognised training leading to qualification as a solicitor.

Mayer Brown is the first law firm in the City of London to offer the new “Articled Apprenticeship" programme which provides an alternative route to qualification as a solicitor for those who want to kick start their career in law but do not want to commit to full-time study. It also builds on the success of the firm’s school leavers apprenticeship scheme for Business Services, which was launched in 2013.

The announcement also reflects ULaw’s commitment to supporting a range of apprenticeships as an alternative path into law, promoting greater access to and diversity within the profession.

The firm is currently recruiting for an apprentice to join the programme in September 2015. The six year scheme, consisting of a four year part-time LLB followed by the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Professional Skills Course (PSC) to be completed in two years, combines work and study. In year three of the programme work will start to count towards the training contract as “ a period of recognised training”, which will continue until the PSC is completed. From day one, candidates will be given the certainty and prestige of employment with a global law firm, combined with all of the benefits of studying with ULaw, the country’s longest-established specialist provider of legal education.

Candidates on the programme will be employed by Mayer Brown throughout the apprenticeship, whilst studying part-time at ULaw. They will spend their first 12 -18 months in Business Services departments to gain a broad understanding of how the firm operates before working within a number of practices within the London office.

The programme is expected to attract candidates from a range of backgrounds who either want to start their legal career directly after leaving school and combine the benefits of earning an income while studying or whom wish to make a career change.

Commenting on the scheme, Annette Sheridan, Global Chief HR Officer at Mayer Brown, said: “The Articled Apprenticeship programme is an exciting development which opens up a new route to a successful career as a solicitor. We have been working hard to introduce a programme that will nurture the talent of people who feel the traditional route to being a solicitor isn’t a viable option for them. We are delighted to launch this apprenticeship with the University of Law and look forward to welcoming our first apprentice.”

John Latham, CEO and President, ULaw, said: “We are delighted that Mayer Brown, one of the world’s major law firms, is embarking on this partnership with ULaw to provide Articled Apprenticeships for school leavers. This new six-year route to qualification as a solicitor gives employers a ground-breaking way to attract and nurture talent. It is in all our interests for sustaining a dynamic legal services market to recruit the most able people from all walks of life. It is great to have such a well-respected international firm to be leading on this initiative.”

The Articled Apprenticeship route has been enabled by the Solicitors Regulation Authority changes to training regulations required for solicitor training. Since 1 July 2014, trainee solicitors can now undertake their "on-the-job" period of recognised training while studying for their qualifying Law degree or LPC.