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The University of Law and Hill Dickinson sign partnership to deliver ‘bold and innovative’ graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme

The University of Law (ULaw) and Hill Dickinson have signed an exclusive partnership to support and develop the firm’s next generation of junior lawyers with the launch of a tailored, block-release graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme.

In a bold and innovative approach to training and development of its early talent, Hill Dickinson is replacing the firm’s more traditional trainee model with the launch of a graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme. From March 2022, rather than the more traditional trainee intake, Hill Dickinson’s future joiners will join a graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme to study for the SQE at ULaw, before starting work at the firm as solicitor apprentices.

Carolyn Morgan, Director of HR at Hill Dickinson, said: “We are keen to build on our excellent partnership with ULaw to develop a programme that supports our future solicitors to develop to their full potential. We also recognise the need to rethink how we attract the next generation of Hill Dickinson lawyers so that our people fully represent the diversity of the communities we serve. For us, that has meant starting with a fresh approach to training and we believe this partnership can deliver that.”

The Hill Dickinson graduate solicitor apprentices will study at ULaw on a block-release programme combining blended learning with weekly face-to-face tutor support. Before starting in the office, the apprentices will study towards and sit SQE 1 in addition to participating in a tailored, sector-focused ‘Hill Dickinson Plus’ programme to get them ready for their practice groups.

Hill Dickinson’s new intake of graduate solicitor apprentices will join the firm in December 2022 and will be supported with regular workplace visits by a qualified solicitor Skills Coach as they prepare to sit SQE 2 during their Qualifying Work Experience.

During the programme, The University of Law will provide subject-specialist support to Hill Dickinson’s graduate solicitor apprentices with supervised tuition, guidance and feedback from the University’s team of qualified solicitor tutors. One-to-one guidance and support will also be given by expert skills coaches for the duration of the programme with regular visits by the University’s skills coaches to the workplace.

Ceri Evans, National Programme Director Apprenticeships at ULaw, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the first cohort of Hill Dickinson’s graduate solicitor apprentices onto this truly innovative and bold programme. We have developed a tailored programme for Hill Dickinson to match the firm’s sector focus. Studied through the vehicle of a simulated law firm, to reflect life in a large commercial firm, the new cohort of Hill Dickinson’s graduate solicitor apprentices will develop their core technical and sector-focused knowledge during the programme alongside the development of key professional skills and behaviours.

“We are passionate about apprenticeships and the benefits that they bring. We are proud to have partnered with Hill Dickinson for over a decade and are very excited by the opportunity to continue our partnership to develop the trusted advisers of the future.”