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Hannah Gannagé-Stewart

Deputy Editor, Solicitors Journal

Kennedys launch new route to qualification

Kennedys launch new route to qualification


Kennedys is set to launch an alternative route to qualifying as a solicitor that will enable graduates to begin earning immediately

The new route, which will come into effect from Autumn 2021, will incorporate the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and form a 30-month Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship (GSA).

The GSA enables graduates to start earning as soon as they start the course, without the need to complete the LPC.

The new training programme will see law graduates start working at Kennedys, while gaining qualifying legal work experience in one of its teams before sitting the SQE1 and SQE2 exams required to qualify as a solicitor.

Kennedys HR director Caroline Wilson (pictured) said: “Introducing the new SQE route to qualification will allow us to attract and train people from a much wider range of backgrounds, as graduates can start earning as soon as they commence the graduate solicitor apprenticeship.

“Kennedys has always embraced providing opportunities to all and following the success of our legal apprenticeship, launched in 2012, we wanted to introduce this new route as soon as we could to enable talented graduates to qualify at Kennedys.”

Kennedys was an early pioneer of legal apprenticeships and the firm has recruited 84 apprentices in the eight years it has been running its apprenticeship

Wilson added: “A more diverse workforce brings with it better perspectives and ideas, which is crucial as we look to transform legal services for our clients.”

The firm will continue to offer its existing training contracts for graduates, and paralegal apprenticeships for school leavers.

Junior Lawyers Division chair Charlotte Parkinson welcomed firms publishing information about the changes they intend to make in advance of the implementation of SQE in 2021.

“One thing the JLD are keen to see from firms is a training plan that allows the trainee solicitor to develop the required skills and knowledge over two years of workplace experience, before sitting the second part of the SQE (the skills tests which, if passed, confirms that the SRA considers the individual to be at the level of a newly qualified competent solicitor). It appears that Kennedys' programme agrees with this approach and that their candidates will take both SQE1 and 2 at the end of the programme", she added.