Deloitte Continue Legal Expansion With New ‘SQE’ Graduate Training Contracts

Deloitte have announced that from today it will be accepting applications for training contracts in a bid to increase their presence as a legal force in the UK.

The Big Four look set to continue their expansion into the legal sector as Deloitte Legal has announced it will be offering training contracts to aspiring lawyers for the first time from today.

This marks a shift in the strategy for Deloitte, which launched its UK legal practice in 2018.  Although it was the last of the Big Four firms to do so, it appears Deloitte is keen to capitalise on its recent growth and success by increasing  its legal offerings.

From today, aspiring solicitors will be able to apply for 10 training contracts.  Successful candidates will start their training at the firm from September 2020 with a view to qualify as solicitors in 2023.

Deloitte has made no secret of its legal ambitions in the last 12 months, hiring senior Allen & Overy partner Michael Castle to lead its expansion in the UK and announcing that it intended to become a “significant player” in the UK’s legal market which is valued at over £26bn.

The accounting firm has worked closely with the University of Law to conceive and develop a programme to train students for the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) which is the incoming new solicitor qualification that the SRA confirmed last year.

The new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) contracts differ slightly from their predecessors by allowing law students to apply and move into the training positions straight from university, a move which will allow them to continue their studies whilst earning a salary and gaining hands-on experience at law firms.  The old scheme forced students to take a one-year Legal Practice Course before they could proceed with a training contract.

Deloitte’s UK Managing Partner of Legal, Michael Castle said when announcing the training programme: “We want to broaden access to the profession and make it as inclusive as possible. This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring solicitors to earn while they learn, while also encountering the wealth of expertise beyond legal work that Deloitte Legal can offer as a multidisciplinary firm.  Deloitte Legal is a fast-growing and ambitious team that provides clients with new solutions to legal problems. Our trainees will be able to experience the future of law, today.”

It remains to be seen how the other firms in the Big Four react and indeed how the UK legal market responds.  But what is clear is that Deloitte’s intent to become a major player has taken a significant step forward.

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