Accutrainee launches scholarship for aspiring black lawyers


Muireann Bolger

Accutrainee launches scholarship for aspiring black lawyers

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A trainee secondment company has launched a scholarship programme for black law graduates to help them to gain the work experience they need to enter the legal profession.

Accutrainee, which is also authorised as a training centre by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, announced that it would be offering the scholarship on January 18.

The company was founded in 2011 by former Hogan Lovells associate Susan Cooper.

This initiative will be backed by law firm CMS and the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), a body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The scholarship will help successful applicants secure training contracts or qualifying work experience, as well as covering the costs associated with sitting the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

Accutrainee is looking to place graduates of black heritage into a range of top law firms.

The scholarship has no minimum grade requirements, but the company is looking for university graduates who “identify as having Black heritage with a genuine passion and interest in law with a strong desire to qualify as a UK solicitor”.

According to a 2020 report by the Law Society, only 8% of partners in the UK’s top 50 firms come from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, representing a rise of just 1% since 2014.

Accutrainee is running assessment centres, with the first group of scholars taking up their roles in March.

Cooper said: “Quality and diversity have always been at the forefront of everything we do at Accutrainee. Although we have high numbers of BAME individuals in our trainee cohorts, it has always been clear to us that a lot more can be done, particularly in relation to specific sub-sections of the wider BAME group.

“Throughout their entire qualification process, we will be offering scholars the same quality training, mentoring and support we have become known for, to help them develop into well-rounded 21st Century lawyers.”

Michael Cavers, early talent partner at CMS, added: “We are dedicated to expanding opportunities for the BAME lawyers of the future and are pleased to sponsor Accutrainee’s scholarship programme. This great initiative will help us, and we hope other firms continue to improve BAME diversity in the workplace. We look forward to welcoming programme scholars to CMS.”

Selene Brett, general counsel for the OBIE, said: “OBIE is proud to partner with Accutrainee and CMS on this programme and welcome more widespread participation in it across the sector.”

She added: “We have been really impressed by the quality of applications and are excited that we will soon be welcoming our first trainee. We welcome other members of the open banking ecosystem to join the programme too.”

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