UWE & Bristol Law Society announce trainee solicitor scheme

Issue date: 28 February 2011

A new student placement scheme for trainee solicitors at local law firms has been launched by the Bristol Institute of Legal Practice (BILP) at the University of the West of England and the Bristol Law Society (BLS).

BILP and BLS have joined forces to launch the innovative scheme which gives students studying the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at UWE the opportunity to gain work experience at a variety of law firms in Bristol and the South West region. The three-way collaboration between an LPC provider, its local law society and a host of local law firms is thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

Those students wishing to participate will undergo a competitive selection process with the successful candidates being offered at least one week's work experience (and in some cases longer) at one of the law firms participating in the scheme. The scheme has already proved popular with many students registering interest and seeking to take the opportunity of working with one of the many law firms who have already signed up to participate in the project.

Commenting on the initiative, Steve Dinning, Head of BILP, UWE, said “We are committed to doing all we can to enhance the employability of our LPC students in this challenging market. The scheme will present an opportunity for valuable practice-based experience for students. The commitment of so many local firms to the scheme is a fantastic plus for our students and a testament to BILP's long and successful relationship with the profession in Bristol and the South West region.”

Philip Millington, LPC Course Director, reflected on how the project reinforces the added value benefits for students who study the LPC at UWE. “We place great emphasis on seeking to ensure that our LPC students gain the most from their time with us. Their LPC will not simply be a tick box exercise which they have to undertake as part of their progression into the legal profession, but a real opportunity to develop as young lawyers and acquire the skills and experiences they will need when they step into practice. These work experience opportunities add yet more to what we offer, all for a very competitive fee.” For information on fees visit the website.

Rosie Torre, Business Manager at Bristol Law Society (BLS), said “We have developed a strong relationship with UWE, especially BILP, over the years and are delighted to be partner in this innovative scheme. We have been providing a legal recruitment and careers service in Bristol for over 25 years and this is a logical progression. Local firms across the board have always been generous in their time and support in widening access to local law students – we all know how crucial work experience is to a student and it is to everyone's benefit that we try to develop it.”

The scheme has a range of participating firms from a variety of practice areas. They include ADR Group, Ashfords, Bevan Brittan, Bevans, Co-operative Legal Services, Giles Insurance, Kelcey & Hall, Lyons Davidson, Watkins Solicitors and Withy King.

Simon Staples, President of Bristol Law Society and partner at Ashfords, said, “Ashfords is delighted to be working with BILP, UWE and Bristol Law Society in participating in an innovative student placement scheme which demonstrates the South West legal profession's commitment to legal training and those looking to enter the profession.”

Ian Kelcey from Kelcey and Hall commented, “As a smaller firm doing a mix of publicly funded and private work we feel it important to give students the opportunity of experiencing life in a smaller firm. There are over 11,000 firms of solicitors in the UK and the range of those firms is enormous, it is therefore important that students have the opportunity of experiencing work placements in all sectors of the market. We have done this over many years and Kelcey and Hall are very happy to join with BILP, UWE and Bristol Law Society in developing this on a more formal footing.”

FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers


Tel: 0117 32 82208

 E-mail: Jane.Kelly@uwe.ac.uk or Mary.Price@uwe.ac.uk

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