City of London social mobility alliance announces key partnerships

Initiative backed by the City of London Law Society is seeking to increase the number of solicitor apprentices
Portrait of Colin Passmore

CLLS president says the initiative will help boost social diversity in the legal profession

City Century, an initiative led by the City of London Law Society (CLLS), has announced a partnership with UCAS, Not Going to Uni (NGTU) and Young Professionals to boost the visibility of solicitor apprenticeships and widen access to the commercial legal profession.

The move is expected to generate thousands of applications to the solicitor apprenticeship route as an alternative pathway to legal practice.

The initiative, launched in May, includes more than 50 leading law firms and is a further evolution of the scheme introduced by CLLS in response to demands for more diverse routes into the legal sector. Colin Passmore, CLLS president, called it “a genuine initiative to tackle social diversity, [which] can only improve the work we do and the reputation the City of London lawyers have in the world”.

The scheme provides aspiring solicitors an alternative to traditional university routes into the profession. It allows them to gain practical experience while earning and learning concurrently, without incurring the debts typically associated with a law degree and Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

UCAS, the UK’s centralised university application system, will assist in promoting the scheme to qualifying students, highlighting the alternative route into the solicitor profession. Sander Kristel, interim CEO at UCAS, said the move would enable “a significant number of talented and committed solicitor apprentices into the City of London”.

The partnership, he said, would enable students to discover their options and widen potential participation for students of all backgrounds to enter the legal sector, including those who may not have otherwise explored law as a career option.

Meanwhile, NGTU, a platform with 65,000 monthly users dedicated to promoting non-university career routes, and Young Professionals, a network linking young talent to businesses and apprenticeships, will play a pivotal role in the partnership.

Conor Cotton, managing director at NGTU, said: “From the moment I first heard about City Century, I knew we wanted to support in promoting the opportunities to our audience in London and the surrounding areas.”

He added: “As an organisation, [we] believe in giving young people every possible pathway available to them, and the work City Century is delivering aligns with our mission,” saying it would drive applications for the law firms involved through its social media channels.

Dan Miller, the founder and CEO of Young Professionals, said that with more than 100 roles on offer within the member firms, the partnership would widen access to the commercial legal profession, saying that the “historic” change would benefit “not only [those] professions but the lives of many who would not have had these chances without City Century”.

The announcement comes as City Century hosts two significant events for Year 12 and 13 students, one at the QEII Conference Centre in London and another in Manchester.

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