Raft of leading firms join forces to launch legal ops training programme

Dentons, NRF and Linklaters among those taking part in novel initiative to speed development of legal ops talent

A consortium of City firms made up of CMS UK, Dentons, Norton Rose Fulbright, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters and Slaughter and May has launched a programme to train legal ops graduates, in what is understood to be the first instance of law firms joining forces to create such a scheme.

The programme has been created in partnership with the University of Law and management consultancy Positive Pricing and is intended to speed the development of a pipeline of junior talent in legal operations. It will focus on innovation, automation, legal tech, process design, legal project management and the core skills of legal operations professionals. 

The programme kicks off with an intensive four week course for graduates from the law firms’ legal ops teams, and there will also be regular workshops for participants to work together on case studies and network with peers and legal ops experts.

The consortium firms expect this to be the first iteration of a longer-term, established training approach they hope will become the industry standard, with the possibility that more law firms could join in the future.

Richard King, chief legal operations officer at Herbert Smith Freehills, commented: “Sitting at the junction of the business of law and the practice of law, the legal operations function continues to play an increasingly important role in the delivery of legal services.

“We are all committed to attracting and developing the brightest talent in this field who will in turn drive value and innovation for our clients. This is an exciting initiative that we hope will establish an industry standard for training and development of graduates in legal operations.”

Jim Moser, director of professional development at the University of Law, described the course as “unique” in the training and development of legal ops professionals, adding that it will be “a launchpad for individuals to contribute directly to the business of the consortium firms with the high level of understanding and relevant core skills needed to work in a fast-paced City law firm environment.”

A growing number of UK law firms have launched their own legal tech graduate schemes recently, including Eversheds Sutherland and Addleshaw Goddard. Eversheds’ will offer graduates the chance to work within the firm’s legal service design team and on its legal tech applications, with the first cohort of three graduates to begin next March and the second cohort in March 2023.   

Meanwhile Addleshaw’s scheme will start next month and take around six new recruits into the firm’s Innovation and Legal Technology (ILT) team, where they will be trained in areas including client projects, document lifecycle, internal efficiency, legal tech consulting and R&D.

Legal businesses in the UK could generate £1.7bn in annual productivity gains through the use of legaltech, according to a recent report from LawtechUK, which also found that the UK legaltech sector has a potential £22bn annual market opportunity. 

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