Ashurst has recently launched a graduate scheme known as Ashurst Advance, this is within its NewLaw legal operations division. This scheme is known as the Ashurst Advance Pathway Programme or Pathway.
Those who are chosen for this scheme gain the opportunity to train in regions such as Legal operations, legal project management, legal technology and legal process improvement.
The Pathway programme is not another route to becoming a qualified solicitor, it is however structured along the lines of a training contract. Those who are chosen, have the option to gain exposure to the type of work that interest them most. Once these candidates choose their route, they will have the option to complete professional qualifications in their specific area of interest.
Speaking to The Lawyer, Mike Polson, the co-head of Ashurst Advance, said:
“We have no doubt that upskilling the lawyers of the future is necessary, but we don’t think the answer to look at turning lawyers into qualified project managers and data scientists. We think there is also clearly a need for a separate stream for the new and different roles that are emerging within the changing market that will sit along qualified lawyers: Pathway is very much aimed at those new roles.”
Currently Ashurst Advance is taking in over 20 graduates a year in similar roles and anticipates taking sizable cohorts now the scheme has been made official. There is a need for graduates with a background in law, however this does not mean that they would need to have an LLB.
Ashurst is not the first firm to spot the need to train up legal operations professionals. Among the other firms offering training in ‘NewLaw’ topics are Allen & Overy and Clifford Chance. Goddard, however, offers a six-month seat to trainees in its in-house innovation and legal technology team as part of the standard training contract’s rotation.