14 December 2018

Times they are a changing for law graduates

In US and UK, changes at organisations and law firms to support graduate entrants reflect new dynamics in the legal profession.

The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) in the US says it recognises they have grown past ‘one size fits all’ standards and is making changes, while law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in the UK says their new scheme is adjustment to traditional models.

Reworked principles

Following a review, the board of directors has voted to make significant changes to NALP’s Principles and Standards for Law Placement and Recruitment Activities, now known as the NALP principles for a fair and ethical recruitment process. The new principles move from uniformity to a standard of reasonableness that provides ‘all members the flexibility necessary to innovate and thrive in an evolving marketplace,’ emphasising all recruitment activities should be scheduled to minimize interference with students’ academic work, and that the legal profession should be accessible to all individuals on a non-discriminatory basis, free of harassment. The principles urge members to aspire to the highest ethical and professional standards, and to maintain policies and procedures that allow students to meaningfully choose between competing offers and allow employers to effectively manage their recruitment processes. NALP will provide a webinar on the principles, which may be read here, on Tuesday, December 18 at 1pm eastern time.

Adjusting traditions

Norton Rose Fulbright is to introduce a new graduate scheme that will run in parallel with its traditional training contract. The two-year programme will be built around four six-month rotations in business solutions, commercial management, innovation, legal project management, and, pricing and resource management. A Legal practice course qualification is not required to join the programme, which is open to people with a law and non-law background. As with traditional solicitor training contracts, intakes will start in March and September next year. Graduates who complete the scheme will be offered permanent roles, although the programme does not lead to qualification as a solicitor but instead to qualifications in other areas. Martin McCann, partner and global head of business, said ‘the delivery of legal services is transforming and the leading law firms know that their future success is linked to how they adjust the traditional model.’ Earlier this year, Allen & Overy said it had set-up a graduate training scheme focusing on legal technology and project management.