EY launches new UK legal trainee scheme

EY has today announced that it will be offering legal training contracts for aspiring solicitors, as part of the ongoing growth of its UK law practice.

Since receiving an ABS license in December last year, EY has grown its UK legal services team to over 30 people and expects this figure to double in the course of the next 12 months and beyond.

To support these growth ambitions, we are initially recruiting for eight trainee solicitors in the UK, with four places available for September 2016, followed by an additional four places in 2017. Applications opened this week and will close on Monday 30 November.

Successful applicants will complete a two year training programme, developing a broad range of legal and other key business skills, and will gain experience across a number of areas including corporate, commercial, and employment law. Trainees may also have the opportunity to undertake an overseas secondment.

At the end of the two years, it is expected that EY’s trainees will qualify as associates within the UK legal team and they won’t be required to re-apply for a permanent role.

In addition to securing a competitive salary, successful applicants will receive funding for their Graduate Diploma of Law and Legal Practice Course fees, and will also be provided with a maintenance grant to help cover their living expenses during this period of study.

Philip Goodstone, head of EY’s UK&I legal services team commented: “This is a really exciting development for us and reflects the level of client demand we are already receiving for our services, despite only opening our doors less than 12 months ago. We have big ambitions for the growth of the team and a training contract programme will allow us to develop and nurture top talent in house.

“Our trainees will gain experience in the full spectrum of EY’s legal services, but will also benefit from working side-by-side with colleagues from across EY in our tax, assurance, corporate finance and advisory practice.  We will offer our trainees a fantastic opportunity to gain a rounded view of the business world, in addition to honing their legal skills.”

In August, EY announced that it was transforming its UK recruitment selection process for its graduate, undergraduate and school leaver programmes, by removing academic qualifications from its entry criteria. These changes will also apply to applicants for EY’s new legal training contracts and is intended to help improve access to the profession and find top talent.

Students are no longer required to have a minimum of 300 UCAS points (equivalent to 3 B’s) and a 2:1 degree classification to make an application. Instead, EY uses a new and enhanced suite of online ‘strengths’ assessments and numerical tests which are designed to assess the potential of applicants.

Philip continues: “The changes we have made to our recruitment process will help us to access the widest and deepest possible talent pools. We want to give every candidate the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths and their potential in our selection process.

“The trainees who join the programme will need to have successfully completed their Legal Practice Course before joining us, but we will be accepting applications from candidates who are in a position to start work in September 2016 or 2017. In due course, we will be open to applicants who are in their penultimate year of study and beyond. What we’re really looking for are graduates who are personable, practical, technical and flexible – people who have a positive mind set and a pro-active approach. We want people who will embrace change and want to be at the forefront of developing a new, multi-service legal business in the UK and globally.”

Full details about EY’s new UK legal training contracts and application process can be accessed here.