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Cass Alumna Wins Prestigious “The Lawyer” Award

Cass Business School News , .

susan cooperCongratulations to CEO and founder of Accutrainee and Cass alumna Susan Cooper (EMBA 2010) on winning “Most Innovative Collaboration with In-House Legal Teams” at The Lawyer Business Leadership Awards 2015.

Accutrainee bridges the gap between graduates, the provision of training contracts and the legal profession, both law firms and in-house legal teams by providing training contracts and then seconding out the trainees. They took on their first trainees in July 2012 after a lengthy process with the legal regulatory body, which was necessary to approve their completely novel approach.

This idea came about when Susan was writing her dissertation on oursourcing in the legal industry. She found junior-level work was being outsourced to India, South Africa and a host of other places that could do the work for cheaper, and also that the limited number of training contracts on offer was leading to cohorts of graduates with no opportunities.

Until Accutrainee was launched, two-year training contracts with a law firm (or in-house legal team) were the only way of getting the required two years of on-the-job training to become a solicitor. This meant, and still means, that competition is fierce, and applications for these jobs can sometimes number over 1,000.

In addition, during the recession, many legal firms cut many of their training contracts, making it even harder to move from being a graduate to gaining a training place.

At the same time, in-house legal teams found their budgets squeezed, meaning that senior lawyers ended up doing more junior work. Add to this that it’s historically been very difficult for them to offer training contracts in general, because without a dedicated legal HR team the applications can soon become overwhelming.

Accutrainee brings one neat and elegant solution to all these problems, offering trainees a route into the profession. They offer the training contracts and then second them to law firms and in-house legal teams, whilst maintaining responsibility for the trainee’s development and regulatory requirements. Secondment could be for six months at four different places, a year each at a firm and an in-house team, or two years at a single firm. This means that trainees typically get a wider breadth of experience, and the companies benefit from the junior post. It’s an idea that seeks to alleviate the inefficiencies and regulatory burden of the traditional route, as well as some of the costs, to make this process work better for everyone involved.

This solution has proved particularly useful for in-house legal teams, who are now freed up to use their senior lawyers more strategically, overseeing the junior roles, with that trainee also gaining valuable experience. It’s easy to see why they won this award!

Read more Cass-related blogs here.

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