‘A better way to source trainees’ is the marketing mantra of Accutrainee which launched a year ago. The company says it’s offering a new way for trainees to gain experience at a fraction of the cost of a traditional two-year training scheme. Accutrainee finds trainees and seconds them to law firms on a temporary basis – typically between three and six months.
Accutrainee launched as a concept in September 2011 and more than 400 aspiring lawyers had signed up to the radical new training model by May this year, according to The Lawyer. Now Accutrainee has welcomed its first successful recruit – Flora Hussey. She has already started work with boutique London firm New Quadrant Partners and has also secured a three-month placement on contentious work at a top-20 City law firm.
Trainees are taken on by Accutrainee but are seconded to law firms and in-house legal departments, usually more than once, during their training contract. The company says its model offers substantial cost reductions, improved efficiency and increased flexibility in relation to trainee solicitor needs. “By innovatively redefining the traditional trainee model we deliver many benefits to graduates and those involved in the sourcing and training of the legal profession’s most valuable asset, our future lawyers,” says the website. It is believed to cost an average of £175,000 to recruit and train a single graduate, using the traditional trainee solicitor model.
Accutrainee chief executive Susan Cooper explains that graduates could be taken on at different times of the year and were not restricted by set intake timetables. ‘This training contract model gives the lawyers of the future a chance to experience different types of work in different legal environments, helping to shape them for the legal sector of tomorrow,” she says.
‘We will focus on monitoring each of our trainees’ progress and development throughout their training contracts to ensure they are on track, giving them the support they need along the way.’ Law firms and in-house departments of all sizes have been approached to offer work to trainees, although it is likely to appeal most to smaller firms that want to take on graduates but cannot afford to offer training contracts. Firms pay a fee to Accutrainee for each person they take on, which Cooper said works out much cheaper than a full training contract.
Secondments will be for a minimum of three months but are more likely to be six months or more. “Once you are seconded to an organisation, that organisation is committed to training and treating you in exactly the same way as it treats its own trainees,” says the Accutrainee website. “The only difference will be that your salary will be paid by Accutrainee each month. In some cases, clients may only take on Accutrainees. Through the partnerships we develop with our clients, we closely monitor the training you are receiving to ensure it either meets or exceeds SRA regulatory requirements.”