Business news

DWF and BT Group join forces to create legal traineeship in NI

Posted By:
DWF (Northern Ireland) LLP

20th Dec 2023

DWF, the global provider of integrated legal and business services has collaborated with BT Group, the multinational telecommunications company, to offer a unique opportunity for aspiring legal professionals to qualify in English law but remain in Northern Ireland.

The joint traineeship will enable six graduates to qualify as English solicitors through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) route, covering the associated fees with the qualification and allowing for remote study with only essential attendance in Great Britain for the two exams.

With DWF and BT Group both having dual qualified lawyers situated in their Belfast offices, the trainees will have the opportunity to attend training sessions and benefit from mentoring from both organisations, enhancing the support and guidance available throughout their qualification. Additionally, BT Group is offering one of the six trainees the opportunity to undertake a 6-month commercial seat with the company.

Recognising the challenges faced by law graduates from less socially mobile and diverse backgrounds, the programme provides an alternative pathway for those who may not secure one of the limited places to qualify as a solicitor in Northern Ireland.

The collaboration between DWF and BT Group follows the recent Northern Ireland Investment Summit which highlighted Northern Ireland as one of the world’s most attractive investment destinations.

UK & Ireland regional managing partner at DWF, Hilary Ross, said “At DWF we are committed to breaking down barriers and fostering inclusivity in the legal profession and this collaboration with BT presents a golden opportunity for law graduates in Northern Ireland to pursue a career in English law without having to relocate, which has often been the only option for previous generations.”

Leeanne Whaley, Legal Director for Digital at BT Group, said: “This joint initiative not only addresses the geographical constraints faced by Northern Ireland graduates but also emphasises our commitment to diversity and social mobility. By offering one of the trainees a commercial seat at BT Group, we aim to provide a comprehensive and enriching experience beyond traditional legal training.”