Project Rise adds more firms offering part-time training

A cross-firm scheme initiated by our Disabled Solicitors Network is today welcoming new firms who will offer solicitor training on a part-time basis to help improve access to the solicitor profession.

Our president Lubna Shuja said: “I am delighted to welcome Bates Wells, Browne Jacobson and Freeths to Project Rise.

“They have committed to offering all successful candidates the opportunity to train on a part-time basis to provide more accessible routes to qualification for people from diverse backgrounds.

“Five firms are now part of the scheme and I encourage our members to join the initiative as a way of providing different ways of training to aspiring solicitors.*

“Aspiring solicitors who can’t train full-time** due to caring responsibilities or other reasons now have more opportunities to join our valuable profession.

“Project Rise is aiming for part-time training options to be offered across the profession, for traditional training contracts, solicitor apprenticeships and for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

“I encourage our members to take part in this valuable scheme so we can welcome more diverse voices into the solicitor profession.”

Malcolm Headley, training principal at Bates Wells, said: “As a values-driven law firm, with a client base focused on purpose and positive impact, diversity of experience matters to us. We want to ensure that our search for the best trainees is not limited only to those who are available for a traditional working week. We’re looking forward to discovering a wider array of talent through this initiative.”

Caroline Green, senior partner at Browne Jacobson, said: “We are delighted to join the Project Rise scheme and to offer more flexible training routes for future solicitors.

“We believe this will make a real difference to those who want to join the profession. We are passionate about nurturing talent from diverse backgrounds and Project Rise fits perfectly with our approach and values.

“Over recent years we have implemented flexible working practices across our business and have seen first-hand the benefits that come with opening up opportunities to all. Project Rise is great example of the Law Society’s desire to diversify the legal sector and we are proud to support this initiative.”

Becky Egan, head of diversity and inclusion at Freeths, said: “Offering part-time training is a major step towards better inclusion for the legal profession and so Freeths is delighted to join the next cohort of firms on Project Rise.

“For us, it’s about nurturing and supporting our talent and we understand that this means offering alternative routes through to qualification.

“We’ve already successfully offered training contracts on a part-time basis and our legal assistant programme gives graduates the opportunity to work, gain experience and secure a place on our solicitor apprenticeship to complete their SQE1 & 2 and their QWE.

“We’re committed to making the legal profession more accessible, diverse and inclusive and therefore are proud to be part of Project Rise.”

Notes to editors

* Eversheds Sutherland and Osborne Clarke were the first firms to sign onto the project in 2021.

** The Solicitors Regulation Authority has clarified that if someone works 32 hours over less than five days a week, they can still qualify in two years, as it is classed as ‘full-time.’ The 2014 Education and Training Regulations defined ‘full time’ in relation to a period of recognised training as 32 hours, and ‘part-time’ as working fewer than 32 hours.) Two years is the minimum needed to qualify.

Read the SRA’s Q&A on Qualifying Work Experience and it’s Qualifying Work Experience for Candidates guidance

Find out more about Project Rise here

If you’d like to take part in Project Rise, please email:

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Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928

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