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Cass entrepreneur launches new legal training model

Acculaw will recruit legal trainees and second them to firms

A Cass entrepreneur has launched an innovative new business which could help transform the way law firms recruit trainee solicitors.

Acculaw, which has been founded by Cass EMBA student, Susan Cooper, is the first non-legal service provider to be authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to take on trainee solicitors.

The company, incubated at Cass's Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship, offers training contracts to law graduates and seconds them to law firms and in-house legal departments in order to complete their training.

It is a radical break from the traditional recruitment regime in which firms recruit law students on contracts two years ahead of taking them on.

Watch Acculaw CEO, Susan Cooper, in this week's Cass Talks

Founder and CEO, Susan Cooper, said the new venture promises to give law firms more flexibility with their trainee intakes and dramatically reduce their overheads by removing some of the costs of recruiting future trainees.

She said the company will also offer new benefits to students. "One of the major advantages for trainees, apart from access to the legal profession, is the potential to gain varied experience in more than one firm through an Acculaw training contract.

"Firms have different cultures and clients, so the mix trainees experience while completing their training contract will make them more versatile and adaptable to changing environments."

Acculaw may help stem the decline in training contract numbers which have dropped by 23% since July 2008 and respond to the threat of UK jobs being lost to outsourcing overseas.

"Acculaw aims to make training UK based future lawyers a more attractive proposition to firms and in-house legal departments to help keep jobs in the UK and address the huge over-supply of graduates in the market desperate to get into the legal profession," Ms Cooper said.

"The number of lawyers available in the market should be governed by the supply and demand of legal services, not the temporary effects of recession or the lure of short term gains from outsourcing work to low cost jurisdictions."

Ms Cooper was inspired to start-up the company after completing her dissertation on the legal industry while studying for an EMBA at Cass.

"The EMBA has helped me to look at business from an overall perspective and understand the different disciplines and how they interact with each other," she said. "Having the opportunity to speak to people who are your peers but who have come from very different industries also gives you a much broader outlook on business."

Acculaw has been incubated at the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship since the beginning of 2011. Chair of the Centre, Nick Badman, said: "Acculaw is an innovative and exciting new business venture which responds to many pressures currently facing firms in terms of their trainee intake.

"We are extremely proud to be supporting Acculaw at the Centre, which brings together the expertise and experience of successful entrepreneurs, financiers, business leaders and academics to help new business ventures prosper."

View the Acculaw website

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