Law Society offers new grant scheme worth €125,000 for rural trainee solicitors

Five Small Practice Traineeship Grants on offer for 2020.

The Law Society of Ireland is calling on rural solicitor firms to apply for the Small Practice Traineeship Grant.

This year the Law Society will award five grants of €25,000 to assist smaller firms and practices with the cost of employing a trainee solicitor. The new financial grant scheme has been launched to boost smaller solicitor practices that are located outside the central training hub of Dublin and the urban districts of Cork, Limerick and Galway.

Each year, solicitor firms and practices in Dublin account for over 83% of solicitor traineeships. The new grant scheme will encourage smaller firms and practices in rural Ireland, who may not have been in a position to do so before, to offer a solicitor traineeship contract.

Law Society of Ireland Director of Education T P Kennedy said, “Supporting small rural practices with the financial cost of employing a trainee solicitor plays an important role in providing greater access to the profession for trainees from rural and diverse backgrounds.”

“There are sole practitioners and smaller practices in almost every small town in every corner of Ireland. The Small Practice Traineeship Grant can offer a trainee solicitor the opportunity to stay in their local community, without having to relocate to Dublin,” he said.

“This will offer valuable opportunities to trainee solicitors that may not be able to move away from home for long periods of time, due to family or other commitments.”

Each grant will provide funding of €18,000 to the training firm over the course of the two-year training contract. It will also provide funding of €7,000 to the trainee solicitor by way of a discount on the Professional Practice Course I (PPC I) fee, to complete the required educational training at Blackhall place.

“The grant will assist sole practitioners and smaller practices to grow their businesses and ensure continuity of service to their communities,” he said. “Smaller firms and sole practitioners are the engines of local economies and should be protected. A traineeship grant could provide a lifeline for some rural communities.”

Innovation in legal education

“The introduction of this scheme is part of the Law Society's strategic plan to make significant changes to solicitor training with a focus on diversity, inclusion and student-centred delivery,” said Mr Kennedy.

“The Law Society has already introduced the PPC Hybrid and streamlined the FE-1 exam this year, providing more opportunities than ever to qualify as a solicitor.”

“It is an exciting time in legal education,” said he said. “We look forward to receiving applications for the traineeship grant from across the country.”

How to apply

To be considered for the Small Practice Traineeship Grant, the proposed training contract firm should be located outside of Dublin and the urban districts of Cork, Limerick and Galway; be a small firm, consisting of five or fewer solicitors; and agree to pay the trainee at least the living wage, currently €12.30 per hour.

The deadline for entries to the Small Practice Traineeship Grant is Friday 3 July 2020.

Further information, terms and Conditions and an Application Form is available by visiting:     

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