The Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin QC, today visited the University of Ulster and revealed a new and exciting career opportunity in his own office.
Addressing final year law students on the Jordanstown campus he said: “Like everyone else, these are difficult times for solicitors and even harder times for those wishing to enter the profession.
“Everyone is feeling the squeeze and as a result not as many solicitors are taking on the role of ‘master’ (a solicitor with whom a trainee serves an apprenticeship).
“With this in mind, I have instigated a traineeship in my office starting in September 2012.
“This trainee place will give one student from either the University of Ulster Graduate School of Professional Legal Education (GSPLE) or QUB Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS) an opportunity to become a solicitor against the background of the most exciting, important and challenging legal work that Northern Ireland has to offer.”
Full details of the scheme will be revealed online tomorrow but interested students must by April 12 this year, hold a first round result letter from either the Graduate School or the Institute and be provisionally accepted for a place on the solicitor’s course.
The successful applicant will receive a salary of £15,000 and will also have 50 per cent of their tuition fees paid.
Attorney General Larkin added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed making this announcement and answering questions from University of Ulster students and I very much look forward to welcoming a new lawyer to my office in September.”
Dr Thomas Murphy, Head of the School of Law at the University of Ulster said:
“It is an honour that the Attorney General has taken time to visit our final year law students.
“The majority of students graduating with a law degree in Northern Ireland apply to undertake professional training in this jurisdiction and, because the number of places is limited, this has always been a highly competitive process.
“However, the economic downturn of recent years has had a particular and detrimental impact on the prospects of those considering becoming solicitors because, in order to be in a position to commence professional training, each applicant must also be able to find an established solicitor willing to act as their ‘master’.
“Increasingly, as firms economise, the availability of masters has become a decisive factor in determining how many trainee places can be taken each year. In that context the announcement today by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland is both timely and welcome.
The announcement of any traineeship will always be welcome, however the chance to be trained within the office of the Attorney General and to experience the particular workload and expertise of that office represents a unique opportunity for a successful graduate.
“The Attorney General is to be commended for the lead that he has taken in creating this traineeship and it is hoped that this is an example that will be followed by other organisations.”
Full details of the scheme and an application form will be available on the Attorney General's website (www.attorneygeneralni.gov.uk) from tomorrow (Tuesday 13 March 2012).
CAPTION: John Larkin QC, Attorney General for Northern Ireland
Media & Corporate Relations
University of Ulster
Tel: 028 90366386