Law firm growth driven by graduate internships

A graduate internship scheme has helped to drive the growth plans of two North East law firms.

Provided by Northumbria University, Newcastle, the scheme provides firms with both assistance and funding to recruit new employees. Both recently set up, Particular Legal and Toomey legal intended to further develop on their early success, looking to the Northumbria Enterprise Business Support (NEBS) to spearhead their expansion plans.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the internships are six-months in duration and are specifically available to small and medium size businesses in Northumberland or Tyne and Wear.

Founder of property law advisors Toomey Legal, Sue Shaw-Toomey has recently appointed Jennifer Wilkes, a recent graduate of Northumbria Law School as her first employee. Over the course of the internship, Jennifer will be studying for her conveyancing qualifications, anticipated to be completed over the following year.

Commenting on Jennifer’s appointment, Sue expressed her enthusiasm at taking on her first member of staff and the benefits of the graduate scheme.

“Employing my first member of staff is really exciting but also slightly daunting. However, the graduate internship funding provided by Northumbria is beneficial for a small employer like me. Jennifer is a confident and very capable new graduate and I am delighted to have her working with me. She is aware that in addition to her law knowledge she will be helping, and leading, on various other activities such as marketing. This is one of the benefits of employing graduates – they have a great set of skills and approach to work. I would recommend the Graduate Internship to any law related firm seeking a law graduate or indeed a graduate in subjects such as marketing, finance and business”.

Also having taken part in the scheme was Amy Gatenby, who has already completed a year-long student placement with Newcastle firm, Particular Legal. Owner and Director of the firm, Matthew Rippon has appointed Amy to start work later in the year.

Commenting on the appointment as well as Amy’s progress, Matthew stated: “During her placement with us I saw Amy’s talent for law and how she fitted in effortlessly with colleagues. I wanted to know how I could appoint her following completion of her Master in Law (Exempting) degree. Without funding from the graduate internship scheme, I may only have been able to offer a paralegal opportunity rather than a trainee solicitor position. As a business, we have strong links with Northumbria, including encouraging students to undertake their placements with us. Recruiting our former placement student was a natural progression and obvious choice for us.”

Graduate Internship Manager at the University, Victor Ottoway expressed his approval of Jennifer and Amy’s progress, as well as the success of the scheme in general.

“Particular Legal and Toomey Legal are two excellent examples of companies seeking to employ law graduates. Having spent a little time getting to know both Jennifer and Amy I’m very impressed with both graduates and I know Sue and Matthew are looking to both supporting the long-term success of each business after the initial 6-month internship.”

Today's Conveyancer