NRF meets client demand with new legal ops grad scheme

Norton Rose Fulbright has launched a new graduate scheme focused on business and legal operations. The two-year programme will be built around a series of rotations through business solutions; commercial management; innovation; legal project management; and pricing and resource management.

“The decision to launch the scheme is driven by the business need to support our internal change and innovation programme,” commercial director David Carter told Legal IT Insider. “Clients are increasingly telling us that how we deliver services is as important as the quality of the technical legal advice they receive in terms of value.”

Carter added that the huge opportunities that the firm sees to tap into new business lines by offering different delivery propositions are already being exploited.

“Just this week, we won a major mandate with a FTSE 100 company where all the engagement was driven out of these teams, rather than our legal teams. The demand is definitely there and we need first rate people to deliver it,”

In addition to increased client demand, Norton Rose Fulbright’s decision to launch the grad scheme was driven by a pronounced skills shortage. Despite a growing number of specialist courses created by a number of law schools, and lateral moves from other industries and from within law itself, many law firms are facing a recruitment challenge in this burgeoning area.

“In the face of this skills shortage, we have made the significant decision to mould these people ourselves,” said Carter. “Another advantage of a grad scheme is that it gives participants the opportunity to experience all the different elements that we are looking at. It is really important that these things are interconnected. We see the scheme as a powerful natural hedge against silos.”

The new scheme is open to graduates from all disciplines and will mirror the structure of its legal graduate scheme.

“I don’t want to be excessively prescriptive. We won’t only be looking at STEM degrees,” said Carter. “Interest in law as an industry, rather than as a lawyer, is important, as well as interest in technology and what it makes possible. We are looking for people who might otherwise be attracted to a start-up in Shoreditch, for example. Being excited about building something new is key.”

In the first intake, two roles will be available in March 2019 and a further four starting in September 2019. There will be an annual intake in September thereafter. The graduates will be based in the firm’s London office, with opportunities to work with the innovation team based at its Newcastle Hub.

By Amy Carroll