Morning Briefing: Apprenticeships open up new route to legal qualification

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Apprenticeships open up new route to legal qualification
A new route into the legal profession has been approved by the UK government. The Apprenticeship Standards in law will apply to those wishing to qualify as solicitors, paralegals, or chartered legal executives in the UK and will mean a 5 to 6 year period of ‘on-the-job’ training with two assessment tests. The decision to approve the scheme has been welcomed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and law firms.
International law firm expands in Asia-Pac 
International law firm Reed Smith has expanded its international capabilities with the addition of three new partners in the Asia-Pacific region. In Hong Kong, where the firm operates at Reed Smith Richards Butler, Gregory Wang has joined the corporate practice from Morrison & Foerster. Meanwhile in Singapore, the energy and natural resources group has been joined by Calvin Chan from Skadden and Kohe Hasan from Oon & Bazul.
US calls for release of detained Chinese lawyers
Chinese lawyers Zhang Kai and Wang Yu are among a group of people who have been jailed by Chinese authorities accused of threatening public order and national security. But the US wants them released. Mark Toner of the US State Department told Voice of America: "I can say that it is an ongoing concern and, specifically, just to cite a recent case, prominent Christian human rights lawyer Zhang Kai and his assistant were detained by Chinese authorities. We certainly want to see him released, but this is just indicative of an ongoing pattern that we’ve seen.” The calls for the release of the prisoners comes as Chinese president Xi Jinping prepares for his first state visit to Washington later this month.
Another US litigation firm continues overseas expansion
American litigation specialists Jenner & Block recently took its first step of international expansion with the opening of a London office. The firm has now hired Charlie Lightfoot from White & Case to lead the arbitration and litigation practices. Lightfoot joins a small but growing team of lawyers in the office, which became the firm’s first outside the US in April this year.