Can you get an apprenticeship in law?
How do you become a lawyer? The typical answer is by completing a law degree, or by completing a non-law degree and a law conversion course. However, what you may not know is that it’s possible to complete a legal apprenticeship, and finish a qualified lawyer! Here’s what you need to know.
What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships combine practical experience and learning. Apprentices spend the majority of their time at their employer’s, gaining hands-on experience in their chosen field. The rest of the time (20% minimum, as mandated by the government) will be spent training.
Training can take place at your employers, at a college, a dedicated training provider, or even online. There are apprentices available in a wide range of industries, and for those with minimal or no qualifications.
In total, there are four different types of apprenticeships: Intermediate (equivalent to five good GCSEs), Advanced (equivalent to two A-levels), Higher ( equivalent to a foundation degree) and a Degree ( equivalent to a bachelors or masters).
Once you finish your apprenticeship, you can progress to the next level, or seek employment in your chosen field.
What sort of legal apprenticeships are available?
Legal apprenticeships are available for numerous careers in the legal sector. For instance, if you’re interested in a career as a paralegal, you can complete a two year Paralegal Apprenticeship, providing you with the opportunity to learn about legal research and client care skills.
There’s also a six year Solicitor apprenticeship, aimed at paralegals, chartered legal executives and post A-Level students. The apprenticeship covers the same content as an undergraduate law degree, enabling you to come out of it with a law degree (LLB) and a masters in law (LLM).
What are the advantages of completing a legal apprenticeship?
One of the major advantages of completing a legal apprenticeship is that you get paid, even when you’re training. You’ll be paid a minimum wage of £4.81 an hour, with this wage increasing as you get older and climb up the ranks.
This minimum wage is mandated by the government, so your employer may even pay you more than this. You’ll also save money on university and law school fees, with all your training and exams covered by your employer.
Apprentices also give you the chance to experience the world of work earlier on. You’ll gain practical experience in the legal field, and make connections that may be invaluable in the future.
Apprenticeships also teach you how to conduct yourself professionally in a working environment, as you’ll deal with complex cases, disagreements with coworkers and time management. People who went to university won’t have the same level of experience.
With the introduction of the SQE, all aspiring solicitors are required to complete a minimum of two years qualifying work experience. Apprenticeships qualify as two years legal work experience, meaning you won’t have to endure the stress of looking for work experience or a training contract.
What are the disadvantages of apprenticeships?
Students who complete an apprenticeship miss out on the numerous experiences that university offers. At university, you’ll meet people from different backgrounds and countries, join a variety of societies and attend social events. If your social calendar is always packed, you might find it difficult to adjust to apprenticeship life, where you’ll have to be up for work everyday.
Apprenticeships are also tailored specifically to the sector you’re interested in. While this is great for someone who knows exactly what they want to do career wise, apprenticeships aren’t the best idea for someone who isn’t so sure.
University students have far more opportunities to discover different careers, with career fairs, talks from industry experts and personalised career advice. Deciding you want to do law after completing a non-law degree is easy to do with the law conversion course, but it’s not as simple to switch from a non-legal apprenticeship to a legal one.
Completing a legal apprenticeship offers you the chance to become a lawyer, without the expense of a legal degree or the stress of looking for a training contract.