School Leaver Programme
Law is now a much more accessible industry, thanks to the rise of legal apprenticeships and school leaver programmes. However, these options may not be as widely known as the traditional routes into law. That’s what we’re here for! We’ve already written about legal apprenticeships, so if you’re here to find out about school leaver programmes in law (which is probably the case, given the article title), today is your lucky day!
What is a law school leaver programme?
A law school leaver programme allows 16 to 18-year-olds to pursue a career in law without going to university. The programmes usually lasts for four years, with school leavers earning a salary whilst working toward become a Chartered Legal Executive. “A Chartered what!?” A Chartered Legal Executive is a type of legal professional that carries out similar work to a solicitor and students can qualify as a Legal Executive without attending university.
You won’t start work as a Legal Executive straight away. You’ll have to study for the CILEx qualifications – the Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice, and the Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law. These each take about two years to complete part-time, meaning that you can carry on working at a law firm, progressing to roles such as Legal Assistant, Legal Officer and, when you’ve completed your qualifications, you will be a Legal Executive, commanding a salary of around £38,000 when qualified. Wonga!
Am I eligible for a law school leaver programme?
Each firm will be looking for candidates to be unique in their own way, but in terms of academics, law firms usually expect their school leavers to have just completed their A-levels and have some pretty impressive grades in both these and their GCSEs.
For example, Kennedys are looking for candidates to have eight GCSEs at grades A*-B and also have, or are expecting, three A-levels at A*-B. These legal school leaver programmes and apprenticeships aren’t for the faint hearted and they’re by no means an ‘easier’ route than going through university.
What other non-university opportunities are there for law?
Legal school leaver programmes and apprenticeships are still a relatively new aspect of following a career in law. As a result, there are still not as many school leaver opportunities as there are vacation schemes and training contracts. However, Fieldfisher have a school leaver programme, as do Kennedys. Hill Dickinson and Gordons also have opportunities for you to get your grubby mitts on.
With school leaver programmes becoming even popular in many sectors and not just law, there are bound to be more opportunities in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled!