What is a legal apprenticeship?

  • Last updated Feb 10, 2018 5:56:06 PM
  • By Jack J Collins, Editor of AllAboutLaw

The law industry and the word “apprenticeship” don’t seem to go as well together as gravy and chips or Ant and Dec, but apprenticeships in the legal sector have been climbing up the charts in recent years.

With the costs of legal education consistently rising, the market opened up a set of conditions into which the new Legal Apprenticeships of the Trailblazer 2016 scheme swept into with aplomb. 

A breakdown of what’s out there is in order…

Level 3 Advanced Paralegal Apprenticeship

This apprenticeship is designed to introduce school leavers to work in the legal sector as a paralegal, and is the first step on the Legal Apprenticeship ladder. 

  • You’ll gain grounding knowledge of the English Legal System.
  • It develops the practical administrative, research and drafting skills for work in the legal sector.
  • Once completed it can open up doors to progression through further apprenticeships such as the Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship or the Solicitor Apprenticeship.

Higher Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship

The Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship is a five year, Level 6 Apprenticeship course which develops onwards from the Paralegal apprenticeship, solidifying legal skills amongst the candidates in order to allow them to progress their careers.

They will learn how to negotiate on behalf of clients, and also how to represent them in both formal and informal proceedings.

Check out AllAboutSchoolLeavers for a summary of what a Higher Apprenticeship is and a breakdown of Advanced Apprenticeships too.

The Solicitor Apprenticeship

The Solicitor Apprenticeship is a Level 7 Apprenticeship which lasts at least six years and (unsurprisingly) leads to qualification as a solicitor! This is the first of its kind in the UK, a thorough programme created by the Trailblazer scheme and the City Law School which comprises blended learning and tuition in order to give the Apprentices the skills they need to become the solicitors of tomorrow. 

Apprentices will learn all about the fundamentals of law and legal practice, gaining the knowledge equivalent to that of completing a law degree, LPC and training contract, over the course of the six years. 

Read more on AllAboutLaw.co.uk:

> How to find a legal apprenticeship
> Legal apprenticeship CV
> Types of legal apprenticeship

Can I become a solicitor or barrister with an apprenticeship?

Traditionally, one of the main reasons people didn't partake in legal apprenticeships was that there was no direct route to becoming a solicitor. With the 2016 Apprenticeships, this completely changed, and there is now a direct route into the Solicitor field, in accordance with SRA regulations, as well as more paths opening up for those who have completed Paralegal apprenticeships through Equivalent Means qualifications. 

There is no rules against switching and moving towards a BPTC qualification, but there is still no direct route, and those who wish to become a barrister might still consider the University route as one which would stand them in better stead. 

Four reasons why you might want to do a legal apprenticeship

  1. Start a career in the legal industry straight from school.
  2. Bypass the cost of university education.
  3. Develop skills on the job whilst receiving qualifications.
  4. Get paid.

Four reasons why you might not

  1. It’s not the established route to becoming a lawyer, and may obstruct certain paths (i.e. barrister).
  2. You would miss out on the university experience.
  3. Some firms don’t offer legal apprenticeships yet; although this is changing, some firms you have your heart set on might still be less welcoming of apprenticeship qualifications over a traditional degree…
  4. The combination of learning and on-the-job hands-on work will no doubt be a tough way to earn your spurs. 

Useful Resources

AllAboutSchoolLeavers.co.uk – Our sister site to AllAboutLaw is geared towards all things school leaver. You’ll find plenty of school leaver focused advice and some choice legal apprenticeships too.

BPP Apprenticeship Programmes

Skills for Justice

Don’t forget to check out the legal apprenticeship opportunities on our Law Apprenticeships jobs page.

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