Why should I consider a legal executive apprenticeship?
Traditionally, one of the main reasons people might have avoided legal apprenticeships was that there was no direct route to becoming a solicitor. With the introduction of solicitor apprenticeships, this completely changed. These Degree Apprenticeships – Level 7 qualification – now offer a direct route into the solicitor field, in accordance with SRA regulations.
People who have completed a legal executive apprenticeship are eligible for the solicitor apprenticeship – so this programme will not prevent you qualifying as a solicitor, if that is your end goal.
Other legal apprenticeship developments have also meant more paths opening up for those who have completed paralegal apprenticeships through Equivalent Means qualifications.
During a legal executive apprenticeship, trainees will take on many roles and responsibilities that they would not have the chance to do at university, meaning the programmes help you develop skills you would not get on an academic course.
Apprentices also benefit from gaining other skills that those on academic courses do not. They start building up practical experience of the workplace and important ‘soft skills’ – things like leadership, teamwork, communication skills – and problem-solving skills right away. These are vital for the world of work, which many employers say that university graduates are lacking, so going into work after school could give you a better grounding in these skills than continuing in education.
People on legal executive apprenticeships will also be registered members of CILEx for the duration of their programme. There are different membership grades at different points of the route to becoming a Chartered Legal Executive. CILEx members are regulated by CILEX Professional Standards (IPS) and apprentices must demonstrate that they meet the regulatory requirements necessary to become a CILEx member.
Four reasons why you might want to do a legal executive apprenticeship
- You can start a career in the legal industry straight from school
- You are able to bypass the expensive cost of university education
- You will develop skills on the job while receiving qualifications
- You will be paid a full-time salary
Four reasons why you might not
- A legal executive apprenticeship is not the established route to becoming a lawyer, and may obstruct certain paths (i.e. barrister)
- You might miss out on the traditional ‘university experience’
- Some firms do not 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
- The combination of learning and on-the-job hands-on work is a tough one, that requires dedication and very hard work