Why should I consider a solicitor 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. Other legal apprenticeship developments have also meant more paths opening up for those who have completed paralegal apprenticeships through Equivalent Means qualifications.
During a solicitor apprenticeship, trainees will take on many roles and responsibilities that they would not have the chance to at university. These could be:
- Acting ethically, with professionalism and judgement Progressing legal matters and transactions
- Applying legal knowledge and commercial judgement to produce solutions which meet clients’ needs and address their commercial or personal circumstances
- Deploying the full range of legal skills - research, interviewing and advising, advocacy, negotiation, drafting, communicating orally and in writing
- Establishing and maintaining effective and professional relationships with clients and other people
- Managing themselves and their own work effectively
A solicitor apprenticeship will usually take about five or six years to complete. The programmes have been developed through a partnership between 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.
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.
Four reasons why you might want to do a solicitor 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 solicitor 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