What Do Legal Apprentices Do That Law Students Don’t?

A legal apprenticeship is a route to becoming a lawyer that combines a paid job at a law firm with studying for formal qualifications, paid for by the government and your employer. It’s an alternative to the traditional route of going to university and training to be a lawyer afterwards. Solicitor apprentices gain a law degree and ultimately qualify as solicitors, with potentially very interesting, fulfilling and well-paid careers ahead. “Solicitor apprenticeships are an exciting way of recruiting young people into the business,” adds Joanna. “Apprenticeships enable us to identify and then really nurture talent at an early stage. I’m looking forward to seeing our apprentices develop and grow into qualified solicitors over the six-year process, at which point I hope they’ll have built strong relationships across the firm and its clients, and will stay on with us as their careers progress further.” An intermediate apprenticeship (sometimes called a business administration or legal administration apprenticeship) is aimed at school leavers who’ve not done A levels.

It’s a 15 to 21-month course that involves helping lawyers to progress cases by performing key administrative tasks such as research, receiving calls, proofreading, audio typing and dealing with confidential information. It develops key legal workplace skills and knowledge. If you take the Paralegal Apprenticeship you’ll carry out tasks such as managing data and records, drafting legal documents and client correspondence, carrying out legal research, attending court hearings where appropriate, handling sensitive information and communicating with internal and external clients. Those completing the Solicitor Apprenticeship will manage cases of their own. You’ll research cases, interview and advise clients, establish and maintain effective working relationships with clients and colleagues, daft legal documents, undertake spoken and written advocacy, negotiate solutions, manage and progress legal matters and transactions, and keep and maintain accurate records.

But it’s hard to tell how effective it’s been, says Roper, as there is very little data available on equality and diversity indicators for the 500 people currently on the apprenticeship. “I suspect there has been some improvement, but we can’t point to any kind of definitive data to back that up. I do think there’s potential for the number of apprenticeships to increase and thereby to further that equality and diversity objective. There is a way to go, and a lot of people are just starting to get to grips with how best to collate and use the data. But generally, there is quite a lot of enthusiasm from firms who want to do this, and enthusiasm for the principle of apprenticeships.” Firms are certainly starting to realise how important the apprenticeship can be to attract talent from under-represented backgrounds.

At Browne Jacobson LLP, which currently has three apprentice solicitors, legal apprenticeships are a key part of a diversity and equality programme, which resulted in the firm rising from 82nd in the Social Mobility Employer Index in 2019 to fifth in 2020. If you’re considering a career in law, but don’t fancy years of higher education and thousands of pounds of student debt, an apprenticeship in law could be the right path for you. Here’s everything you need to know about legal apprenticeships. “It makes sense to make sure that we fish in and attract the largest, deepest, broadest pool of talent that we can possibly get,” says Tom Lyas, recruitment manager. “We also have so many questions from clients as to what we’re doing to increase diversity. It’s the right thing to do, but being more diverse will also make you more attractive to the clients that you work with, because you need to represent them. I say: ‘Be brave and don’t stick to tradition.’ For me, the training contract is a dying thing.”

Law Courses Law courses are designed for continuing personal development and are offered by a number of leading universities and other educational institutions around the world. Courses in Law and Regulations have many study options available that may include online, classroom, individually or in conjunction with degree programs. Some of the specialized areas of study for law courses are commercial law, intellectual property, regulatory theory, and others. Also many sectors have specific courses discussing the current trends and regulatory issues relating to their specific industry. The variety of different Law courses can be overwhelming – don’t let it stop you! Start your search by looking at the most popular Law courses listed below. Apprenticeships in law are designed for students who want to enter the legal profession without following the traditional degree path. Apprentices split their time between working for a law firm and studying legal practice part-time at a university or college. Tuition is completely free and apprentices earn a salary while they work.

Legal apprenticeships have been around for many years, but they used to be set at levels below full qualification. Now, these old apprenticeships have be replaced with three new Law apprenticeships, known as ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeships. These were developed by leading law firms and the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority), with the mission of improving the quality of training and changing the qualifications that apprentices leave with. This means it is now possible to qualify as a solicitor, paralegal or chartered legal executive by completing an apprenticeship in law. The University of Law is one of the UK’s leading providers of legal education and training and has trained more legal professionals at different stages of their careers than anyone else. Taught by professionals, over 90% of our tutors are lawyers. We have been successfully delivering apprenticeships since 2015, with hundreds of apprentices across the country. We are the largest provider of the Solicitor Apprenticeship in the country. Making decisions about your career can be extremely difficult. Often as a student, you will receive conflicting advice from people, and it can be hard to weigh up which option is best for you.

In college, I had an unconditional place at Lancaster University to study law, but at the last minute, I decided to cancel my placement and pursue an apprenticeship instead. I’m now in my fourth year of the apprenticeship and am really happy with my decision, but I can still see the benefits of both options. In fact, many of my peers took the university route to study law and they don’t regret their decision either. If you are looking to study law, or have aspirations of becoming a solicitor, but don’t know which career path to go down – don’t fret. The good news is that both options are brilliant, and have their own unique benefits. Plus you can achieve the same job either way! Here I will outline the main benefits of each option from my perspective. If you do want to become a solicitor, apprenticeships are more of a fast track way to get there. Doing an apprenticeship means that you study whilst working.

To get all of the qualifications that you need to become a lawyer usually takes around five or six years and then you are good to go. With university, most people graduate after three or sometimes four years with a law degree. Overall, to complete all of the steps to become a solicitor mentioned above, this can take anywhere between 6 and 10 years depending on whether you study full or part-time and how quickly you are able to secure a training contract. Training contracts are really hard to come by – I’ve often heard them likened to gold dust. This will slow down the time that it takes to qualify as a solicitor, but bear in mind that the time at university will be slower paced and include lengthy breaks such as summer holidays. These timings suit some better than others. A law apprenticeship lets you study for a formal legal qualification at a law school. At the same time, you’ll learn by actually doing the job, most likely at a law firm or at a company’s legal team. You’ll earn a salary and won’t gather the debt of university fees.

You can apply straight from school, and there are even law apprenticeships for 16 year olds. It’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll be going directly into a challenging full-time job, and won’t have the long summer holidays that university students have. (This apprenticeship is mainly for school-leavers, but if you’re a university graduate or already have completed another kind of law apprenticeship, like one of the course above, the programme will be shorter). You need five GCSEs and three A-levels at grade C or above to apply. You will work full-time and study part-time, working towards an level 6 qualification, the equivalent of a degree (it could even include an LLB, or bachelor of law degree). You’ll then complete the Legal Practice Course, the vocational qualification that you need to practise law as a solicitor. Law apprenticeships are government-backed, employer-designed ‘trailblazer’ schemes, which provide an alternative route to university for aspiring lawyers to qualify into various legal careers. Apprenticeships involve working and studying concurrently, allowing apprentices to ‘earn while they learn’ and develop skills while on-the-job.

As university fees continue to increase, law apprenticeships have become increasingly popular as an option to avoid student debt, with a 40% increase in the number of apprenticeship opportunities made available in 2021. Law apprenticeships have become increasingly popular for both aspiring lawyers and law firms who recognise the benefits of in-firm training and progression. As a result, more and more firms now offer law apprenticeships, with an estimated 2,000 apprenticeships offered nationally across around 400 employers. Each law firm advertises its apprenticeship opportunities on its website, with detailed instructions regarding entry requirements, the application process and deadlines. Take a look at our deadline calendar to see which law firms are currently taking on law apprentices. The calendar not only sets out application deadlines but also entry requirements, the type of apprenticeship being offered (solicitor/paralegal etc), salary details and direct links to application forms/processes).

We believe talented and ambitious people will always thrive with the right investment and support. With our Solicitor Apprenticeship programme, we are giving you the opportunity to gain the qualifications and experience to excel in a leading law firm, while earning a salary of £25,000 in the first year of your apprenticeship (increasing every year). On this page, you can learn about the benefits of the programme, discover what we are looking for in a suitable applicant and find out how you can apply. Over six years, you will immerse yourself in the world of law, with your time divided between working with Allen & Overy colleagues and focused study time. The programme is designed and balanced to provide everything you need for a successful career in law. Four days of each week will be spent working in practice groups on real projects, live deals, and interesting cases for clients. Throughout the programme you will move between teams and departments within the firm to gain valuable insight into all the services we provide.

This includes our Banking, Corporate, International Capital Markets and Litigation Departments. You will also spend time in the Allen & Overy tech innovation hub, Fuse, as well as the Markets Innovation Group, Legal Tech, eDiscovery and Project Management teams. One day per week will be spent studying with our training provider, BPP University, where you will work towards an LLB (Hons) Law and Legal Practice and a Solicitor Level 7 Apprenticeship. We will cover your entire tuition fee and you will also earn a salary during your training. What really sets us apart from other universities is the guiding principle that future lawyers and business leaders should learn in a realistic, professional and contemporary context, with plenty of practical interactive engagement. That’s why we keep our contact hours high and our teaching groups small. During your first 2 years you will work towards a Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship, and with some additional study, a Certificate in Legal Practice, set at Level 4 (equivalent to the first year of university).

This additional qualification allows you to jump onto the solicitor programme at a later stage. Those with the ability and inclination to continue onto the Level 7 solicitor programme will achieve a law degree as part of the path to qualification. The end point assessment of the solicitor apprenticeship is the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam, which all aspiring solicitors will have to take from 2021. An apprenticeship in law is a practical, work-based route into your chosen career. You will gain the qualifications and skills to work in the field while earning a salary and not paying tuition fees.

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