Blog

A new route into the profession

By Sophie Crookson, Policy Officer - Stakeholder Engagement, 7 October 2015

We are pleased that The Department for Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS) recently approved our plans for three new legal apprenticeships which will be ready for delivery in England from 2016. These will allow apprentices to qualify as solicitors, legal executives or paralegals while working for their employers.

The legal sector is one of many participating in what is called the Trailblazer Apprenticeship initiative. Employers played a major role in supporting the initiative because they can see how it will benefit their business – by widening their talent pool and developing a flexible workforce. An impressive list of employers has been involved in the development of the legal apprenticeships: Addleshaw Goddard, Barclays, Browne Jacobson, Burges Salmon, Clyde and Co, DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, DWF, Eversheds, Gateley LLP, Kennedys Law, Lewis Silkin, Mayer Brown, Olswang, Pannone LLP, The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Simmons & Simmons, Stephenson Harwood, Thomas Eggar and Withers. The group are holding an information event for employers on 6 November 2015. You can contact jo.wilson@dentons.com for further details.

We hope that the solicitor apprenticeship will appeal to talented young people who are looking for an alternative to the traditional graduate route to qualification. Apprentices will receive a salary while training and save on the cost of tuition fees for a law degree and LPC. Instead, apprentices will have the opportunity to learn on the job and work alongside experienced professionals to pick up practical expertise and know-how that can’t be learned in the classroom. This doesn’t mean that apprentices won’t study or work towards qualifications while they are training - the apprenticeship offers a blend of on- and off-the job learning, where some knowledge and skills will be taught away from the workplace. Some apprentices may even wish to study for a degree as part of their apprenticeship, sometimes with financial support from their employer, but this is not a requirement.

Qualification through the apprenticeship route will not be an easy option! Everyone can be confident that the standards expected of apprentice solicitors will be the same as those expected of all solicitors. Apprentices will be rigorously assessed against the requirements of the Statement of Solicitor Competence [insert link], the same as all solicitors, before they are admitted to the roll.

Although Trailblazers is an England-only initiative, a higher level apprenticeship leading to qualification as a solicitor, also developed with employers and recognised by us, has already been approved for Wales.

You can find out more at www.gov.uk/education/apprenticeships-traineeships-and-internships.