Dozens of firms to embrace legal apprenticeships when levy is introduced

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law firms are preparing to offer legal apprenticeships when the government’s Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect

Many more law firms are preparing to offer legal apprenticeships when the government’s Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect in April.

Although many still think university is essential for a law career, there are in fact legal Intermediate Apprenticeships, Advanced Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships – all offering great opportunities to school leavers, without the expense of university.

These apprenticeships in the legal sector have existed for some time, but LawCareers.net has reported that the government-backed Apprenticeship Levy (enabling employers to reclaim tax from their payrolls to fund apprenticeships) is set to encourage hundreds more firms to launch their own schemes.

The year ahead should therefore see apprenticeships strengthened as an alternative route to becoming a solicitor – or even a judge in the future.

The Intermediate Apprenticeship in Legal Administration, for example,  is technically a version of the well-known business and administration apprenticeship. It takes about a year and most apprentices are school leavers (post GCSE or A level).

The Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services was launched in March 2013 and will take 18 to 30 months in most cases. Although some A-level school leavers will start with the Higher Apprenticeship, most higher apprentices will have completed one or both of the other legal apprenticeships. Existing staff moving into paralegal roles and some non-law graduates are also expected to take the Higher Apprenticeship.

 

 “We want a diverse workforce. We’d always offered trainee programmes that worked very well and were very successful, but from a social mobility perspective we wanted to make sure that the profession was accessible to all. We were very conscious that, with changes to university fees, we didn’t want to miss out on the talent pool of those that weren’t considering university. We knew that we could bring them into the business earlier and work with them sooner.”

Sally Swift, legal services manager at Browne Jacobson (one of the earliest firms to adopt the legal apprenticeship pathway) told LawCareers.net why the firm was keen to embrace the new route.

Swift said: “We want a diverse workforce. We’d always offered trainee programmes that worked very well and were very successful, but from a social mobility perspective we wanted to make sure that the profession was accessible to all.

We were very conscious that, with changes to university fees, we didn’t want to miss out on the talent pool of those that weren’t considering university. We knew that we could bring them into the business earlier and work with them sooner.”

Those interested in finding out more about these schemes should read How to find a legal apprenticeship and Types of legal apprenticeship

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