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Parneet Pal, Insight Project: Pathways to Law: Legal Apprenticeships

Insight Project will be publishing a series of blogs over the coming weeks. The third week's blogs focus on pathways to a legal career.

This blog is written by Parneet Pal, Insight Project Team Member

Pathways to Law: Legal Apprenticeships

Abstract: In this blog post, I will be talking about a different pathway into beginning a career in law.

In England and Wales, the most common route in a career in law is through obtaining a university degree. However, this is slowly starting to change and instead more students are using the route of apprenticeship to begin their career in law.

These legal apprenticeships are an alternative path into the legal sector aimed at school leavers, where apprentices are employed on a full-time basis by a law firm and work towards the qualifications that are required for a career in law, followed by a training contract or legal practice course.

So why should you do an apprenticeship in law?

  • A head start your career in law after finishing school/college

  • Could get work experience with a top law firm

  • Allows you to earn a salary along with studying towards the qualifications

  • No tuition fees unlike university

  • Allows you to gain a professional qualification

  • Be trained by current legal practitioners

How much will you be paid?

All apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage, which as of April 2020 stands at £4.15 per hour for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year. However, the majority of legal employers often pay their apprentices considerably more than the National Minimum Wage along with other firm benefits such as childcare vouchers, private medical cover, pension contributions, and discounted travel schemes.

The apprenticeship will consist of a mixture of working for the law firm and the rest will be spent working towards a qualification at a law school. The structure of the apprenticeships will vary from scheme to scheme as it depends on the firm.

Can you qualify as a solicitor?

The Paralegal pathway and Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services doesn't qualify you to work as a solicitor. The only direct route to qualifying as a solicitor through an apprenticeship is by completing the Solicitor pathway. For September 2021 a new exam has been introduced known as the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. This is a two-part test Stage one will form part of the on-programme assessment, while stage 2 will be the end-point assessment, which must be taken during the last six months of your apprenticeship.

Which firms offer a law apprenticeship?

Firms such as Clyde & Co, CMS, Gordons, Kennedys, RPC has some form of apprenticeship schemes. The list carries on, this is just a list of the most known law firms. Legal apprenticeships are very competitive; therefore, it is vital that you research the firms and tailor your application accordingly.

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