Legal apprenticeships – the new path into law
Legal training is changing, and the power is now in employers' hands.
Last year, the Government introduced a suite of reforms to expand apprenticeships and give employers more control – including law firms. One of these reforms is the apprenticeship levy, which must be paid by all businesses with an annual wage bill over £3 million. They also introduced new employer-designed, high-level apprenticeships – making legal apprenticeships relevant and economically viable for the very first time.
The new legal apprenticeships are great for employers and candidates alike. Law firms can spend their levy funds training new staff in standards designed by like-minded employers – ensuring candidates gain wider business skills as well as knowledge specific to their company and role.
It also means candidates can use apprenticeships to progress from a school leaver to legal administration or paralegal all the way to a solicitor. Candidates train on the job and earn while they learn, so they can qualify without incurring any student debt. This opens up the legal profession to people of all backgrounds, and encourages talented future lawyers to pursue a career in law.
Anyone can become a legal apprentice. Depending on their qualifications, candidates can jump right in at solicitor level, or work their way up. There are 3 apprenticeships available which mirror the traditional journey of a lawyer – from a law degree, to the LPC, to a training contract.
1. Legal support
This 12-18-month programme is ideal for post-GCSE or post-A-level students. Candidates gain excellent administrative skills and learn about the English legal system – especially your firm's specialism. It’s the perfect way to train your staff and an ideal stepping stone for candidates.
2. Legal technician
Post-A level candidates can complete a paralegal apprenticeship or higher apprenticeship in legal services. Both programmes last 2-3 years and allow apprentices to develop their law, practice and business skills.
This is a 6-7-year higher apprenticeship for post-A level students. The programme contains the same content as a law degree and LPC, and candidates achieve either a LL.B (law degree) or LL.M (Masters). Candidates will also complete the SRA assessment and qualify as a solicitor – without having to commit to a further 2-year training contract.
Whether you're attracting new recruits, or want to upskill promising staff, the new legal apprenticeships bring big benefits to your firm:
- Customise training to your needs
- Recruit the best talent, sooner
- Increase staff retention and commitment
- Develop existing staff
- Spend your levy funds on relevant training
To find out how you can deliver legal apprenticeships – or even design your own standard – download our free guide. It covers everything you need to know about the new world of apprenticeships – including how to get the most from your new legal apprentices.