Legal apprenticeships—Are they the key to fresh talent?

Legal apprenticeships—Are they the key to fresh talent?

Apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular, with 2019 seeing a rise in the number of apprenticeships across the UK.

The legal profession adopted apprenticeships in 2016, with a scheme called Trailblazer. The scheme allows students to sign up straight from school, entering the programme which usually runs for five to six years. It enables them to undertake work-based learning and complete an assessment equalling a solicitor qualification.

Why are students attracted to apprenticeships?

The qualification is particularly attractive to students due to increasingly expensive university tuition fees. The apprenticeship scheme helps students avoid university debts and earn as they learn. As well as this it enables students to:

  • start a law career immediately after finishing school
  • gain necessary and CV boosting work experience with a top law firm
  • gain equivalent professional qualifications
  • learn from current legal practitioners
  • gain wider business skills, which are coveted in today’s ever-changing profession

The introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) by the SRA only looks to increase the attraction of legal apprenticeships. As the SRA will no longer specify routes to admission to becoming a solicitor, all those entering the profession with take the same SQE exam. This not only ensures consistency and high standards but eradicates the notion that one route to qualification is better than another.

Why should employers be interested in apprenticeships?

There are many benefits for the employer as well as the student in hiring apprentices. The Law University highlights that it is more than just attracting new talent. For example, the scheme can help employers:

  • support widening access to profession
  • recruit the best talent, sooner
  • provide relevant practical training, focussed on a job specific training plan
  • increase staff retention and commitment
  • enhance and develop the skills of existing colleagues
  • reinforce their commitment to social responsibility

BCLP found their apprenticeship scheme to be a positive addition to their firm, noting that it:

  • bought engaging, keen to learn students, who progressed rapidly and stayed loyal
  • bought different skills and approaches that complimented their traditional trainee route
  • produced a deep talent pipeline for them
  • ensured the students had a knowledge of the firm and practice areas

If you are considering adopting an apprenticeship scheme in your firm, LexisPSL offers practice notes outlining your legal obligations and giving guidance on setting up your scheme.

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About the author:

Hannah is one of the Future of Law blog’s digital and technical editors. She graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in History and Politics and previously freelanced for News UK, before working as a senior news editor for LexisNexis.