Partners reflect on legal apprenticeships

Could apprenticeships improve social mobility in law?

Could apprenticeships improve social mobility in law?

Many senior lawyers have shown their support for the apprenticeship pathway into their profession. Following on from the news that BPP Law School has created a vocational route, the Legal Week Big Question survey questioned those in the sector about the decision.

50% of those surveyed stated that the apprenticeship route would be effective in improving social mobility in law, whereas 24% thought it would make no difference. 48% of partners thought that lawyers with a university education would outperform school leavers, with 43% saying that both recruits would operate at the same level.  Other findings revealed that larger law firms were seen as less likely to take on apprentices, with 39% saying that high street and small companies would be the ones most likely to support the scheme.

Norton Rose chairman, Stephen Parish, says: “The previous system of permitting non-graduate entry did not appear to cause a two-tier profession. Indeed, many of the legal greats of that generation did not go to university. It is true that, upon qualification, the skills of those qualifying may be slightly different, but I would argue that can only be a good thing. It will open up the profession to people who upon qualification will have had many years of practical experience of working in an office environment.”

 Guy Stobart, CEO of Kennedy’s added: “I don’t think this will mean that those coming through the apprenticeship scheme will be second rate. In many cases, we’ll see a better standard of lawyer who may well bring a different approach and a refreshing attitude to the profession.”