Legal sector employer shares thoughts on apprenticeships

Gordans law firm paved the way for the sector when it launched an apprenticeship scheme three years ago. 10 young people from ordinary backgrounds have been able to enter the legal profession, which is dominated by privately educated members of the upper middle class.

Managing partner Paul Ayre said: “It was groundbreaking within the law. The apprentices are doing very well. They have been a great success. It’s a distinguishing factor for Gordons among law firms. We are committed to it and invest a lot of time on it internally on the training and structure for them. It’s a big part of the business now.”

“If people have the aptitude and the attitude, then really their background and their status isn’t a determining factor. What we say to them at the outset is the firm will back them and if they end up becoming a partner, that’s great. But the only caveat we have is they must work hard. We also tell them that if we get a sense that’s not happening, the support is not there from the firm. It’s a very simple dynamic and we are very clear and consistent with them throughout. Fair to them, they work very hard and are good kids.”