Government approves direct-to-solicitor apprenticeship plans

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has released new assessment plans and standards for legal apprenticeships that are designed to create easier avenues into the legal profession.

There will be apprenticeships that will lead to qualifications as solicitors, paralegals and chartered legal executives.

The standards form part of the ‘Trailblazers’ initiative announced by the Prime Minister in August, and that package of 59 standards will define legal apprenticeships from 2017.

They have been developed by a group of Trailblazer employers in collaboration with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Law Society.

The SRA chief executive, Paul Philip, said: “Opening up the profession through improving alternative routes to qualification can make an important contribution to increasing diversity, so we see this as a positive step forwards.2

Entry requirements

Whilst there are no formal entry requirements, the standards recommend that students have a minimum of four GCSEs at grades C or above (including English Language or Literature) or equivalent qualifications. Individual employers may identify any additional relevant entry requirements for employment in terms of previous qualifications or other criteria.

Other requirements include understanding of Business & Ethics in Law and Critical thinking and problem solving.

‘A more diverse talent stream’

Gun Judge, chair of the Trailblazers Legal Committee said that these apprenticeships will lead to a more diverse legal industry.

“The Legal Trailblazer Scheme enhances the alternative to the traditional route into law – opening the doors to a more diverse talent stream entering the profession. Our apprentices create a huge contribution to the firm, and we will be looking to hire more,” he said.

Law firms involved

The law firms involved with the apprenticeship scheme include Addleshaw Goddard, Browne Jacobson, Burges Salmon, Clyde and Co, DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, DWF, Eversheds as well as banks such as Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.