5 top tips for setting up a solicitor apprenticeship programme

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Author: Kim Powell, @Damar and Jon Worrell, @BARBRI 

“Do apprentices need a full day a week out of the office?”; “What are the extra commitments?”; “Will this work for us?”. These are some of the questions that employers ask as they decide whether to offer the solicitor apprenticeship scheme. 

So what do you need to know? Here are some top tips:

  1. Off the job learning – there is no getting away from it, developing skills takes time and solicitor apprentices will need, on average, the equivalent of a full working day per week (sometimes slightly more). However it doesn’t need to be a solid full day – it might be two half days or even the hours split over three days. You can decide what works best for your organisation. You’ll need manage expectations of managers from day one but it can be done. 
  1. It’s not just for school leavers – there is no upper age limit on who can undertake an apprenticeship. Many employers offer apprenticeships to those who have completed other qualifications, including law degrees.
  1. Your existing paralegals may be eligible – so long as they have a big enough skills need, paralegals can use the solicitor apprenticeship as a progression route to solicitor. Better still, they can take a shorter form apprenticeship and qualify in two to three years.
  1. Choose the right solicitor apprenticeship “pathway” – a single six-year apprenticeship is a big undertaking, particularly for smaller firms and school leavers. That’s why some employers like to break up the journey into more manageable stages – a paralegal apprenticeship first, followed by a shorter solicitor apprenticeship. 
  1. Additional requirements – all apprenticeships include wider learning in areas such as British Values, safeguarding and equality and diversity. However these are not onerous on the employer. Don’t be put off! 

Bonus tip:

  1. Solicitor apprenticeships are for all legal services providers, not just private practice – including in-house legal teams, public sector employers and social enterprises… the combination of the solicitor apprenticeship with the more flexible requirements of Qualifying Work Experience enables all legal services providers to benefit from solicitor apprenticeships.

In short, apprentices can boost your talent attraction and development plans with minimal expense. Damar’s offering, powered by BARBRI, offers the most flexible approach in the market. Connect with @Kim Powell to find out how apprenticeships could support your organisation.

Read Jon’s other blogs here:

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