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Solicitor Apprenticeship

6 years ago, the Solicitor Regulation Authority announced the introduction of the new ‘Solicitor Apprenticeship standard’. This is a method of qualifying which provides an alternative to the traditional, University and Training Contract route


                           
                                      Danielle Hanley-Hall

There is a common misconception around what an apprentice does, the Solicitor Apprenticeship, alongside other available legal apprenticeship gives law firms, Local Authorities and in house legal departments a chance to provide an apprentice with a great opportunity to develop and learn whilst they earn.

About me

Following my A-level results in August 2020, I began studying at the University of Liverpool. Due to it being 2020, commonly known as the ‘covid year’ after 4 months studying, I did not feel this was right pathway for me. I therefore left university and began working at Quality Solicitors Parkinson Wright as a family law administrator.

I then proposed the idea of the Level 7 Solicitors Apprenticeship to Peter Lewis, the Head of Family Law and he embraced the idea straight away. I began studying with the University of Law in January 2022.

Working has not just allowed me to gain experience in family law but has also developed my networking skills and confidence.  I currently sit on the Worcester Junior Law Division and recently, I and a colleague organised a domestic violence charity event for local professionals.

The apprenticeship

The apprenticeship is between 5.5 and 6 years long, within this time the apprentice completes a qualifying law degree, their Solicitors Qualifying exams and their LLM. A Solicitor apprentice will complete all core modules of a full-time law degree including, Contract Law, Criminal Law and Equity and Trusts.

An apprentice is entitled to 20% time from the job to study. What this looks like for each apprentice may vary but for me it is 1 ‘study day’ per week. In this study day, I complete a 2-hour online lecture, copious amounts of reading, tasks to apply the knowledge I have learnt and an assignment (usually in the form of an essay). Due to the volume of work which is involved, the course leaders at the University of Law, recommend spending 16 hours per week in total working, which is 8 additional hours on top of the study day. The apprenticeship is a big commitment, you are required to stay with your employer for 6 years and continuously study throughout that time.

In the remaining 80% of my working week, I carry out various tasks within the family law department at QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright. So far, I have gained experience in Public Law children, Private children and domestic violence. When I first started at the firm as a secretary, I carried out administrative duties which allowed me to gain a foundation of knowledge which I am now developing into more complex tasks, like, attending on clients, drafting client’s statements, attending pre-proceedings meetings and completing private law applications. 

In 4.5 years, I will be a fully qualified Solicitor with a degree, masters and will have completed my Solicitors Qualifying exams. I will also have 7 years work experience and various connections within the legal industry. I believe that this put me at an advantage compared to those who have done the traditional route where they would have studied for their degree for 3 years and an additional two years studying for their qualifying exams/masters.

The Level 7 Solicitor Apprenticeship is an amazing way to encourage more people to enter the legal profession without the requirement to go to university and complete a training contract. Large firms all around the country have begun to embrace this and it is also becoming more common in high-street firms. Not only will I be earining throughout, but I will not have the student debt that I would have done if I had gone to university and will have a job at the end of it.

I would recommend anyone who is interested in pursuing a legal career to consider undertaking the Level 7 Solicitors Apprenticeship.

 

Danielle Hanley Hall
Paralegal

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