Eversheds and BPP University Law School have launched a six-year apprenticeship scheme leading to qualification as a solicitor. The law firm is believed to be the first to launch a scheme at this level, but its shape depends partly on the fate of the Solicitors Qualification Examination.
Legal apprenticeships funded by the government are on course to start next September, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers have confirmed.
Legal apprenticeships “are going to be massive” and law firms will have to respond by recruiting A-Level students straight from school, the dean of BPP Law School has predicted. Peter Crisp said he also believed the SRA would “force through” a centralised assessment test for would-be solicitors.
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has given the green light to a 10-firm consortium led by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers to develop a specialist probate apprenticeship.
One of the big changes in legal education recently has been the rise of interest in apprenticeships as a vehicle for developing paralegal and non fee-earning staff within law firms. The drivers for this are partly economic but technological change and a realisation that talented young people were being missed in the quest for graduates have also played a part.
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has approved the standards for its new legal apprenticeships, allowing young people to qualify as solicitors, chartered legal executives, licensed conveyancers and paralegals through workplace-based training.
Key players in the legal profession have welcomed the second phase of a government-backed scheme that will create apprenticeships which for the first time will lead to qualification as a solicitor, while a new apprenticeship in conveyancing will also be developed.
US/UK law firm Reed Smith becomes first legal practice to sign up to a major initiative aimed at opening up access to work experience opportunities to anyone with an Internet connection. The firm has joined the likes of ITN, Capgemini, MediaCom, ZenithMedia, Channel 4 and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen.
A new route into the legal profession is launched today in a bid to improve access and diversity in the law. The Level Four Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services is designed to help firms recruit a new breed of talented paralegals who could in time become chartered legal executives.
Our latest round-up of key news includes the SRA and CLC offering relief to solicitors in breach because of RBS/NatWest computer problems, £1m of government money for legal apprenticeships, a destination for dormant client money, the Co-op’s new will-writing partnership, and much more.