Damar Training and O Shaped are launching the first paralegal apprenticeship programme to integrate O Shaped content. From August, all new paralegal apprentices with Damar will benefit from content that supports their development of the O Shaped mindset and attributes at a level appropriate for their roles. It follows the success in 2021/2 of a pilot programme across five law firms.
O Shaped is client-led and based on research that looked at what senior in-house leaders were looking for from their lawyers. Legal expertise is considered a given but what makes the most effective lawyers stand out are more human-centred skills such as the ability to have open communication, work as a team, seek feedback and share ideas, all of which lead to a healthier, more successful working environment and a better client experience.
The programme allows apprentices and their managers to identify, develop and bring to life O Shaped skills. It includes conversations with the O Shaped community about the importance of wider human and business skills and the benefits these have for individual development, team performance and customer service. O Shaped attributes are measured at the start of the course and their development is tracked over approximately 18 months so that employers and apprentices can see the impact the new skills are having.
Here are some comments from participants in the pilot:
L&D lead: “I would not want to work with a provider that didn’t include this content”
Senior HR and OD Business Partner: “Really valuable – it links in with the skills that we need from our solicitors”
Apprentice paralegal: “It has made me realise that the apprenticeship is more than just about legal skills but focuses on personal development and soft skills and is client focused too”
Apprentice paralegal: “It has helped me be more open about mistakes I have made – to seek guidance and not repeat the same mistakes again”
Dan Kayne, founder of the O Shaped Lawyer said:
“It has been a pleasure working with Jonathan and the team at Damar during the course of the pilot and really rewarding to see the positive responses from apprentices and employers alike. This partnership will enhance the development and prospects for apprentices as they embark on their legal careers and demonstrates the value and importance of alternative career paths to create a more inclusive and diverse profession.“
Jonathan Bourne, managing director of Damar Training added:
“Great apprenticeships help individuals and organisations achieve their potential and deliver long-term, sustainable impact. Since we began working with Dan and his colleagues over a year ago the close alignment between our vision and O Shaped’s has become increasingly clear. This partnership broadens the O’s reach and will help make the legal profession better – for those who work in it, those who use it, and those entering it.”