Competition for solicitor apprenticeships “tougher than training contracts”

Wilde: Important to get a good grounding in the business of law 

Competition for six-year solicitor apprenticeships at a leading London law firm is tougher than for training contracts, it has emerged.

Katherine Wilde, director of knowledge, learning and development at Farrer & Co, said the firm received 234 applications for its first two solicitor apprenticeships, which started last month. The firm receives up to 1,000 applications for 10-12 training contracts.

Solicitor apprentices at the law firm – famous for its work for the Royal family – move through six seats during their training, as opposed to four for trainee solicitors, spending their first two years with business services teams.

Their starting salary is £21,250 and they spend one day a week at the University of Law, preparing for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

“It’s such a good route into the profession,” Ms Wilde said. “I don’t see any downside to it.”

Ms Wilde said solicitor apprenticeships were “really gaining in popularity”, but she found on her visits to schools that a lot of people still did not know about them.

The A-level requirements for solicitor apprentices at Farrers are the same as for trainees – an A and two Bs in any subjects, not necessarily law. The recruitment process is similar too, with a first round of interviews followed by an assessment day with group exercises.

Solicitor apprentices at the law firm spend their first two years in four of five business services departments: finance and risk, HR, marketing and business development, and IT. They do not work in the knowledge, learning and development team.

Ms Wilde said Farrers was “one of the few” law firms to structure its apprenticeships in a way that included business services.

“It’s very important for them to get a good grounding in the business of law before they enter our legal teams, just as it’s important for any lawyer to appreciate that a law firm is a business.”

Ms Wilde said the experience solicitor apprentices would gain in the business services teams, and their understanding of how a law firm worked, would “give them real benefits in their future careers”.

When it came to taking the SQE exams, the solicitor apprentices would “merge with the trainee cohort” in their year, sitting the exams and qualifying as solicitors at the same time.

As well as supervisors, solicitor apprentices are assigned partner mentors at each stage of the programme, who “conduct regular check-ins and provide additional support”.

Ms Wilde added that the number of solicitor apprentices at Farrers would be kept under review and, if the scheme was successful, she hoped numbers would increase.

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Commercial real estate: The impact of AI and climate change

There is no doubt climate change poses one of the most complex challenges for the legal industry; nonetheless, our research shows firms are adapting.

Empathy, team and happy clients

What has become glaringly obvious to me are the obvious parallels between the legal and financial planning professions, and how much each can learn from the other.

Training the next generation lawyer

Since I completed my training and qualified over 10 years ago, a lot has changed. It’s. therefore imperative that law firms adapt and progress their approach to training and recruitment.

Loading animation