Solicitor apprenticeships – an alternative route to qualification
The legal profession is changing. When I was considering my career prospects many moons ago, becoming a Solicitor was something I had not even considered as an option. I didn’t have family members who had qualified as a lawyer, and I had the perception that law was something that wealthy or exceptionally clever people pursued as a vocation.
As it turned out, my career goals changed, and I realised that I really enjoyed the world of Human Resources (HR). As soon as I finished university, I took on an HR role working for a law firm, and that was the beginning of my career working with and supporting lawyers. I love working in the legal profession and its ever-changing nature. I find the law fascinating and am totally in awe of my colleagues. Having worked with lawyers for many years, I now realise that those early perceptions I had of the law weren’t a fair reflection of the varied people working in this area!
Over my 20-odd years working with lawyers, I have seen myriad changes to the legal profession. However, the most impactful change that I think will make a real difference to the profession is the move to offer flexible and alternative routes to qualifying and being admitted to the Roll of Solicitors.
The new SQE qualification offers students the opportunity to gain work experience whilst studying. At present, it runs alongside the LPC, but it will soon supersede it.
In addition, the SRA has launched an Apprentice route for both school leavers and university graduates, as an alternative option. Both routes offer students the opportunity to qualify with on-the-job experience, whilst being funded to complete the SQE qualifications in partnership with a relevant body. The Graduate Solicitor route, suitable for those who have completed a degree, can take up to 25 months to qualify and the Solicitor Apprentice, suitable for school leavers can take up to 6 years.
At BBK we launched our two apprenticeship scheme routes in 2022, offering both Graduate Solicitor and Solicitor Apprentice routes. It allowed us to hone in on our key values, and support an inclusive and diverse workforce.
Our apprentices work alongside more senior lawyers, building their vocational experience, whilst studying. We can hone their skills and develop their understanding of legal matters. We offer career mentoring and additional training alongside our cohort of Trainee Solicitors and qualified lawyers. These new training schemes allow BBK to offer our clients the most talented people to manage their legal matters, but also allow us to help give talented people exposure to a profession that may not be accessible to everyone. Our Graduate Apprentice, Connor Hawkins, recently wrote a blog about his initial few months in our apprenticeship scheme, which makes for a great read.
I am excited that the legal profession is evolving and working hard to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to training our future lawyers. I am so pleased we are embracing the opportunities to attract and work alongside talented people who may not necessarily think that a career in law is possible for them.
We are currently recruiting for a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice. If you are interested in exploring the apprenticeship route and working with BBK to change the law for the better, please get in touch. We really want to hear from you!