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Legal apprenticeships: A New Way to Develop Legal Talent

The University of Law has delivered the Solicitor Apprenticeship since 2016. The programme has now welcomed over 70 legal sector employers, from high street practice to global law firms as well as in house legal, local authorities and police forces. Apprentices on the programme include school leavers, apprentices progressing from previous apprenticeships and career changers.

By Editorial Team. Published 06 March 2019. Last updated 21 February 2023.

The knowledge and experience of practitioners who have recruited, managed and mentored apprentices in the legal sector to date has been invaluable in informing our strategy and approach to delivery of the degree level standard.

Employers are seeing real benefits of increasing the diversity of their workforce, offering opportunities for existing employees and providing people of all ages with opportunities. Without this scheme some may not have chosen to start or progress their career in the law.

Why Choose a Legal Apprenticeship?

A Legal Apprenticeship is a great alternative route into a legal career, with no student debt, plenty of practical experience and a wage whilst you study.  You will work with a company for six to seven years on a programme that comprises 80% work and 20% study and training.  A work based assessor will come to the office to check on your progress and build a work based portfolio.  You will also complete weekly submitted tasks with feedback from a University of Law tutor. Assessments are different for each subject studies, you will either sit a written exam at your local ULaw campus or complete a piece of coursework.  You will also work towards the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam, Parts 1 & 2, and upon successful completion, subject to SRA character and suitability test, become a qualified lawyer.

So what are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

For the apprentice:

  • The opportunity to earn while you learn, including paid holidays
  • Benefit from personalised, ongoing support
  • Having workplace experience can improve your employability
  • Gain independence and confidence in a workplace environment
  • No student loans, so you can stay debt free
  • Greater earning potential
  • You can still get student discounts through NUS Apprentice Extra

For the business:

  • Attract enthusiastic, talented and hardworking staff
  • Increased productivity
  • Apprenticeships can aid staff retention
  • Pay no National Insurance on apprentices under 25
  • Future-proof your business
  • Apprenticeships are tailored to the business, so they get the employee they need
  • Develop and enhance the skills of existing employees

Interested and want to know more?

We asked ULaw Apprenticeship Consultant, Sue Lenkowski to share her top tips when applying for a Legal Apprenticeship, this is what she told us:

1) It sounds obvious, but look at the requirements in the adverts, only apply if you meet them and follow the instructions on how to apply to the letter.  This will save you wasting time on an application that is rejected because you didn’t meet the criteria or forgot to include everything that was requested.

2) Make sure you get someone else to read through your application before you send it and check, check and check again, for typo’s and spelling mistakes.  Lawyers focus on detail and if you make a simple spelling mistake your application could go to the bottom of the pile.

3) Show your passion for the role.  You need to spend time researching the company and have a good, logical reason for why you are excited about working as an apprentice for this organisation.  Don’t just repeat the company’s brochure or website.

4) Last, but not least, please don’t be disheartened if you are rejected a few times, be resilient. Ensure you are a good match for the vacancy, do your homework and prepare well for the interview.  Each interview is an opportunity to learn more.


Discover more about legal apprenticeships through ULaw.