Week 6 – Becoming an apprentice if you already have a job in the legal sector
Getting an apprenticeship with a law firm can seem daunting and so we are sharing some useful tips to help you kick start your legal career. So far we have looked at:
- Week 1: How to identify the right role and register for vacancies.
- Week 2: CVs and covering letters.
- Week 3: Work Experience.
- Week 4: Preparing for an Interview
- Week 5: Interview Technique
This week we are looking at how to become a legal apprentice if you already have a job in the legal sector. Not everyone working in a law firm is a solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive, has completed the LPC or a law degree. If you are working your way up the career ladder – you may be (or have been) an administrator or secretary for example – then an apprenticeship might be the perfect way to develop your technical knowledge and skills. In addition, if you don’t have a degree it is likely that the Government will pay some of the cost. Completing an apprenticeship also means that you gain nationally recognised qualifications and can help you progress to more senior roles within your firm.
Before we start though, key points to remember:
- An apprenticeship is not a course; it is a job with training.
- To be an apprentice you need to have a job (ideally full time).
- There is no apprenticeship funding for graduates and so if you are a graduate an apprenticeship is unlikely to be for you.
- An apprenticeship always requires the support of your employer!
Next you must establish your eligibility.
- Funding to support your training is generally only available if you do not have any qualifications higher than A Level.
- If you are aged under 24, then it is likely that some funding will be available, although your employer will have to contribute to the cost if you are 19 or over. Although there is currently some funding available for advanced and higher apprentices aged 24 this will cease as of August 2013, after which time student loans will be available for those aged 23 and over.
- The majority of legal apprentices will therefore be aged 16-24 with qualifications up to, but not exceeding, A level.
If you would like to discuss your eligibility further please contact us at Damar Training.
The next step is to identify what level of apprenticeship is right for you and whether it is available. The different levels are:
Intermediate Apprenticeship in Business and Administration (Legal Administration pathway) (Level 2)
This is for those who are starting their career in the legal sector. Apprentices will often be employed as legal administrators , supporting case workers and other fee earner with the administrative aspects of legal matters. This apprenticeship normally lasts about 12 months.
Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services (Level 3)
This is currently in development by Skills for Justice and CILEx and is likely to be available from September 2013. We expect that it will be suitable for apprentices in roles where they are managing aspects of case files, conducting legal research and some drafting in addition to carrying out more complex administrative work. In some firms, advanced apprentices will be performing fee-earning work for at least some of the time.
Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services (Level 4)
This is suitable for apprentices in fee-earning roles who already have some core technical knowledge (for example, CILEx Level 3 or the Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services). The Higher Apprenticeship is set at undergraduate level. It is likely that most if not all higher apprentices will be in fee earning roles. As well as higher level legal practice skills, the Higher Apprenticeship has 3 specialist technical pathways:
- Personal injury (both claimant and defendant)
- nsolvency and debt recovery
- Commercial litigation
Other specialist pathways, for example property, wills and probate and family law are expected to follow.
Although full details are not yet available, it is expected that the Advanced and Higher apprenticeships will each grant students exemptions against elements of the CILEx professional pathway and we expect that some Advanced and Higher apprentices will progress to become Chartered Legal Executives.
If you are interested in becoming a legal apprentice the next step is to speak to the relevant person within your employer organisation – probably your manager to start with and then someone in the HR or training team. Do remind them that the cost of the training and assessment is likely to be subsidised and that, because much of the training is delivered in the workplace, “downtime” is modest. If your employer wants to find out more we would be very happy to speak to them – contact details are on our website or just call 0161 480 8171 and ask to speak to a member of the recruitment team.