Slater Heelis appoints first legal apprentice

Sale based law firm Slater Heelis LLP has appointed April Long, 18, from Urmston as its first ever Legal Apprentice. The former Loreto Grammar School pupil is one of the UK’s first Legal Apprentices, a scheme launched this year that allows young people to start work in a law firm direct from school with GCSE or A-Level qualifications.

The Legal Apprenticeship pathway starts at legal administrator level, which is where April will start, and extends right up to the new undergraduate level Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services. After the Higher Apprenticeship, progression to Chartered Legal Executive and solicitor is possible. April will be trained across a range of legal specialisms, from Family and Private Client to Commercial and Employment, as she works with the Slater Heelis team. She will also receive further training from specialist legal apprenticeship provider Damar Training to develop technical and practical legal knowledge alongside wider business skills.

Chris Partington, Head of Private Client at Slater Heelis, says: “The new Legal Apprenticeship pathway is a real alternative to university education for people who want to pursue a legal career. We know that many young people are deterred from choosing a law degree, both because of the cost of completing the course and the additional cost and time after graduating to find a job within a law firm. The Apprenticeship option is a very flexible and financially less constricting route that they can now take and it means that they get to understand from day one how a real law practice works and there simply is no better way to learn than that.”

April says: “Since I started my A levels I’ve been really interested in pursuing a legal career but I was concerned about how the costs would mount up while I was at university. When I found out about the Legal Apprentice programme it sounded like an ideal way to train for my dream job and to be able to

work with such a well-known firm like Slater Heelis. I feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen out of the many applications they received to start my career here.”

The number of 18-year-olds heading to university fell by 57,000 in the autumn of 2012, a trend that looks set to continue, as apprenticeships become a cheaper and more practical alternative to a degree. A recent Skills for Justice (SFJ) survey of law firms also found that 83% of law firms said they would be interested in apprentices. The Legal Apprenticeship also allows junior members of staff to upskill and will give non-legally qualified staff an opportunity to progress their career.

Slater Heelis LLP is a respected and long-established full service law firm based in South Manchester. Founded in 1773, Slater Heelis LLP now employs over 70 people who offer in-depth legal expertise to commercial and private clients across the fields of employment, property, corporate and commercial, litigation, family, conveyancing and wills and trusts. Slater Heelis LLP works with a diverse client base that ranges from sports personalities and entrepreneurs, to national PLC’s, local government and not-for profit organisations.

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