Professional apprenticeships help open door to legal career

A Yorkshire law firm is at the vanguard of a new initiative to help young people train as legal apprentices straight from school.

Lupton Fawcett Lee & Priestley, based in Leeds and Sheffield, is one of the first law firms to take on higher level legal apprentices – a new post-A level route to a legal career.

The firm has taken on Callum Jackson, 18, who has joined the corporate finance department in Leeds and Daniel Higgins, 19, who is with the residential property team in Sheffield.

The training leads to undergraduate-level legal qualifications awarded by The Chartered Institute of Legal executives (CILEX) and is part of a new wave of professional apprenticeships created since the  economic crash which led to a fall in graduate opportunities and a recognition that young people need an alternative to the fees and career uncertainty of some degree courses.

Lupton Fawcett Lee & Priestley managing director, Richard Marshall, says: “Legal apprenticeships are part of a whole new business model. Our commitment to the Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services also recognises that many young jobless people have degrees and significant debts as a result and that we can create an alternative career path.

“Offering young people an opportunity to train in this way gets them into rewarding, interesting work and enables us to develop our staff from the start embedding the special values and commitment our lawyers have as part of our Law of Advantage approach to meeting clients’ needs. It also means they will be trained in a practical business environment so they can quickly develop their potential.

“Legal apprenticeships mean that we get people of the same quality but younger at a stage when they are prepared to roll up their sleeves and tackle routine work. In a competitive market, apprenticeships will also enable us to build another a degree of flexibility into our service and pricing.”

Callum Jackson, of Garforth, Leeds, says: “I heard about the opportunity at my school careers day. It's great to be in this position because you hear about graduates finishing university and not getting  jobs they studied for. With an apprenticeship, I have my foot in the door, and when I qualify, I’ll have years of experience over a graduate and less debt.  Earning while learning is a brilliant concept.  I am very lucky to have this opportunity.”

The firm is working with Damar Training which devised the Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services with The Chartered Institute of Legal Executive and Skills for Justice and works with law firms nationally.

Damar’s managing director, Jonathan Bourne says: “The economic climate, combined with deregulation in the sector means that law firms are breaking down legal processes so that tasks are performed by staff at the right level.

“This frees up the most expensive lawyers for the highest value, most complex work, resulting in better value for clients. Legal apprenticeships fit perfectly with these new structures as well as with the demand from ambitious young people for a challenging and rewarding alternative to university.”

This story also appears in the Yorkshire Post. Click here to read

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