Legal and Law Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships

Are you curious? Ambitious? And like being challenged? Want to know the legalities within a business or case? Well… Sit tight. Buckle up. Your law apprenticeship awaits.

Legal and Law Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships

Are you curious? Ambitious? And like being challenged? Want to know the legalities within a business or case? Well… Sit tight. Buckle up. Your law apprenticeship awaits.

There are tons of practice areas within law. You could become a family lawyer and help settle financial disputes when couples get divorced. Or venture into entertainment law and protect artists’ intellectual property rights when violated.

Fancy yourself a criminal lawyer? You’ll research cases, educate clients on their rights and come up with a strategy to defend them in court. You’ll get to collaborate with the police too, questioning witnesses and collecting evidence. The possibilities are endless!

If you’re set on becoming the next Sherlock Holmes and revamping the UK’s justice system, read our guide on law apprenticeships to learn how they work and why you should consider one over the traditional university route.

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Can you get into law with an apprenticeship?

Absolutely! Law apprenticeships are for those who want to become solicitors, paralegals or chartered legal executives without going to university and studying for a full-time degree.

If you want to become a barrister, however, you’ll still need a law degree. You’ll also need to do the bar course and complete your pupillage.

How do law apprenticeships work?

Law apprenticeships allow you to combine hands-on experience with academic study. You’ll split your time between working for an employer and studying towards nationally recognised qualifications at law school.

This will include face-to-face teaching and online learning, as well as periods of independent study as coursework deadlines and exams approach.

Work and study periods are arranged as either single day or block releases. Imagine you’re a law apprentice at Kennedys. You might spend four days a week at work. And one day out-of-office to attend class.

A single day of every week will be dedicated to law school or self-study.

On the other hand, you might spend three or four consecutive weeks at work. And have a week-long block release to attend college.

No matter how your programme is organised, you’ll benefit from extensive on-the-job training as well as tuition. Without needing to spend a single penny on tuition fees. The government and your employer will cover these for you.

Oh - and as if that wasn’t lovely enough - you’ll take home a nice paycheck too.

What do law apprenticeships involve?

Law apprenticeships allow you to work with legal practitioners, develop your legal knowledge and build commercial awareness. As part of your training, you’ll draft documents, file paperwork and update database systems.

Once you’ve gained experience, you’ll take on more tasks, like researching cases or interviewing and advising clients. Eventually, you could qualify as a trained solicitor! Between 2020-2021, solicitor apprenticeships increased by 40%, so there's plenty of opportunity to achieve a legal career without having to go to university.

Lots of companies offer apprenticeships in law, including:

Application process

Once you’ve picked your company, research it thoroughly and tailor your application to the specific role you’re applying for. If you’ve done some work experience, now is the time to mention it as it will help your application stand out from the crowd.

Each company will have its own application process. If you’re successful, you’ll be invited for an interview. Depending on the organisation, you might have to attend an assessment centre and take psychometric tests. These will determine if you’re the right candidate for the role.


Types of law apprenticeships

There are three main apprenticeships available in law. These apprenticeships were introduced in 2016 and are part of the government’s new Trailblazer Scheme. They are:

  • Paralegal Apprenticeship (Level 3 - Advanced)

  • Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship (Level 4/5 - Higher)

  • Solicitor Apprenticeship (Level 6/7 - Degree)

Your apprenticeship level depends on your academic background and the role you want to specialise in. If you’re starting your career, you’ll begin as an advanced paralegal apprentice and work your way up from there.

Paralegal Apprenticeships

As a paralegal apprentice, you’ll work in a fast-paced legal team and help solicitors prepare for trials by:

  • Reviewing documents

  • Managing data

  • Contacting clients

  • Creating case files

  • Performing legal research

They last a minimum of 2 years and usually, the main entry requirements are:

  • 2 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 - 4 (A*- C) - ideally in maths and english AND

  • 2 A-Levels at grades 9 - 4 (A*- C) - in relevant subjects, such as english, history or law.

Entry requirements for this scheme are slightly higher than a typical advanced apprenticeship. But don’t let this put you off. Paralegal apprenticeships are a brilliant opportunity to start a career in law.

Employers look for the very best candidates, who will be dedicated to a career in the industry. As each employer sets their own criteria, it’s a good idea to always check for specific requirements on their websites.

"I have lots of support. If I need something, I can ask my managers and they always find a solution. They are very open and honest regarding everything and I feel I can speak to them about anything." Paralegal Apprentice, FCA

The qualifications you'll gain on completion are:

  • CILEx Level 3 Diploma in Providing Legal Services

  • CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Legal Practice.

These qualifications give you a golden ticket to a higher or - in some cases - a degree-level apprenticeship. Know what that means? You can finally throw a celebratory dinner party with all your pals for completing your paralegal apprenticeship.

Think of it as a legal case - WON.

Want to know what a paralegal apprenticeship is really like? Check out this video.

Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeships

As a chartered legal executive apprentice, you’ll broaden your legal knowledge and develop the skills you learned as a paralegal apprentice. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Provide legal services to a wide range of clients

  • Negotiate on behalf of clients

  • Represent clients at formal and informal events

These apprenticeships last up to 5 years. The entry requirements depend on the individual criteria set by the employer and the law school training you choose. Typical requirements for a scheme like this are:

  • 4 GCSEs at grades 9 - 4 (A*- C) - including english language or literature and maths

  • 2 A-Levels at grades 9 - 4 (A*- C) - in relevant subjects, such as english, history or law

  • Existing apprentice qualifications - for example an advanced apprenticeship

The qualifications you'll gain on completion are:

  • CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice

  • CILEx Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice

"My communication skills and my confidence have definitely improved since the start of my apprenticeship. I feel a lot more confident when doing my job role but at the same time I enjoy learning new skills such as dealing with difficult clients and improving my drafting style." Chartered Legal Executive Apprentice, Irwin Mitchell

Solicitor Apprenticeships - Law Degree Apprenticeship

Law degree apprenticeships are an alternative to the traditional path of becoming a solicitor. They teach you the fundamentals of law and legal practice. Once you’ve finished your programme, you’ll have the same knowledge as someone who has completed:

  • A law degree

  • An LPC

  • A training contract

You’ll have a tuition fee-free law degree too. Plus thousands of shimmering pounds in your bank account. Law degree apprenticeships make this possible. Gee-whiz is the appropriate response to that one.

They last around 6 years and the main entry requirements are:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 - 4 (A*- C)- including maths and english

  • 3 A-Levels at grades 9 - 4 (A*- C) - in relevant subjects, such as english, history or law

  • Level 3 advanced apprenticeship - in Business Administration or Legal Services

  • Level 4 higher apprenticeship - in Legal Services or Providing Financial Advice

As aforementioned, law degree apprenticeships take six years to complete. During this time, you’ll work towards a full law degree and the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination) assessments to qualify as a solicitor. Qualifications on completion include:

  • LLB Degree in Legal Practice

  • SQE Centralised Assessment


"I receive a good amount of support from my employer. My managers in both this department and the previous department were really understanding when it came to doing exams. If I let them know in advance they would always ensure that I did not work overtime." Solicitor Degree Apprentice, KPMG

How much are law apprentices paid?

One of the best things about an apprenticeship is the pay. That feeling you get when payday finally comes around and you breathe a sigh of relief. As a law apprentice, you’ll get paid for:

  • Your normal working hours

  • Any training that’s part of your apprenticeship

  • Extra courses you’ll have to take, for example maths and english

While your salary depends on your apprenticeship level, you’ll still get the National Minimum Wage. This is the minimum hourly wage that all employees receive. Some employers will pay you more. So do keep this in mind.

If you’re doing a solicitor apprenticeships, you’ll could earn a starting salary of £24,000. But the more experience you gain, the more you’ll earn until you'll find yourself averaging a mahoosive £50K a year!

Amazing, right? And it could be yours. ALL yours with an apprenticeship in law.

Law apprenticeships in London

Ever watched Enola Holmes and wondered what it would be like to live in London. And walk its narrow, cobbled streets? Or tour the Houses of Parliament and discover the mysteries that lie within the Lords Chamber?

Well, friends, your time has come.

By doing a law apprenticeship in London, you can experience all these. Not as a tourist. But as a local. London is a cosmopolitan city. And holds some of the UK’s biggest and brightest law firms, such as:

By moving there, you’ll be taking a huge step in your career. Not only does it open the doors to a huge number of opportunities, but you might even get to work for one of the most prestigious firms too!


Best Apprentice Employers in Law

We know it’s hard finding the right company. Especially when there are tons of amazing employers out there to choose from.

To make things easier, we’ve created our Best Apprentice Employers table. Here you’ll find the best companies to work for, based on honest student reviews by apprentices just like you.

So if you’re looking for a value-driven company with brilliant diversity initiatives and opportunities for career progression, check it out.

Here’s what one apprentice thought about their apprenticeship with Best Apprentice Employer, DWF.

"I’ve enjoyed learning about the legal work different teams undertake, attending client meetings and experiencing trials in the Royal Courts of Justice. The programme is well-structured. I have one assigned study day each week to complete studying towards my degree/qualifying exams. And another 4 days in the office working with my team, developing my office skills." Apprentice Solicitor, DWF Law LLP

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