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Government approves apprenticeship standards for lawyers

SRA says standards in law will drive up quality and improve access to the legal profession

3 September 2015

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The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), has published new assessment plans and standards for legal apprenticeships that will enable more flexible routes to qualification.

The apprenticeship standards to qualify as solicitors, paralegals, or chartered legal executives are part of a package of 59 standards - which form part of the 'Trailblazers Apprenticeship in Law' initiative - that were announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in August.

The standards have been developed by groups of Trailblazer employers and businesses with support for the solicitors' apprenticeship from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Law Society.

The solicitors' regulator says the standards in law will drive up quality and improve access to the legal profession, with the first legal trainees set to join the scheme as early as September 2016.

The SRA chief executive, Paul Philip, said: 'Opening up the profession through improving alternative routes to qualification can make an important contribution to increasing diversity, so we see this as a positive step forwards.'

Law firms involved in the development of the standards include Addleshaw Goddard, Browne Jacobson, Burges Salmon, Clyde and Co, DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, DWF, Eversheds, Gateley, Kennedys Law, Lewis Silkin, Mayer Brown, Olswang, Pannone, Simmons & Simmons, Stephenson Harwood, Thomas Eggar, and Withers.

Gun Judge, chair of the Trailblazers Legal Committee and resourcing manager at Addleshaw Goodard, added there has never been a better time to start a law apprenticeship.

'The Legal Trailblazer Scheme enhances the alternative to the traditional route into law - opening the doors to a more diverse talent stream entering the profession. Our apprentices create a huge contribution to the firm, and we will be looking to hire more.'

Commenting on the apprentice scheme for chartered legal executives, Harvey Sandercock, education portfolio holder for the CILEx Regulation Board, said: 'The training and assessment arrangements, which have been approved, will provide a new generation of specialist lawyers with a firm grounding in the practical legal skills their employers and clients value, supported by high academic standards.'

CILEx's chief executive, Mandie Lavin, added: 'These new, employer led standards ensure the qualifications will be market driven and fit for purpose and we look forward to working with both legal businesses and learners on delivering these apprenticeships and continuing to encourage a more diverse profession.'

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