Costs Lawyer Apprenticeship development is progressing swiftly
Approval nearing for Level 6 Costs Lawyer apprenticeship, creating accessible legal career paths, supported by industry leaders
The creation of a Costs Lawyer apprenticeship is making significant strides, with ACL Training, the training arm of the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL), projecting final approval by the summer. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) has acknowledged the need for this apprenticeship and is presently evaluating a draft occupational standard developed by the Costs Lawyer Apprenticeship Employer Trailblazer Group. If given the green light, the proposal will move to the Department for Education for ultimate approval.
Designed at Level 6, the apprenticeship will span three years, incorporating a weekly study day. Apprentices will accumulate the necessary qualifying work experience, leading to regulated Costs Lawyer qualification. The apprenticeship levy is expected to benefit both large and small employers.
Responding to a call from ACL Training, 16 employers formed the trailblazer group, commencing meetings in September and working at a rapid pace since. The ACL and the Costs Lawyer Standards Board support this initiative to open cost-related careers to school leavers and those seeking an entry into the legal field.
The trailblazer group comprises six specialist costs firms and nine solicitors' firms, including the Government Legal Department. Chaired by Paula Walkden, head of costs delivery at Irwin Mitchell, the group emphasizes promoting costs as a career, aiming to tap into talent earlier in individuals' career paths.
Ms. Walkden notes that the evolving role of Costs Lawyers demands enhanced skills, moving beyond bill drafting to encompass broader litigation skills. This apprenticeship provides an opportunity for individuals to contribute significantly to legal teams.
While the apprenticeship offers an alternative route to the Costs Lawyer Qualification, there will still be demand for traditional qualification routes. Madeleine Jenness, head of education at ACL Training, emphasizes the importance of diversifying pathways, catering to different preferences and needs.
Jack Ridgway, ACL Chair, expresses enthusiasm about the apprenticeship, highlighting the evolving strategic roles of Costs Lawyers within litigation teams. With a growing emphasis on costs control from the senior judiciary, Costs Lawyers find themselves playing pivotal roles, offering abundant opportunities for aspiring legal professionals. This initiative aligns with a broader effort to develop the Costs Lawyer Apprenticeship at a time when the profession is ripe with possibilities for students.