Legal apprenticeships: an alternative route to a career in law

Close-up of a hand signing a contractAs a legal apprentice you can receive professional training with a law firm or in-house legal department and earn a salary at the same time. 

The term ‘legal apprentice’ is increasingly used within the legal sector to describe a number of differing training opportunities that employers are developing for existing and new members of staff.

Apprenticeships offer a combination of on-the-job training and nationally-recognised qualifications.  Within the legal sector, they are available in legal administration and legal services.

Legal administration
Level 2 intermediate apprenticeship in legal administration
This provides apprentices with an understanding of the legal environment whilst gaining business administration skills. It is designed to develop staff who can assist in the progression of cases but have primarily administrative, rather than legal knowledge. Roles can include legal administrators, receptionists, junior clerks, trainee legal secretaries and trainee costs draftsmen (who  ensure that a firm’s clients are properly charged for work undertaken on the clients’ behalf).

Level 3 advanced apprenticeship in legal administration
This offers further development of skills and knowledge to people providing a high level of secretarial/administrative support to barristers, solicitors, chartered legal executives and other legal personnel.

Legal services apprenticeships
Level 3 advanced apprenticeship in legal services
This is designed for people who are interested in becoming paralegal fee-earners. Responsibilities can include:

  • advising individuals who have suffered personal injuries;
  • advising insurers and other companies who are being sued in personal injury cases;
  • helping individuals and organisations recover debts that are owed to them;
  • helping organisations successfully resolve disputes using legal processes;
  • helping people who are buying or selling property;
  • helping prepare wills and deal with individuals’ assets after death.

Level 4 higher apprenticeship in legal services
The higher apprenticeship in legal services is an exciting new undergraduate level apprenticeship designed for individuals who want to work in law or are already working in a legal environment and wish to progress.

Mark Morris is a Career Guidance Practitioner at CILEx.

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Find out more

The Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services website has full details about legal apprenticeships.

The National Apprenticeships Service has more information about apprenticeships.

The Chartered Institute for Legal Executives (CILEx)  is the professional association and governing body for Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers, other legal practitioners and paralegals.  They also provide legal education, training and skills development.

Skills for Justice Career Pathways has lots of information on careers within the justice sector.