Eversheds launches Trailblazer solicitor-apprenticeships

Eversheds has launched the long-anticipated Trailblazer ‘Level 7’ apprenticeship which will allow apprentices to work their way up to qualify as solicitors.

The scheme, which the firm will run with BPP Law School, will start in September 2016, with applications open until 8 April. Apprentices will begin on a salary of £15,200 outside London and £17,200 in London, which will increase over the course of the six years they spend training.

The government-backed Trailblazer apprenticeship has been in the works for a number of years, with Eversheds one of a number of firms which have been working on developing exactly how it will look.

There are three different Trailblazer routes for law, leading to qualification either as a paralegal, legal executive or solicitor. Details of how it will be assessed were revealed by the government last September.

A separate apprenticeship scheme, the University of Law’s ‘Articled Apprenticeship’, already sees school leavers ‘earn while they learn’ en route to qualification as a solicitor; however that scheme is essentially a repackaging of the law degree, LPC and training contract. The Trailblazer route is intended to be a very different format, although BPP will have the ability to award an LLB as part of the programme.

Tricia Chatterton, director of legal apprenticeships at BPP, said: “Future lawyers’ demands are changing and more young people are now recognising the value of the skills they can gain through work-based experience. The new tailored apprenticeship addresses this change, providing young people with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed, and allowing them to succeed within a leading international law firm.”

Last year, the BBC and ITV were among the first in-house organisations to launch the Trailblazer programme.

If it is approved, apprentices would have to take the SRA’s proposed final super-exam for all intending solicitors, announced in December, before they could qualify.

Meanwhile, Irwin Mitchell has partnered with CILEx Law School to provide the Trailblazer paralegal apprenticeships.