Government approves standards allowing apprentices to qualify as solicitors

The Government has approved new standards that will allow apprentices to work their way up to full solicitor status.

The Legal Education and Training Review (LETR), published last summer, called for a greater variety of routes into the legal profession and suggested that apprenticeships should be developed for the legal profession. A number of ’CILEx Apprenticeships in Legal Services’ have already been launched which allow school-leavers to qualify as chartered legal executives. From there, they could theoretically go on to cross-qualify as a solicitor; however, the Government’s approval of the new ’Trailblazer’ standards means that apprentices will now be able to directly qualify as a solicitor, chartered legal executive or paralegal while working within participating employers.

The existing CILEx apprenticeships will continue in their current form until all apprenticeships transition to Trailblazer formats in 2017.

In the second phase of consultation, a curriculum and assessment process will be drawn up before the new apprenticeship standards are launched next year.

Addleshaw Goddard resourcing manager Gun Judge, who chaired the committee of Trailblazer employers, said: “We believe a more diverse business is a stronger business, and today’s announcement is a pivotal milestone for social mobility in the legal profession. The new standards will enhance the alternative to the traditional route into law – opening the doors to a more diverse talent stream entering the profession.

“What we have achieved so far is phenomenal and is testimony to everybody involved in the initiative. I look forward to working together with the committee and associated organisations to shape an effective syllabus and assessment as part of the second stage of our consultation.”

Solicitors Regulation Authority chief executive Paul Philip welcomed the news, saying: “We are pleased that the Government has approved the Trailblazer standards which means we can now progress to the next stage of development of the apprenticeship.”

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