Legal apprenticeships on the rise

A scheme aiming to create 100 legal apprenticeships across Manchester and the North West in 2012 is nearing its target.

So far, 27 employers have recruited 75 apprentices via the project run by Damar Training, the Manchester Law Society and the National Apprenticeship Services. National firms such as Kennedys and Plexus as well as smaller regional firms and one local council have taken advantage of the scheme.

“Apprenticeships are rapidly growing in popularity within the legal profession. To think that only a few years ago they were almost unheard of within the sector to now having some of the region’s largest and most respected law firms signing up is fantastic”, managing director at Damar Training Jonathan Bourne says.

He adds: “It’s partly because many very bright young people are nervous about going to university for two reasons. One reason is the cost of going, but also sadly, the huge oversupply of LPC graduates plays a part. Firms are being squeezed by clients and some need to make sure their finance models still work, paralegals can help with that.”

Bourne believes that this does not equate to a compromise for young people, saying: “It’s about choice, really. Many young people opting to go the legal apprentice route are able to go to university. The equation they have to make is if they go the traditional route they may get a training contract, they may not. There is a lot of risk.”

This follows news of the higher apprenticeship in legal services, due to launch in March 2013, in which Damar Training is a partner along with Pearson in Practice, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and Skills for Justice. (22 June 2012)