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Legal sector apprenticeships

It’s now possible to get a legal qualification by completing a Trailblazer apprenticeship. This is an alternative to the traditional route to qualification.  

You can complete an apprenticeship to qualify as a:

  • solicitor
  • paralegal
  • probate technician
  • chartered legal executive

For more information, download our brochure Apprenticeships in the legal sector (PDF 2Mb)

Solicitor apprenticeships

The standards expected of apprentice solicitors are the same as those expected of all solicitors.   

As an apprentice you'll spend 20% of your working week studying and the rest of it working in a law firm. The law firm will decide how this 20% will be taken. Many firms give their apprentices one day a week to do course work.   

What a solicitor apprenticeship involves  

The solicitor apprenticeship is an ideal opportunity if you're looking for an alternative to university or seeking a change in career. A solicitor apprenticeship will last from five to six years. However, any previous legal training you’ve done might reduce this time.   

As well as training, day-to-day work might include 

  • finding information and files in the data room 
  • researching cases 
  • working with clients

You can find more information on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website and the government’s apprenticeship website.   

Entry requirements

Many employers have their own entry requirements which will be posted on their apprenticeship advert, but the government’s recommended entry requirements are:  

  • 5 GCSEs, including mathematics and English - grade C or above (or equivalent)
  • 3 A Levels (or equivalent) - minimum grade C  

and/or

  • relevant employer-led work experience
  • Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in a relevant occupation - business administration, legal services, providing financial services  
  • Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in a relevant occupation - legal services, professional services and providing financial services (may be entitled to exemptions from training)  
  • Paralegal Apprenticeship (may be entitled to exemptions from training)
  • Legal Executive Apprenticeship (may be entitled to exemptions from training)
  • Law Degree/Graduate Diploma in Law/Legal Practice Course (entitled to exemptions from training)  

Assessment

Apprentices are assessed by the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). This is split into two parts:

  • SQE1 is a written (mainly multiple-choice) exam to test legal knowledge
  • SQE2 is a practical assessment to test skills such as client interviewing and giving advice to clients 

Apprenticeship Standard requirements

Your employer will make sure you meet the requirements of the Apprenticeship Standard for a solicitor (England) or the level 7 Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Practice (Wales).  

Resources

The Lawyer Portal – free guide to law apprenticeships

The Lawyer Portal – expert insight from a solicitor apprentice

The SRA website – Q&As on the trailblazer solicitor apprenticeship