ITV launches new training scheme that allows students to qualify as solicitors

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By Katie King on

Become a lawyer while rubbing shoulders with stars such as Judge Rinder


ITV has announced that it will be offering its own in-house legal apprenticeship programme, giving successful participants the chance to qualify as solicitors while studying a law degree part-time. Who knows, they may even get to meet Judge Rinder?

Working in conjunction with City Law School and CILEx Law School, ITV will launch the programme from September next year.

It will begin with just one apprentice, who will complete an LLB while working in a paralegal-style role, and then — if it is approved — have to pass the centralised assessment dubbed the ‘super exam’ proposed yesterday by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Alternatively, the candidate will do some form of reformed Legal Practice Course (LPC). Either way, they will, crucially, become solicitors rather than chartered legal executives. In other words, the ITV legal apprentices will be on the same career track as conventional graduates.

Successful completion of the training will allow the apprentice to eventually qualify as a solicitor with ITV in August 2022.

This programme is the first in-house legal apprenticeship to be announced for the new, government-backed Trailblazer solicitor apprenticeship scheme that is expected to shake-up entry to the legal profession over the coming years.

There are three different Trailblazer routes for law, which see participants qualify either as paralegals, chartered legal executives or solicitors.

The focus of the scheme is to gain qualifications through a combination of work and study, with participants assessed by oral and written tests alongside workplace assessment. The apprentice will be working for four days a week, spending the fifth day studying, and will be awarded an LLB degree from City University on successful completion of the programme.

Andrew Garard, general counsel at ITV, highlighted the good grounding in ITV’s business that the apprenticeship could give, commenting:

We are delighted to be the first in-house legal department to embrace the new Solicitor Apprenticeship scheme. We see the new apprenticeship route as a great opportunity to create solicitors who know ITV’s business inside out at the point of qualification. This can only enhance our quest to make our lawyers true business partners.

The downside, however, is that anyone who comes through this route will be very much a company lawyer, with any experience of working in a law firm limited to secondments that they may be allowed to do.

Meanwhile, City Law School dean Professor Carl Stychin drew attention to the “academic rigour” of the scheme, explaining:

This partnership combines the academic rigour of City University London’s LLB with the legal apprenticeship expertise of CILEx Law School. This venture demonstrates the School’s agility in creatively responding to the radically changing environment of legal education in this country.

Legal Cheek spoke to Morag Hiskett of CILEx Law School, and asked her what sort of candidates ITV was targeting for its new programme. She told us:

Apprenticeships are ideal for school leavers looking for an alternative to the degree route.

And when asked if there are any academic pre-requisites to signing up for the programme, she said:

This isn’t formally specified, but we expect that clients will look for school leavers with three good A-levels.

In addition to this, the BBC has also launched its own Trailblazer apprenticeship, however unlike ITV, participants will only be able to qualify as paralegals. The Beeb is seeking four students for its two year course, with a students starting on a salary of around £12,000.

The apprenticeship offered by ITV is very similar to the combined Mayer Brown-University of Law ‘Articled Apprenticeship’ that combines a law degree, an LPC and a period of recognised training. Where the schemes differ — other than one being in a company and the other a law firm — is that only organisations signed up to the official Trailblazer scheme receive government subsidies to develop their apprentices.