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Burges Salmon teams up with BPP to launch earn-while-you-learn solicitor apprenticeships

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Bristol-headquartered outfit has taken on five new school-leavers

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National outfit Burges Salmon has teamed up with BPP Law School to launch an earn-while-you-learn route to qualification as a solicitor.

Burges Salmon has today confirmed it is embracing the government-backed scheme and has taken on its first five legal apprentices (pictured above).

The two-year programme will see the firm’s new recruits — Ruby Hobbs, Elliot Hawes, India Jenkins, Thomas Chamberlain and Lucy Helps — spend four days a week working at the firm’s headquarters in Bristol and one day a week hitting the books at BPP.

Burges Salmon, which has been involved in the government’s Trailblazers initiative since March 2014, will pay its apprentices a salary of £15,340.

On completion of the scheme, the wannabe lawyers will have achieved their level three paralegal apprenticeship and a certificate in legal practice. With this qualification under their belts, apprentices can then complete their level seven solicitor apprenticeship (which will see them qualify as a solicitor) in five years, instead of six. The firm appears to be adopting a flexible approach to entry requirements, but Legal Cheek understands apprentices must have three good A-levels.

Burges Salmon’s chief people officer, Robert Halton, said:

We fully support the principles behind the trailblazers initiative and recognise the value that apprentices can bring to any business. We want to develop skills for the future of our business and the legal sector. Other professional services have been offering high quality apprenticeships for years with great success and we see this as an exciting development for the legal sector.

Burges Salmon is just one of a number of firms to offer the alternative route into law.

City giant Mayer Brown launched its articled apprenticeship last year, which will see hot-shot school leavers qualify as solicitors at the firm. Teaming up with the University of Law, Mayer Brown hired its latest apprentice last month. Elsewhere, Fletchers, Eversheds and Kennedys all offer similar level seven earn-while-you-learn schemes.

Clyde & Co, DWF, Irwin Mitchell and magic circle outfit Freshfields have also embraced the trailblazer movement, but as things currently stand, apprentices at these firms can only qualify as paralegals.