RPC launches ‘earn-while-you-learn’ paralegal programme with solicitor prospects

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By Thomas Connelly on

Bristol-based scheme follows similar moves by Freshfields, Hogan Lovells and Pinsent Masons

International law firm RPC has announced it will be delivering a paralegal apprenticeship programme that could eventually see participants go on to qualify as fully-fledged solicitors.

RPC has confirmed it is looking to recruit up to four fresh-faced aspiring paralegals in its Bristol office, who will start the government-approved scheme in November 2018.

The ‘earn-while-you-learn’ programme takes two years to complete and will be delivered in collaboration with The University of Law (ULaw) and apprenticeship specialists Damar Training. Remuneration-wise, the paralegal apprentices will start on £15,000, rising to £15,500 in year two.

But that’s not the end. RPC has also revealed that upon successful completion of the paralegal apprenticeship, there’s a potential opportunity for participants to continue to study for the solicitor apprenticeship. The firm hopes to extend the entire project to its London office in the near future.

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“We’re very pleased to be getting this programme off the ground — it’s an exciting new development in terms of the range of careers we offer here,” RPC partner and training principal Simon Hart said. He continued:

“An apprenticeship with RPC will give people fantastic career opportunities without some of the financial burdens that a more traditional route into a legal career would bring. We hope that will help attract a more diverse range of candidates to our junior talent programme at RPC. Our apprentices will gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills they need to build long-term successful careers with us.”

RPC is not the first firm to launch a paralegal apprenticeship scheme.

In August 2016, we reported that magic circler Freshfields had teamed up with ULaw to create a similar paralegal programme at its legal services hub in Manchester. International giant Hogan Lovells has also embraced the government-backed scheme at its low cost legal centre in Birmingham.

More recently, Pinsent Masons unveiled similar plans across four of its offices, and told Legal Cheek that it hoped to open up the gates to aspiring solicitors in the longer term.

Firms which currently offer the solicitor apprenticeship programme include Addleshaw Goddard, Burges Salmon, Dentons, Eversheds Sutherland, Mayer Brown and Withers.

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