National law firm embraces solicitor apprenticeships

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By Thomas Connelly on

Ashfords’ new six-year pathway will incorporate SQE

Ashfords has become the latest law firm to launch an apprenticeship programme that leads to qualification as a solicitor.

The new six-year pathway offers apprentices the opportunity to earn whilst working and studying towards a law degree and the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). The national outfit has teamed up with BPP Law School for the provision of training.

Ashfords says applicants will be expected to have at least three A-Levels at grades A*-C, or equivalent experience and consistently good performance ratings if the candidate is already an employee at the firm.

The first two apprentices are currently paralegals with the firm and will begin their journeys to qualification as solicitors next month.

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News of the offering comes just weeks after new stats revealed the number of solicitor apprenticeships is on the up. There were 242 available last year, according to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. That’s 41% more than in 2019, when there were 170 available. Going back further, there were 107 solicitor apprenticeships in 2017 and just 30 in 2016.

A number of big name firms have embraced the TC alternative in recent months. Allen & Overy launched an apprenticeship scheme in London earlier this summer — the first of the magic circle to do so — while Norton Rose Fulbright has created similar programmes in both its London and Newcastle offices. Elsewhere, DLA Piper will next month welcome its first cohort of solicitor apprentices in Manchester.

You can find out more about the various routes into the legal profession, including solicitor apprenticeships, using our interactive ‘Paths to becoming a lawyer‘ guide.

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