North West personal injury firm Fletchers has become the latest firm to launch a legal apprenticeship scheme that will lead to solicitor status in conjunction with The University of Law. It will initially recruit three apprentices to start in September 2016, accepting applications from the local sixth form King George V College, as well as ones from internal candidates. The six-year scheme will incorporate an undergraduate degree, an LLM and the Legal Practice Course, taken at ULaw, combined with work experience within Fletchers.
It is a similar model to the University of Law’s Articled Apprenticeship, which it runs with firms including Mayer Brown. Fletchers CEO Ed Fletcher said, “I think it’s incredibly important that we encourage diversity in the law profession – not everyone can afford the burden of spending years at university and not earning at the same time, so an apprenticeship is a great alternative.” The profession has begun to embrace apprenticeships since the government approved the standards that would allow apprentices to work their way up to full solicitor status in 2014. Last month, Eversheds became the first firm to offer the Government’s Trailblazer level seven apprenticeship, partnering with BPP Law School to deliver it. It has also been suggested that other law firms such as DWF are thinking of introducing an apprenticeship scheme, due to the apprenticeship levy fund.