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Law apprenticeship: how you could train to become a solicitor for free

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Did you know that you can qualify as a solicitor through an apprenticeship?  

If you complete a solicitor apprenticeship, you’ll receive the same qualifications as someone who has taken a traditional route to becoming a lawyer, but you’ll avoid student debt, earn while you learn and get on-the-job training.  

Here’s everything you need to know and how to apply.  

What is a solicitor apprenticeship? 

Solicitor apprenticeships are aimed at post A-level students, as well as those already working in the world of law, like paralegals.  

It’s a Level 7 degree-level programme, which is completed in six years. You’ll train as a lawyer and study the same qualifications as those taking a traditional route into law while working.  

What qualifications do solicitor apprenticeships need? 

By the end of the apprenticeship, you’ll take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) to qualify as a solicitor. Some apprentices will obtain a law degree through the course of their training, but this isn’t a requirement. 

You’ll receive these qualifications and training at no cost to you, meaning you won’t build up debt while training as a lawyer. On top of this, you’ll earn a salary. 

You’ll spend approximately 20% of your time studying for these qualifications with a training provider like a university. The rest of your time will be spent building practical skills by applying your knowledge in the workplace alongside experienced lawyers. 

To complete the apprenticeship, apprentices need to pass the SQE1 and SQE2 solicitor assessments, but you can start from different entry points. For example, some apprentices might have already completed the Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship, or a degree.  

This means that by the end of their training, apprentices achieve the same high-quality qualification as someone who has opted for the traditional route. 

How much do solicitor apprentices earn? 

The salary varies depending on the role you’re interested in, and every employer will pay differently.  

All apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), but most legal employers often pay their apprentices significantly more, as well as other benefits on top of this.  

You’ll likely receive a substantial pay increase once you qualify. 

Are there other legal apprenticeships? 

If you’re interested in the world of law, there are lots of ways into the sector beyond the solicitor apprenticeship.  

For example:  

These apprenticeships offer access to the legal sector at different levels to the solicitor apprenticeship, so entry requirements will vary. 

What are the requirements to do a law apprenticeship? 

Entry requirements vary. For a solicitor degree apprenticeship, you will likely need GCSEs and A levels (or equivalent), but soft skills like interest in the industry, teamworking and motivation will also be important.  

Those who have completed a lower-level apprenticeship like the Level 3 Paralegal apprenticeship will also likely be in a good position to apply. 

Look at vacancies to find out exactly what qualifications you need. 

How can I apply for a solicitor apprenticeship? 

You apply to legal apprenticeships direct with the employer. You can now search for apprenticeships via the Find an Apprenticeship website or via UCAS. 

Apprenticeships are offered all year round but many will be advertised at the end of the school or college year. 

Applying for an apprenticeship in law is similar to applying for a job.  

Applications will differ depending on the employer, but it’s likely that you’ll have to submit a CV and do an interview.   

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