Does it come as a surprise to you that legal apprenticeships exist? There are a good number of ways in which you could complete a legal apprenticeship, and for many people this may be preferable to following a LLB law degree route.
Legal apprenticeships allow you to study to become a fully qualified Legal Executive at the same time as working and earning in a legal firm. The pay can be low whilst you study to become qualified – often only at the national minimum wage – but when you take into consideration the fact that you are being paid to gain a valuable qualification and experience, this does appear to be an excellent path to take.
As a qualified Legal Executive, you will be trained in how to assist lawyers with their cases and will become very adept at undertaking important legal research. You will find that Legal Executive roles exist across most areas of law, so you will have the opportunity to perform a wide range of interesting tasks.
Many legal apprenticeships require you to study for a period of at least two years through CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives). Once you have acquired their qualification, your wage will increase to a far more acceptable level.
You can choose to study for your CILEx qualification at a learning establishment, or you could even think about distance learning. If you go for the second option, you will be allocated around 18 months to complete your studies as opposed to the two years you have if you physically attend a class.
As we have mentioned above, unfortunately the law degree route through universities has become oversubscribed in recent years. It is also very costly. Unless you graduate with an LLB that has honours equivalent to a 2:1 or above, you may struggle to advance your career in the legal industry. This is where pursuing the Legal Executive route may be far more beneficial for you.
If you are interested in studying for the CILEx qualification, you should know that you will need to have at least three GCSEs graded C to A*, one of which will have to be in English. The vast majority of firms that offer legal apprenticeships seem to have an open policy for when you should submit your application: in other words, there do not appear to be cut-off dates. Once a year the relevant firm will review the applications they have had and invite the most promising candidates for an interview.
If you are keen to ensure your application works its way closer to the top of the list, there are a number of things you can do to help this happen. For example, it is always good if you can prove your interest and knowledge of the law. Taking A-Level Law or having studied ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma course will give you an edge over many other applicants. Also, you might like to visit your local County and Crown courts to get a feel for the way the British judicial system works. Sit in on a few court cases and make sure you indicate this all on your application.