Schools Training

The future of legal education: are apprenticeships the answer?

22 JAN 2014

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Originally, all lawyers started out in apprenticeships, only then it was called articles of clerkship. But there was too little quality control and law firms began recruiting from universities to raise the calibre of entrants and the status of the profession.

For a long time pathways into law have been restrictive, and as a result research has shown that it seriously lacks diversity.

Without sponsorship the cost of legal training is expensive. If you take the university route, you’re faced with £9,000 annual fees during your undergraduate degree. This is followed by £14,000 to train as a solicitor or at least £18,000 to train as a barrister. You can skip the undergraduate law degree, but the law conversion course will still set you back £10,000.

If you get a job in a substantial law firm, you should earn enough to pay off the loans, but if you’re employed at a smaller company or choose to work in legal aid then you will struggle to pay off your debt.

The legal profession has been laying off lawyers consistently throughout the recession and opportunities to gain the practical experience needed to qualify are becoming increasingly scarce.

Apprenticeships could be the answer. The beauty of the scheme is that people are paid as they train. They gain practical experience early on in their training and they’re not saddled with shed loads of debt.

 

Read full article: The Guardian