National firm Addleshaw Goddard is to employ 10 school-leavers on a starting salary of £12,000 as part of a legal apprenticeship scheme to produce trained paralegals for its transactions services team.

The services team is currently made up of 80 paralegals undertaking standardised processes that no longer need to be carried out by qualified lawyers and, according to Addleshaw Goddard, is the only on-shore operation of its kind offered by a UK law firm.

The apprentices, who will have A-levels or equivalent qualifications, are to start in autumn and are expected to achieve an NVQ level 3 advanced apprenticeship in legal services in 18 months. The positions are permanent and the apprentices will continue to be employed - as paralegals - after qualification.

The firm’s head of client delivery Andrew Chamberlain said: ‘Going to university is not the right option for all, and this new structured career development opportunity is a credible alternative for talented, ambitious young people who prefer vocational learning as an entry point into a dynamic, long-term and rewarding career in law.’

Each apprentice is to have a supervisor and mentor and receive in-house training as well as assessment and training from an external training provider. Apprentices will start with administrative tasks, such as completing standard forms, processing documentation and creating reports.

However, the firm says that they will quickly become involved in legal work, including checking documents for quality, consistency and content; legal research; and undertaking document reviews as part of a litigation case or corporate due diligence exercise.