For the first time in decades school leavers will be able to train as solicitors through a government-backed apprenticeship route.
Solicitors who qualify through this route will have to demonstrate to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) that they meet the same standards as anyone who has come through an academic path to qualification.
The apprenticeships are intended to be employer-led, focused on the demonstrable ability of candidates, and will be graded on completion.
The Law Society, the SRA, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and the University of Law will be working with a number of firms to set standards for the project.
Employers and regulators will discuss what standards will be put in place for legal apprenticeships this week.
Julie Brannan, SRA director of education and training, said the scheme will ‘provide a new way for school leavers to benefit from education and training, to demonstrate they meet our high standards and to qualify as a solicitor’.
Diane Burleigh (pictured), chief executive of CILEx said: the body is ‘fully equipped and committed to setting these industry standards’.
The law firms involved in developing the standard for a solicitor include: Addleshaw Goddard, Ashfords, Bond Dickinson, Brethertons, Browne Jacobson, Burges Salmon, Clyde & Co, DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, DWF, Eversheds, Freeth Cartwright, Gateley, Irwin Mitchell, Kennedys Law, Lyons Davidson, Michelmores, Needle Partnership, Osborne Clarke, Pinsent Masons, Reed Smith, Stephenson Harwood, Taylor&Emmet, Taylor Vinters, Thomas Eggar, Veale Wasbrough Vizards, Withers and Wragge & Co with legal education institutes BPP and the University of Law.