Legal Apprenticeship vs Law Degree
There are so many routes for an individual to take to start the process of establishing their profession in the legal career sector. This article is going to discuss two common routes which is the Law Degree and Legal Apprenticeship.
For individuals who decide to go down this route, they will undertake a mixture of studying and working in their progression to obtain their qualification. There are currently three types of legal apprenticeships one can choose from which are:
- The Solicitor’s Apprenticeship as governed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
- The Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship as regulated by the Charted Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx)
- The Paralegal Apprenticeship which is also regulated by the Charted Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx)
Legal Apprenticeships offers individuals the ability to spend blended time working in a firm whilst completing their law degree on a part time basis. In the law firm, they are provided the space to gain and improve on their skills and knowledge in a range of different legal areas which includes drafting letters, reviewing negotiating contracts and documents, conducting legal research and proofreading legal documents.
To obtain a place on a legal apprenticeship, individuals are required to have obtained at least five GCSEs at grades A-C, or 4-7 with the new grading system, and three A-Levels at grade C and above. Applications are made by way of a CV, Cover Letter and/or Application Form. Please note though that these requirements and the application process are subject to differ between different law firms.
The Law Degree, also known as LLB (Hons) Law, provides individuals the opportunity to either undertake the three-way or four-way pathway route in completion of achieving this degree. The difference between these pathways is that for the four-way pathway, students will spend a minimum of 30 weeks completing a work placement during their third year or have the chance to study aboard during that year, which in some cases, will be made as the basis of their final year dissertation.
Law Degrees act as the first step individuals are required to take in starting the process to become qualified through the solicitors or barristers route. Individuals can chose to stick with the traditional route of just completing a law degree, or they can choose to complete the degree combined with another subject such as Law and Politics, Law and Psychology or Law and Business.
All individuals who decide to go down this route will study the seven core law modules, usually in your first and second year at university, which are:
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law
- Contract Law
- Property/Land Law
- Equity & Trusts
- EU Law
- Tort Law
It differs across universities, but individuals may start to also study for optional law modules from the second year of university and onwards. This process enables individuals to focus on modules that will help them gain the knowledge and skills required for the type of legal sectors they seek to practice in the future or chose modules based on genuine interest.
Applying to study a Law Degree is by way through the UCAS online application form where individuals will also be required to submit a personal statement and teacher reference.
To summarise, deciding on the route you may take depends on your personal circumstances and what type of experience you would want to gain as you go through the process of attaining your qualification. Legal Apprenticeships have taken the view of providing a way for students to not face financial barriers in their pursuit of obtaining a legal qualification as the fees to study at university continue to increase. A Law Degree offers individuals the ability to develop in-depth knowledge over a range of modules, in theory and practice, through different teaching techniques and extra-curricular activities provided by the university institute.
Check out The Legists ‘Career Insights’ where you can find more informational resources, general top tips and advice about the England and Wales Legal Profession routes!