Paralegal Apprenticeships

| Career Insights

With tuition fees for undergraduate degrees rising in recent years and an eagerness for early exposure to the professional environment, demand for legal apprenticeship opportunities, such as paralegal apprenticeships, is burgeoning in the UK. Advantageous for an ‘earn while you learn’ structure that accommodates academic studies and paid employment, legal apprenticeships are an attractive, alternative pathway for younger people seeking to gain competitive work experience (without the traditional university degree requirement) as they start a new career, or adults looking to change careers.

Paralegal Apprenticeships

With tuition fees for undergraduate degrees rising in recent years and an eagerness for early exposure to the professional environment, demand for legal apprenticeship opportunities, such as paralegal apprenticeships, is burgeoning in the UK. Advantageous for an ‘earn while you learn’ structure that accommodates academic studies and paid employment, legal apprenticeships are an attractive, alternative pathway for younger people seeking to gain competitive work experience (without the traditional university degree requirement) as they start a new career, or adults looking to change careers.

What qualifications do you need to be a paralegal apprentice?

To be eligible for a paralegal apprenticeship, you must satisfy the minimum requirements as stipulated by the Government. These include:

  • A minimum grade of C (or above) in three A-levels (or equivalent)
  • A minimum grade of C (or above) in five GCSEs (or equivalent), including English and Maths
  • You must be 16 years of age (or over) when you commence your legal apprenticeship
  • You are not currently in full-time education
  • You must be a UK citizen or have evidence of a right of residency in the UK (e.g., pre-settled status, settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme)

Depending on the awarding firm or institution, it is important to note that the minimum requirements can vary. It is therefore advised that you carefully research relevant employers’ apprenticeship offerings to determine whether you are qualified for the role. In the absence of sufficient information, it is always beneficial to contact your target employer.

How is a paralegal apprenticeship structured?

A Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship takes two years to complete and encompasses part-time study and paid work and training at your chosen law firm or in-house legal team.

Study

During your paralegal apprenticeship, you will typically study at least three modules in Law and Practice, Legal Research and Client Care. One day a week will be devoted to completing your studies, however, this may be performed weekly or in a block depending on your arrangement with the employer.

Paid Employment

The remainder of the week will be spent working in a department within a law firm or in-house legal team. For more specific information, please see below.

What tasks will I be performing as a paralegal apprentice?

Alongside your part-time studies, you will benefit from working in paid employment at a law firm or in-house legal team. This will typically involve 30 hours of work per week under the supervision of a mentor. Your responsibilities will likely include:

  • Drafting legal documents and standard forms
  • Conducting legal research
  • Managing client correspondence
  • Communicating with internal and external clients
  • Reviewing documents
  • Manging data and records
  • Working with confidential and sensitive information

Subject to your provider, you may specialise in one area of law or work in different departments throughout your time as a paralegal apprentice.

How will I be remunerated?

In accordance with the National Minimum Wage as of April 2021, paralegal apprentices can expect to be paid a minimum of £4.30 per hour if they are:

  • Under 19
  • Over 19 but in their first year of the paralegal apprenticeship

Those older than 19 and having completed their first year will receive the National Minimum Wage for their age range.

Nonetheless, many employers are known to pay their apprentices well above the prescribed minimum wage (e.g., Irwin Mitchell offers a London starting salary of £20,020) and/or offer attractive benefits like private medical care, travel discounts, childcare vouchers, etc.

How will I be assessed?

While your assessment largely depends on the awarding employer, you should anticipate completing various formal written assignments and examinations, along with assembling a portfolio of evidence demonstrating your proficiency as a paralegal throughout your time at the firm.

What are my next steps after completing the paralegal apprenticeship?

Following qualification as a paralegal, you may choose to continue working as one. Alternatively, you will also have the opportunity to pursue further qualifications to become a chartered legal executive or even a solicitor through additional apprenticeships.

Which employers offer paralegal apprenticeships?

The below list displays some of the firms offering paralegal apprenticeships.

Irwin Mitchell

Clyde & Co

Pinsent Masons

Addleshaw Goddard

Dentons

Womble Bond Dickinson

RPC

CMS

Osborne Clarke

DAC Beachcroft

Eversheds Sutherland

Mayer Brown

Burges Salmon

Freeths

Ashfords

Where can I look to find paralegal apprenticeship vacancies?

Head on over to the ‘Opportunities’ tab on our website or click the link below to review current paralegal apprenticeship opportunities in the UK. Additional vacancies may also be listed in the ‘Jobs’ section of LinkedIn or on different career boards online.

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