CILEx Law School breaks new training ground with DWF’s new Paralegal Academy

National law firm DWF has recruited its first 6 legal apprentices who will join the firm’s pioneering Paralegal Academy. The Academy developed for all levels of Paralegals will provide the apprentices with a career path into the legal profession as an alternative to attending university. The first intakes of Legal Apprentices have joined as Administrative Assistants this week.

The scheme offers opportunities to gain professional qualifications at the same time as working, providing education, study support and training for the legal apprentices worth £7,000 each over 6 years. CILEx Law School will deliver the professional qualification through in-house sessions and distance learning.

The scheme will act as an alternative to the traditional University routes into Law which could cost in excess of £40,000. It has been established in conjunction with the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) and has also won the backing of the Sector Skills Council for Legal Services, Skills for Justice.

It is thought to be the first time a leading national law firm has set up a Paralegal Academy that includes school leavers with the backing of a professional body.

DWF Managing Partner, Andrew Leaitherland, said: “We are committed to developing the skills of all our people, and by establishing the Paralegal Academy we are offering the opportunity for young people to build a legal career without necessarily going through the traditional university route. These apprentices will join other paralegals at DWF who are currently enrolled on programmes of learning, study and support. We want to lead the way in recruiting young and talented people into the business, playing our part in training up school leavers so they can develop a robust and diverse career in law.”

Chief Executive at ILEX, Diane Burleigh, said: “We are delighted to launch this innovative Paralegal Academy in conjunction with DWF and welcome their bold move in targeting school leavers who want a career in law but don’t want to go to university.

“From 2012, the issue of tuition fees will see more and more school leavers look for alternative routes into their chosen career, but with more schemes such as this, those students will have more opportunities than ever to still enter a career of their dreams.”

Alan Woods OBE, Skills for Justice CEO, said: “This is a very progressive recruitment policy that offers young people the opportunity to realise their talent in a way that doesn’t involve racking up unnecessary debt. The Paralegal Academy is innovative as apprentices can train up from a young age, and in time even head up a practice group with the firm – the full career path is open to them.

“Employers have their part to play in helping the UK get back to work, and its schemes like this that help young people into employment as well as become qualified paralegals.”

DWF was ranked in the top three UK law firms in the 2010 Legal Week Client Satisfaction Survey and was also voted ‘National Law Firm of the Year’ in the 2011 Legal Business Awards.

To find out how CILEx Law School can support your firm’s training objectives please contact our Business Director, Jenny Pelling, on 01234 844326.