Manchester Law School and CILEx Law School are to work with a host of law firms in the North West to offer an alternative training route for legal professionals.
Manchester Law School – part of Manchester Metropolitan University – is teaming up with CILEx Law School to provide new Legal Services Apprenticeships to Pannone, Weightmans, Hill Dickinson and others.
The Manchester scheme – a first in the UK – takes advantage of new Employer Ownership of Skills funding directed through Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It will give more than 100 school leavers the opportunity to enter legal practice through an apprenticeship route.
Head of Manchester Law School Micael Barden is delighted that the city-region is pioneering a new approach to professional training. He said: “The idea is to take bright college-leavers with good A-levels and train them to the required standard to perform everyday legal services.
“This is quite revolutionary because within months of beginning their training, these young professionals will be fee-earning for their firms.”
Top law firms
Candidates will be recruited as apprentices by some of the region’s top law firms and released part-time to attend study sessions delivered by Manchester Law School and CILEx Law School. The apprentices will achieve both technical and competence qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) within 18 months.
Jenny Pelling, Business Director of CILEx Law School, said: “This is a very exciting initiative and an indication of the increasing momentum behind legal apprenticeships. Firms may choose to progress their people further and fund study towards qualifications either as a Fellow of CILEx or as a solicitor.”
Regional business leaders believe the scheme will not only make firms more flexible and competitive but also help retain young talent in the city-region.
Louise Timperley, General Manager for Skills and Employment at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber is leading the way in responding to the skills needs of Greater Manchester law firms, working alongside employers in the legal sector to establish this exciting new programme.
“We are delighted that Manchester Law School will be delivering the new qualifications in partnership with CILEx Law School. This is a great opportunity for young people to start a career in law and earn a salary whilst they train.”
Pannone Managing Partner Emma Holt said: “We are delighted that Manchester Law School has been appointed as our training partner.
“The reality of the modern legal world is that, whilst there will always be highly skilled solicitors and partners within legal practice, law firms are employing more paralegals and this is an opportunity for students who might not otherwise consider the law as an option.”