Caoilionn Hurley, managing director of Co-op Legal Services, said:

“We are working hard to help break down the misconceptions which surround this alternative route, and to showcase that a career in law is not for the privileged few.

There is a wealth of positives in the apprenticeship pathway as candidates are able to get hands-on experience from the start of their journey as well as the opportunity to start earning money straight away.”

Irwin Mitchell already has 125 apprentices at various stages of their development and plans to take another cohort from September across accounting, business administration, IT and legal roles.

Lorcan Seery, apprenticeship manager at Irwin Mitchell commented that there are still many misunderstandings surrounding entry into the profession via this route, adding:

“Far from being just for post 16 students, they are a great way for existing employees to upskill; while for students, they compare more favourably with university options than many realise.

Apprenticeships represent a serious investment and myths of photocopying or making the tea and a lack of a meaningful roles are just that. Our intake is working and studying in a range of diverse areas and are valued team members.”

Charlise Atkins, joined the Irwin Mitchell solicitor apprenticeship scheme, opted for this route over going to university.

Charlise Atkins 01



“I still get my qualifications, while earning a salary at the same time.

With success in my A-Levels, and offers from university, my family had concerns I might regret not going,’ she said.

Now, my family can see I made the right choice and my career in law is now well underway. I still get my qualifications, while earning a salary at the same time.”

Image courtesy of Law Society Gazette




FBC Manby Bowdler are leading a new campaign to open up careers in the law to people from all backgrounds – including through the apprenticeship route.

Breaking Down Barriers to Law will be launched in parliament later this month and will feature a number of other firms committing to recruiting from all backgrounds.

Neil Lloyd, Managing Partner at FBC Manby Bowdler, said:

“We have been actively looking to clear the path into law careers for some time. Not having a degree is certainly no barrier to progress with us.

As well as taking well-qualified graduates onto traditional training contracts, we offer solicitor apprenticeships to those who haven’t necessarily been to university – they could be school leavers, or those who have spent time in other jobs or training before considering law.”

Employment lawyer, Alice Kinder, the president of Birmingham Law Society, has offered a free employment law checklist to help those who are considering hiring apprentices to understand their legal obligations.

“For businesses, apprenticeships can help to develop important expertise.

An apprentice’s learning will take place in the context of the organisation, meaning they can gain practical experience which may help to avoid skills shortages.”

It is important to note that the celebration, success and support of legal apprentices, is very much not saved just for this week – and often there are many posts and sharing of stories on social media of the current wave of legal apprentices.