Burges Salmon blazes trail in new ways of entering the legal profession by hiring apprentices

By Robert Buckland

Bristol-headquartered national law firm Burges Salmon has hired four new legal apprentices – the second year running it has taken on students looking for an alternative route into the legal profession.

The firm has been involved in the Trailblazers initiative since March 2014. Trailblazers is a cross-party initiative to improve the quality and simplicity of apprenticeship standards and align them more with the needs of employers.

Last year Burges Salmon, which is also part of the steering group for legal services, piloted the programme by taking on its first year of legal apprentices – one of the first law firms in the UK to do so under the new Trailblazer standards.

The Trailblazer legal sector group has designed three new apprenticeship standards – Level 3 paralegal, Level 6 chartered legal executive and Level 7 solicitor. Burges Salmon was involved in the development of all the legal apprenticeships and was part of the sub-group that helped to draft the Level 7 solicitor apprenticeship.

The two-year programme includes a combination of through-the-job and textbook learning, with the apprentices spending one day a week studying at the BPP Law School and four working at Burges Salmon.

At the end of the programme the apprentices achieve a Level 3 paralegal apprenticeship standard and a Certificate in Legal Practice (equivalent to the first year of university).

Completing the Certificate will enable the apprentices to complete the Level 7 solicitor apprenticeship in a shorter period of time.

Robert Buckland