Open Doors With A Paralegal Apprenticeship. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a press release on the launch of the new Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeships Standard. The new Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeships Standard will launch in Summer 2023. A complete overhaul has taken place intending to bring improvements designed to give the apprentices a great foundation to build a career as a Professional Paralegal. Jane Robson, CEO of NALP (the National Association of Licensed Paralegals), has been heavily involved in the Trailblazer Group representing small firms and paralegal specialists. Jane will explain how the new Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeships Standard will help open doors for those wishing to have a career as a paralegal.
Open Doors With A Paralegal Apprenticeship
Over the years, there has been a fair amount of (both real and perceived) snobbery around the legal profession. It has often been viewed as something for the ‘elite’, and it is well documented that the traditional legal professions lacked diversity and did not reflect those they represented.
In recent years, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Bar Standards Board (BSB) have sought to address this issue of inequality and lack of diversity. Just as they had previously noted that ethnic and gender equality was highly beneficial to the sector, they recognised that having legal professionals from all walks of life brings similar benefits, and this led to the first legal apprenticeships—the Higher Apprenticeships in Legal Services—being introduced in 2013.
In his speech on reforming legal education in 2012, the then Supreme Court President, Lord Neuberger, estimated the overall cost of entering the legal profession through university at around £100,000, including living expenses. He highlighted the inherent threat saying:
“A less diverse profession is an impoverished one, one less able to reflect and support a flourishing democracy committed to the rule of law”.
The new apprenticeships brought new options to those who had not gone on to higher education but who wanted to work in Law and were put off by those high costs and without the guarantee of a job at the end of it. After the success of the initial apprenticeships, four ‘Trailblazer apprenticeships’ were set up in England in 2016, replacing the earlier ones. Included was the Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard, which continues to grow in popularity, despite a few hiccups when it was first launched, including the End Point Assessment Organisation, CILEX, being sanctioned by Ofqual in 2019 following significant issues with the first assessments in 2018.
The Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard
Today the Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard is being completely overhauled, bringing many improvements designed to give the apprentices a great foundation to build a career as a Professional Paralegal. The new Standard is expected to be signed off and launched in Summer 2023. In addition, more End Point Assessment Organisations have been approved to deliver the End Point Assessment for the Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard, giving apprentices, employers and training providers more choices for the assessment delivery. One of those new End Point Assessment Organisations is NALP (The National Association of Licensed Paralegals), the UK’s oldest established professional membership body for paralegals.
There are also moves to encourage smaller firms to take on apprentices. In-house legal teams can benefit from having a paralegal apprentice, as can small specialist firms, such as probate research or those offering Wills and succession planning services, many of whom may be wholly staffed by paralegals.
One of the many positives of paralegals undergoing an apprenticeship is that they get real-world experience dealing with legal matters and, in some cases, with clients. Paralegals are the fastest growing profession within the legal sector, so this experience can make the knowledge and qualifications gained during their apprenticeship invaluable to other potential employers, enhancing their transferable skills and opening more doors for them.
Apprenticeships have shown their worth and are here to stay, bringing diversity and opening doors to those for whom working in the legal sector might otherwise have been just an unfulfilled dream.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Robson is CEO of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP). A non-profit membership body and the only paralegal body recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its Centres around the country, accredited and recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for those looking for a career as a paralegal professional.