Ashtons leads the way with solicitor apprenticeships in East Anglia
Ashtons Legal is proud to be continuing to set a trend in the future of training for solicitors in the region. The firm, who became amongst the first firms nationally to adopt the Six Year Solicitors Apprenticeship (originally known as Trailblazer Apprenticeships) now has four aspiring young lawyers training under the scheme.
The first to sign up, Sarah-Jane Legge, joined the scheme in September 2016 and is set to qualify as a solicitor in 2022. Apprenticeships generally form a core part of Ashtons’ approach to ‘growing their own’ team members, with six apprentices having been employed by the firm in the past two years.
Ashtons currently have four apprentices undertaking solicitor training - the first being Sarah-Jane who is working in the firm’s French Legal Services team in Bury St Edmunds. In September 2017 James Myers, currently working in Personal Injury in Ipswich, became the second employee to commence the programme and is now in his second year.
In September of this year, two additional employees began their apprenticeships. Alex Chereches who is part of the Family team in Cambridge and Jo Morrish who works in the Lifetime Planning department, also in Cambridge.
Their apprenticeships combine study with being employed in a legal practice doing a full time job. At the end of the six years, students have a qualification equivalent to anyone completing a traditional law degree, LPC and two years training contract. The course includes 20% of the students time spent ‘off the job’ training which allows them to study as well as earn money whilst being employed by the firm.
Ed O'Rourke, CEO of Ashtons comments: “We continue the firm’s successful strategy of training and development by supporting the long term plans of employees. We have a mix of solicitors trained through the ‘traditional’ route and those given the apprenticeship opportunity should they not wish to go to university or law school. In addition this adds to the work we have already done in employing over 40 apprentices over the last four years in a variety of roles across the firm.”
Ashtons’s first solicitor apprentice Sarah-Jane Legge comments: “I am thoroughly enjoying the solicitor apprenticeship and am now well into my third year of studying. The monthly tutorials in London with our tutors are invaluable and not once have I felt as though I am doing a distance learning course”.
She adds: “It is refreshing to work and study at the same time, knowing that I am gaining vital practical skills. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work in different departments in the firm in order to gain experience before returning to French Legal Services and qualifying as a solicitor in 2022. I would wholeheartedly recommend the solicitor apprenticeship to anyone who wants to work in law.”