Joanna would be delighted to meet with you regardless of whether you have firm plans to introduce solicitor apprenticeships or are just curious about this route into the legal profession and how it might fit with your law firm or your legal team. Joanna has also been meeting with firms who have established programmes.
Solicitor apprenticeship set-up
The advice on set-up meetings that I have had so far with law firms and in-house legal teams have taken interested lawyers and Early Talent leads through the different work streams that need to be in place: attraction and recruitment of talent; choice of training provider; design of your solicitor apprenticeship programme; and support for the apprentices, including buddying and mentoring programmes.
Issues discussed have included:
Can you recommend specialist charities and not-for-profit outreach organizations? (Yes)
Does socio-economic diversity have to be a driving force for introducing a solicitor apprenticeship programme? (Employers understand that degree apprenticeships are a powerful social mobility tool, but solicitor apprenticeships do not have to be about improving socio-economic diversity in the legal profession – they are simply a brilliant alternative route to qualification.)
What is the ideal number of solicitor apprentices to have in your first cohort? (It depends on the needs of the business, but any number from 2 to 8 in one office is usual.)
Solicitor apprenticeship mentoring
In truth I have seen more interest in the mentoring offerings of Joanna Hughes Solicitor Apprenticeships than I expected! I think this in part because the offer of mentoring from one of the first solicitor apprentices to qualify this year and the very first in-house solicitor apprentice – Holly Moore – is quite a unique opportunity, and partly because even in established solicitor apprenticeship programmes it may be useful for employers to dedicate additional resources to an external and experienced mentor, which we can offer with Joanna as a mentor. It shows solicitor apprentices that employers are taking their pastoral care seriously.
We have a brochure setting out our hourly rates and how we deliver our mentoring (Holly online and Joanna either in-person or online) if you would like to request it.
Solicitor apprenticeship networking
Networking advice is simply about putting employers in touch with (a) existing grassroots organizations such as the Legal Apprentice Society and the Black Apprentice Network; and (b) other employers who are keen to provide the best possible network for their solicitor apprentices. Some pretty special events have started to happen, and it would be a shame for your solicitor apprentices to miss out on these!