With the overhaul of the Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard being completed this year, is now the right time to take on, or become, a Paralegal Apprentice? Jane Robson , CEO of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP), provided TotallyLegal with an overview of how apprenticeships are opening doors into the legal world.
In recent years, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and Bar Standards Board (BSB) have sought to address the issue of inequality and lack of diversity across the legal sector, from ethnic and gender equality, to the importance of employing legal professionals from all backgrounds. In a speech on reforming legal education, the prior Supreme Court President, Lord Neuberger, stated: “a less diverse profession is an impoverished one, one less able to reflect and support a flourishing democracy committed to the rule of law”.
Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for individuals who left school prior to completing further education to enhance their opportunities of working in the legal sector, with the chance to study, gain valuable experience, and discover the legal world from the inside.
The Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard is the foundation for such individuals, providing the skills and knowledge to be able to go on to higher qualifications and become a professional paralegal.
What is the new The Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard?
The Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard, following an overhaul, is designed to give the apprentices a strong foundation on which to build a career as a Professional Paralegal.
NALP, as one of the UK’s oldest established professional membership body for paralegals, will be delivering the new Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship Standard End Point Assessment, giving apprentices, employers and training providers more choice for the delivery of the assessment. In line with the overhaul of the original apprenticeship scheme, smaller firms are being encouraged to take on apprentices, alongside In-house legal, and specialist firms, such as probate research or those offering Wills and succession planning services.
Offering real-world experience of dealing with legal matters and even, in some cases, with clients, Paralegals working within an apprenticeship scheme, offer prospective employers an upper hand of invaluable learned expertise. As Jane Robson comments, “the new standard will have a more ‘real life’ slant to the end point assessment methods being used and is far more detailed in terms of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) being assessed.”
Since the virtual eradication of legal aid, more and more individuals have found themselves acting as Litigants in Person when facing a legal issue, with Paralegals being turned to to provide the advice and guidance they need to deal with the legal issues in hand. Having well-trained Professional Paralegal Practitioners is vital in ensuring that Litigants have access to justice at a reasonable cost.
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