The Law Apprenticeships Guide 2022

Apprenticeship v university

University is the right path for some people because it offers the chance to study an interesting subject in detail and gain a valuable degree that opens career options. University can also be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, filled with opportunities for getting involved in new things and meeting life-long friends. On the other hand, an apprenticeship offers a more direct path to those same career options, without the costs of going to university or the same intense competition for places. Apprenticeships are also perfect for people who are not keen on more full-time study after finishing their A levels and want to kick-start their careers.

It is important to remember that in the legal profession, you can have the same career whether you choose university or an apprenticeship, which means that your choice is not so much about where you end up, but how you get there – some apprenticeships even involve gaining a university degree. Law apprenticeships lead to three possible careers – solicitor, legal executive or paralegal. All three are also available if you choose to go to university. Find out more about what being a solicitor, legal executive or paralegal involves on pages 4 and 5 in “Career paths”. Meanwhile, this table explains some of the key differences between an apprenticeship and going to university.

Qualifications Apprenticeship


Professional qualifications to become a solicitor, legal executive or paralegal. Completing the solicitor apprenticeship also involves gaining a law degree.

A university degree in one of hundreds of possible subjects which is widely recognised. For law, a university degree in any subject makes you eligible for the postgraduate professional courses you must complete to become a solicitor, legal executive, paralegal or barrister.

Cost Apprenticeship


None to the apprentice – the costs of apprenticeships are covered by the

With tuition fees standing at over £9,000 a year and living costs on top of that, many students leave university in tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of debt.

government and employers, while apprentices themselves are paid at least the apprentices’ National MinimumWage.

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