We understand that the traditional route of going to university and then to law school isn’t for everyone.

If that’s you, then we have an alternative option you might be interested in.

There’s more than one way to become a lawyer

By undertaking a Solicitor/Paralegal Apprenticeship with us, you can combine working with studying, qualify as a solicitor without the debt and earn a competitive salary whilst you are doing it.

You’ll meet and work with some great people (your colleagues and our clients) and have plenty of opportunities to build and develop a whole range of skills, some of which you may not even know you had.

What is a Solicitor/Paralegal Apprenticeship?

Our Solicitor Apprenticeships take 6 years to complete.

At the end of that time, if you complete the coursework and pass all your exams, you’ll have an LLB (Hons) degree and go on to complete the Solicitor Qualifying Exams (SQEs) in your final year, which, if you successfully pass you will then be able to qualify as a solicitor.

You’ll spend 1 day each week learning off the job for your LLB (Hons) degree (which covers various topics from the English Legal System, Criminal, Contract etc., to client care, money laundering etc.).

What are we looking for?

You will need to have a minimum of 1 A and 2 B’s at A level or equivalent 128 UCAS points.

Depending upon your grades, you will either begin your apprenticeship by undertaking an L3 Paralegal programme (if you have below 128 UCAS points) before moving to the L7 Solicitor Apprenticeship programme in year 3.

However, if you have 1 A and 2 B’ or above, you will be eligible to apply for the L7 Solicitor Apprenticeship programme

However, academic qualifications aren’t everything, and we think there is more to being a good lawyer than your exam grades.

What is it like being an apprentice at Schofield Sweeney?

Caprice Coulson, Apprentice

“A legal career has always been an aspiration of mine.

Originally I was going to go down the traditional route of university to study law and completing the LPC, however after a short amount of time spent at university I quickly realised that it wasn’t for me. I still knew that I wanted a career in law and therefore researched alternative routes and came across the Solicitor Apprenticeship route.

My research indicated that a Solicitor Apprenticeship ticked all my boxes. Choosing this route has allowed me to gain invaluable experiences while simultaneously learning the theory behind the law with the added bonus of no university debt! I now have 4 and a half years’ experience which sets me apart from my peers and I look forward to completing the apprenticeship and qualifying as a solicitor after years of hard work.”

Who can apply?

Academic qualifications aren’t everything, and we think there is more to being a good lawyer than your exam grades.

You’ll need to fit with our values, so empathy and approachability are really important.  But you’ll also need to be a collaborative person who can see and do things differently.

An apprenticeship isn’t an easy option; you’ll need to work and study hard, which means you will need to be committed to a career in law and be dedicated to working hard to be successful.

What will I be doing?

We think it’s important that you get to see different departments and learn as much as possible about us and the legal services we offer.

During your apprenticeship with us, you will probably work in each of our offices at some point, and you’ll certainly work in at least 3 different departments.

This timeline will give you a better idea of how our programme is structured.

You will have a supervisor in each department, and they will help and support you with your day-to-day work and with your wider development.

Our apprenticeship partner, who has overall responsibility for our apprenticeship programme, will also help to ensure your legal career runs as smoothly as possible.

You’ll have regular catch-ups to talk about all aspects of your apprenticeship and career with us.

We can’t list every task you’ll undertake because these will vary in each department.

By the penultimate year of your apprenticeship, though, we will expect you to undertake at least the same level of work and have the same level of responsibilities as our trainees do.

To try and give you an idea of the role, you’ll undertake research, attend meetings and liaise with clients.  There will be a lot of routine administrative tasks to do, regardless of which area of law you are working in.

We will expect you to develop your skills and knowledge throughout your apprenticeship.

Top tips & advice for completing an application

  • Don’t send us your first attempt. Complete your application, then put it to one side for a day or so.  Then re-read it.  If you’re unhappy with some of the answers, don’t be afraid to change some of them.
  • Be accurate! Check your application for mistakes and missing words.  Then get a friend or family member to do the same.  You’ll be surprised what a second pair of eyes will spot.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have much or any work experience. We know it’s been hard to get work experience (from holiday jobs to legal work experience) in the last few years.  So think about what other experiences you can draw some of your responses from.  That might be your academic or personal life – hobbies, interests etc.
  • Be yourself. Try and let your application tell us who you really are.  We don’t want robots.  Everyone at Schofield Sweeney has something to offer.
  • If you’re not sure about something, please get in touch with us. Drop us an e-mail or give us a call, we don’t mind, and we’d be happy to chat with you.
  • If you have something else you think we should know about or will make you the ideal candidate, tell us in your covering letter or e-mail

What are we looking for?

Your application needs to be accurate, so ensure it’s checked thoroughly for typos and errors. If it’s not, your application will fall at the first hurdle.

We are not looking for someone who is just ‘building’ their CV or ‘collecting’ placements, so you will need to convince us that we would be making the right decision in offering a place to you.

Some suggestions:

  • You may be at the very early stages of your academic career, but do you already have an area of the law that you are particularly interested in?  If so, make sure you tell us more about it in your covering letter.
  • Tell us what you know about Schofield Sweeney.
  • We want to know about your academic career, so make sure you tell us about where you’ve studied and what grades you’ve got.
  • We want to know about what work experiences you have had. Don’t worry if they’ve not been in law.  Some of the most important skills can be gained in all manner of retail or service-industry roles.
  • Tell us about your achievements, be they academic, personal or sporting ones. Anything really, that gives us a better insight into who you are.

Key dates

Our selection process includes an interview stage, which if successful you will be invited to complete a one week work experience placement with us.

There are some key dates this year that you need to be aware of, as follows:

The final date for submitting your application was 28 April 2023

Interviews: w/c 15 May 2023

Work experience placement (one week): w/c 3 July or w/c 10 July 2023

Start date: 7 August 2023

Apprenticeship commences: 18 September 2023

How do I apply?

The application window for Solicitor Apprenticeships to commence in 2023 has now closed.

Details of our next apprenticeship recruitment programme will be posted on this page in early 2024.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about apprenticeships at the firm, please contact our HR Director Neil Towse (

Where can I find out more about the firm?

Lois Smith, Solicitor

“After studying A level law I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in law but didn’t want to go through the traditional route of a university degree followed by the LPC.

I joined Schofield Sweeney as a solicitor apprentice at the age of 18 and the experience I have gained working directly alongside the partners in my department has given me a great advantage now that I am a qualified solicitor.

Qualifying through the apprenticeship route means that I have no student debt and prior to qualifying I gained 6 years of experience spread over a number of areas of practice.

Although the solicitor apprenticeship is undoubtedly hard work, there is lots of support from the course provider and Schofield Sweeney. The firm were invested in my progress and provided countless development opportunities to ensure I was able to start my career on the front foot. The support from the firm as a whole has been great throughout the entire process and this has transcended through to the support offered as a newly qualified solicitor.”

Are you ready to apply?

Please come back early 2024 to view dates the application window is open.

If you have any questions, we’re here to help call us on 0300 124 0406

Still not sure?

If you have any questions at all, don’t worry. We’re always available for a chat and are more than happy to help you through the application process.

Give Neil Towse a call on 0113 849 4073 or drop him an email.

Get in touch