Stephensons apprentice makes history

Legal high-flyer Laura Edie, who works at the Wigan Investment Centre office of Stephensons, has made history as one of the UK's first Advanced Legal Apprentices.

She has completed the UK's first Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services  - provided by Manchester Law School at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

Laura celebrated her success at a graduation ceremony at MMU’s £75 million new Faculty of Business and Law. She is among the UK's first 300 advanced legal apprentices, with 40 trained at MMU.

Apprentices gain the 'best of both worlds' by attending university while earning and working at law firms, usually on an initial two-year
contract. They are assessed in the workplace as to competency in legal knowledge and skills in areas such as legal research and communicating with clients. They also undertake theoretical training in core subject areas, including exams, at MMU. The blend of working and learning enables them to put theoretical knowledge into practice.

Laura said: "It is a real privilege to graduate as one of the UK's first Advanced Legal Apprentices. While I was at college, I had no idea that I would become part of the legal profession, so this has been a fantastic opportunity to strengthen my qualifications in this area.

“My experience with Stephensons, alongside the challenge provided by the new apprenticeship, has provided me with a vast array of skills to help further my legal career. Stephensons provided me with continued support throughout my apprenticeship and I believe that these past two years have opened up many doors for the future."

Jackie Panter, Associate Head of Law for MMU, said: "The first Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship programme has been a great success and we look forward to welcoming a new intake of students in September, as well as launching a new Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services. Our first cohort of apprentices have made a real impact in the workplace and many are earning fees in paralegal roles. The fact that most employers have chosen to retain and give their apprentices permanent contracts and promotions is testimony to the value of the programme."

Janine Turner, HR Manager at Stephensons, said: “Stephensons has seen real benefits from our involvement in this programme. We have introduced some extremely talented and ambitious young people into our firm.

“We are confident that their progress will continue and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of a long and successful career at Stephensons.”

MMU launched its Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services in 2013, which was a pilot programme in partnership with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Employer Skills Group of local legal firms.

From September, MMU will offer the Level 4 programme (equivalent to first year degree) alongside its existing Level 3 Apprenticeship.

MMU is the only accredited UK University providing advanced and higher legal apprenticeships. Both apprenticeships are also open to existing legal staff who want to develop their careers. The programmes are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and lead to nationally recognised CILEx diploma awards. As such, qualifying apprentices can choose to remain in their job as a paralegal, or work towards qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive, licensed conveyancer, or solicitor. They also have an opportunity to complete a full law degree.

For further information contact: Laura Holohan at MMU on 0161 247 6043 l.holohan@mmu.ac.uk