Muckle LLP law firm, based at Time Central in Newcastle, has recently recruited three new solicitor apprentices through its North East Solicitor Apprenticeship (NESA) scheme.
The successful candidates are 18-year-olds Joe Torre, Anna Douglas and Ben Evans.
Joe currently works in Muckle’s commercial and employment team, Anna has joined real estate dispute resolution and Ben has started his legal career in real estate.
Muckle led a consortium of six North East law firms in establishing NESA, an alternative, university fees-free route to becoming a qualified lawyer. It is also the first time a consortium of UK law firms have worked together to form a regional apprenticeship programme for solicitors in the UK.
During the six-year scheme, the apprentices will obtain a law degree and the postgraduate qualification and work experience required for admission as a solicitor. Muckle will pay the apprentices a salary, as well as funding their academic studies.
Since April 2017 employers have been required to pay 0.5 per cent of their pay bill to the Government if their payroll exceeds £3 million per year. This levy can then be used to fund apprenticeship training and, in this case, means aspiring solicitors can have the opportunity to qualify while working without paying university fees.
Jason Wainwright, managing partner at Muckle, says: “We are delighted to be providing an apprenticeship route for solicitors, after three years of planning and preparation. We identified early that there was a real danger that the legal profession was missing out on talented young people due to the burden of university debt and that many were being tempted towards the apprenticeship route offered by other professions.”
“As a business, we are passionate about supporting our community, so welcoming these bright, talented and ambitious people on board is fantastic for the whole firm. I am looking forward to working with and watching them grow and develop over the next six years.”
Commenting on his apprenticeship, Ben Evans, from Durham, says: “The rising fees have made university an increasingly unattractive option and I am not sure that I would have chosen this career path had it not been for this apprenticeship route.
“It is an incredibly exciting and unique chance to work and study at the same time. Muckle’s modern office, attitude and forward thinking meant it was always my first choice.”
Anna Douglas, of Low Fell, Gateshead, continues: “During my selection process, the ethos and culture at Muckle really stood out. People were happy to help and were extremely supportive and friendly.”
“I’m a keen sportswoman outside of work and I was also impressed by the range of healthy living initiatives on offer at Muckle. I’m definitely going to join the workplace running club, ‘The Muckle Runners’.”
Jason Wainwright, adds: “I strongly believe in helping young people, who might be put off by the costs of higher education, to have the opportunity to enter the profession. This is our way of ensuring this profession is open to all talented people and that students can earn as they learn.”