After finishing sixth form it can be difficult to know what to do next, especially if you’re thinking about a career in law. It can be difficult to know whether to go to university or do a legal apprenticeship especially when there is so much conflicting advice out there.
According to a recent study by YouGov, 45% of the public think apprenticeships make young people better prepared for their future, while 44% think that university and apprenticeships are good in equal measure.
To help you decide which path to take, we’ve outlined the advantages and disadvantages of both options below:
University will set you back a lot more financially in comparison to an apprenticeship. You will need to get a student loan which will accumulate interest and will have to be paid back eventually so this is an important factor to consider.
Conversely, with an apprenticeship, you are going in with no qualifications or experience so your starting salary will be less than someone with a law degree. However, your employer will fund all your qualifications and give you time off to study each week.
With a degree comes the overall student experience which you will miss out on if you choose to do an apprenticeship. University can also be a good option if you’re not certain if you want to be a solicitor yet, as it gives you more time to decide. Although this can seem like a sacrifice, doing an apprenticeship can kick-start your career and you can meet other like-minded people at the firm you are working at. An apprenticeship fully immerses you in the world of work and gives you first-hand experience of life in a law firm as well. Having this on your CV can help you to stand out if you apply to different firms in the future.
Another consideration is timescales. A legal apprenticeship is a great way to become a solicitor quickly as it will take a minimum of 3 years to qualify. In comparison, a law degree takes around 3 years and then on top of that, you will then need to study to gain other qualifications which in total will take anything from 5 to 10 years. Not to mention the time it takes to secure a training contract which can take a while as they are highly competitive.
Overall, both options offer great benefits but it’s essential to do your research as ultimately you need to do what’s best for you.
If you’re considering doing a legal apprenticeship, visit our careers page to learn more about our property lawyer apprenticeship.