Manchester Metropolitan University

Apprenticeships▶︎Students▶︎Legal Services

Legal Services

If you have aspirations of working in law, our apprenticeships are your opportunity to enter the profession via an exciting and innovative route. You can now take advantage of the increasing demand of law firms for paralegals through the apprenticeship pathway.

As an apprentice in legal services, you will receive legal training and be able to specialise in a particular aspect of the law. You will work in a well-respected law firm and benefit from on-the-job training, together with a flavour of university life. You’ll also enjoy access to the outstanding facilities at Manchester Law School and the wider University.

You could earn a minimum starting salary of £12,000 per year and receive all the additional benefits that come with working in a legal firm.

Study options

Apprenticeships are offered for two years (2 and half Years for PI level 4*) and are available in the following areas of legal work (subject to employer demand):

Routes to Qualification

A Legal Services Apprenticeship is a great foundation to a career in law and opens up a number of ways to enter the profession. MMU is currently offering two levels of qualification, both certified by CILEx.

Advanced Apprenticeship – Level 3

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services is a great introduction to many of the aspects of case law and you will be able to build knowledge in a particular practice area. Apprentices will take the lead on some aspects of case files, complete small pieces of legal research and draft documents, as well as undertaking complex administrative tasks.

Higher Apprenticeship – Level 4

The Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services is an undergraduate level qualification for apprentices who are in (or are rapidly moving towards) fee-earning roles and who already have some core technical knowledge e.g. Law A level, level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship or equivalent.

Following the achievement of your apprenticeship, firms may choose to assist you to progress with further CILEx qualifications or to return to Manchester Law School to complete your studies through to full qualification.

Recently the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in conjunction with groups of legal employers (Trailblazers) have been leading the way in carrying out changes to Legal Apprenticeships. They have been working together to design apprenticeship standards and assessment approaches to make them world class. A small number of specialist providers that include Manchester Metropolitan University have been part of this trailblazer initiative.

At the end of 2015 new standards were announced for new apprenticeship programmes as a Paralegal; CILEx Lawyer; Solicitor; and with the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.

These represent new and exciting routes to qualification and Manchester Metropolitan University continues to work with the trailblazer group to develop the detail of these programmes. Candidates on our current apprenticeship programmes will be eligible for further apprenticeships through to full qualification. Manchester Law School will provide more information on the routes we will offer as the qualification details emerge. In the meantime we continue to offer our award winning Level 3 and 4 apprenticeship programmes.


You will be released on a part-time basis to attend study sessions delivered by Manchester Law School. On successful completion you will be awarded technical and competence certificates from CILEx.

Following the apprenticeship firms may choose to assist you to progress with further qualifications to become a solicitor. From 2017 there will be apprenticeship routes through to full qualification in addition to other study routes offered by Manchester Law School. Your assessor, in conjunction with your employer will help you to choose the best option for you.

Career progression

By completing a legal services apprenticeship, you will have gained work experience and a qualification that you can take forward. Many of our apprentices are offered positions with their firms, however should this not be the case, by following this route you will have the knowledge and experience that employers are looking for.

Employer partners

What does it cost?

You have to secure an apprenticeship role with a recruiting employer in order to join the programme (Insert link to jobs page) and it is your responsibility to make individual applications and attend assessment and open days to ensure your applications are successful. Your employer will be responsible for all your University tuition and exam fees. For employers of eligible candidates under the age of 19 there is funding to cover all these fees.  Employers of candidates over the age of 19 may be eligible for partial funding.

Entry requirements

GCSEs A-C or Functional Skills Level 2 in English Language, Maths and preferably GCSE or Functional Skills in ICT. If applying directly from college then most employers are seeking three good (C or above) A Levels in any subject (or equivalent/B Tec) – Law is not a prerequisite.

Next steps

Please register your interest by completing our online form. We will keep you informed of our upcoming open evenings and new vacancies with our employer partners.

For more information on how to apply for apprenticeships, watch our video explainer.

Who is the Legal Services apprenticeship aimed at and what is the entry criteria?

Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services and Level 4 Higher Level Apprenticeship in Legal Services both require GCSEs A - C or Functional Skills Level 2 in English Language, Maths and preferably GCSE or Functional Skills in ICT. If applying directly from college then most employers are seeking three good (C or above) A Levels in any subject (or equivalent/B Tec) – Law is not a prerequisite.

How do I apply and what is the recruitment process?

Entry to any career in law is highly competitive and students are required to be of a high academic quality with the ability to present themselves exceptionally well at interview and assessment days. Manchester Metropolitan University is gathering candidate information to pass to participating firms. All Legal Apprenticeships are advertised both on the employer’s website and through the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website. Candidates are encouraged to be proactive and to maximise their opportunities by applying through both NAS and Manchester Metropolitan University.

What qualification do I receive at the end of the course?

Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services : CILEx Diploma in Legal Services Level 3, CILEx Level 3 Certificate in relevant pathway e.g. Civil Litigation, Employment Practice , Family Practice, Property, Private Client Practice. Level 4 Higher Level Apprenticeship in Legal Services: CILEx Diploma in Legal Services, CILEx Level 4 Diploma in Personal Injury , Commercial Litigation or Debt Recovery and Insolvency.

What sort of job role will I be undertaking?

Level 3 Apprentices will be working under supervision. They may work in a specialist department, for example, Civil Litigation, Property or Family Law, or they may have more general legal responsibilities. This type of job is often referred to as ‘paralegal’ but job titles vary from organisation to organisation and with the area of specialism. Example job titles include Caseworker, Junior Paralegal, Legal Assistant, Trainee Legal Executive, Conveyancing Assistant, Litigation Assistant etc. Level 4 Apprentices will have greater responsibility and some kind of supervisory role. Posts may include, Trainee Legal Executive, Senior Paralegal, Senior Claims Handler, Paralegal Team Leader, Personal Injury Specialist, Fee Earner, Litigation Executive etc.

What are my progression routes?

You will gain an industry recognised CILEx qualification that allows progression, together with a 60 - credit level 4 university qualification, from Manchester Metropolitan University. This means you could choose to continue to qualify either as a CILEx Fellow or return to Manchester Metropolitan University on a full-time or part-time/distance learning basis to complete your law degree.

I am thinking of this as an alternative to the LLB and LPC – which is the best route?

Deciding on the best route to a career in law is a very personal choice, some individuals would only consider the traditional university route and the benefits of this, whereas some think more seriously about this more vocational route. The apprenticeship programme offers the opportunity to gain experience in the legal sector, earn money and achieve a legal qualification at the same time. It allows you to establish if this is the career for you prior to committing to additional training and you will also benefit from experience to assist with training contract interviews in the future. As a Manchester Law School student you will be able to access professional careers advice in order to make the right choice for you.

When does the apprenticeship start?

Recruitment takes place over summer with the programme commencing in Sept/Oct.

What are the age restrictions?

Those aged 18 are fully funded by the Skills Funding Agency; those aged 19+ will receive partial funding.

Can international students apply?

There are specific rules about learner eligibility. An individual may have some rights to work in England, for example an individual on a student visa, but they may not be eligible for government funding for education or skills training. A person who was born a UK citizen OR is settled in the UK and who has been ordinarily resident for the three years preceding the start of the programme and whose main purpose for residence was not to receive full-time education during any part of the three-year period, will be eligible. If you are concerned about your eligibility then please raise this in the free type box on the expression of interest form.

I am already doing a degree, can I switch to an apprenticeship?

This is possible but may not be advisable so you should seek advice and guidance before taking this step.

I have experience as a paralegal and some CILEx qualifications, can I still apply?

Yes, you may be partly exempt from some examinations.

Can I switch from a level two Business Admin apprenticeship to this?

You should complete Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship before starting the Advanced Apprenticeship.

Do I have to follow the Level 3 Apprenticeship with a Level 4

This is a good progression but there are other possible progression routes as described above.

I am a very high achieving A level student and have been told that an apprenticeship is not the correct route for me, is this correct?

Many high achieving learners on the current apprenticeship at Manchester Metropolitan University are finding this a very rewarding route. Please see the student profiles featured on our web pages.

Can I apply for this apprenticeship straight from GCSEs?

This is not normally an appropriate route for the employers in the partnership. Manchester Metropolitan University does not normally admit those under 18 years of age.

I am doing a BTEC qualification instead of A Levels can I qualify?

Yes, see Q1.

I don’t have GCSE Maths or English at a grade C or above – can I apply?

Yes, but you will be expected to take Level 2 Functional Skills as soon as possible.

I am a mature applicant; can I apply for an apprenticeship?

Yes, although your employer will have to partially fund the programme.

I am already working for a law firm, can I go on an apprenticeship with them?

Yes, your employer should contact, telephone 0161 247 2420 or 07917370341

If I apply am I guaranteed a place on the apprenticeship programme?

No, an apprenticeship is a job therefore you have to be recruited to a suitable post to take the course.

Available apprenticeships

Make sure you register your interest before applying for an apprenticeship

Register interest

To secure an apprenticeship you will need to apply for a full-time position with one of our partner employers. The following vacancies are currently available as part of our apprenticeship programme. We update our Jobs pages daily so if there are no postings below, please check back regularly.

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‘Working while learning was a critical factor for me. Being financially stable and making connections from an early stage was also appealing.’ Junior Smith Express Solicitors

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