Watkins & Gunn

22 October 2012

CILEx helps launch first legal ‘apprenticeship’ in Wales

South Wales law firm Watkins & Gunn has asked The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) to help launch its own legal apprenticeship scheme, the first of its kind in Wales.

Watkins & Gunn will be funding four apprentices to join a work based training programme to become qualified lawyers. The apprentices are:

  • Katie Wintle, 23 from Bridgend,
  • Lucy Hammond, 24 from Hereford
  • Jenni Marshall, 23 from Abergavenny and
  • Naomi Harris, 27, from Blaenavon

They will be funded to study towards becoming qualified Chartered Legal Executives whilst working for the firm.

Helen Whiteman, Chief Operating Officer at CILEx said: “As the delivery models for legal education change, CILEx remains at the forefront of being able to help law firms grow their expertise through professional qualifications which offer chartered status. We are delighted to be working with Watkins & Gunn to support their apprenticeship scheme with our flexible qualifications.”

Watkins & Gunn’s apprenticeship targets law and non-law graduates and school leavers wishing to become lawyers through CILEx.

It offers an attractive alternative to the traditional route of becoming a solicitor by incurring the cost of a law degree or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), and then the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This in itself can cost in excess of £10,000 in tuition fees alone, with no guarantee of a training contract upon completion.

Clive Thomas, Managing Partner of Watkins & Gunn believes that the apprenticeship offers a solid grounding for a career in law.

He said: “At Watkins & Gunn, we place great emphasis on training and investing in our most important asset, our staff. Backed by CILEx, our apprenticeship scheme offers an alternative pathway into the profession whilst still having the financial security of a earning a wage and carving out a career.

“It opens up career development by blending vocational training with work-based learning. We are pleased to be able to offer this at the firm and understand that we are the first to actively recruit legal apprentices in this way in Wales.

“This is a great option for those looking to break into the legal profession and also for our existing staff wising to further their careers – especially with the increasing costs of the traditional route to the profession and with there being so few opportunities to secure a training contract. Initiatives like this ensure that we continue to attract and retain talented, high quality staff throughout the firm.”

Katie, who is working at Watkins & Gunn’s Newport office said: “I’m so pleased to be part of Watkins & Gunn’s apprenticeship scheme. It offers me the rare opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience while achieving a professional qualification and allows me to learn while I work and develop an exciting career with an award winning law firm.”

Lucy, who is based at Watkins & Gunn’s Cardiff office added: “I didn’t want to rack up thousands of pounds of debt by studying for the LPC qualification with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. The scheme gives me extensive training and a direct route into becoming a lawyer.”

Watkins & Gunn Solicitors have offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool specialising in accident claims, medical negligence, wills and probate, employment law, divorce and family law, property and criminal law.

Employing 30 staff across its three offices, the firm recently featured strongly in the latest edition of the Legal 500.

To find out more about how CILEx could help your employees become the legal experts of the future, visit our employer pages.