Two apprentice solicitors from a leading North East law firm are celebrating after winning the prestigious Northumbria Law School prize for performance following some first class results.

Lauryn Hellewell and Paula Normington, of North East-based Muckle LLP, have just completed year one of their six-year North East Solicitor Apprenticeship (NESA) and have each been awarded the university prize after achieving a first (level average of 70% or above) in the first year of their law degree programme.

NESA was established in 2017, when Muckle led a consortium of law firms to deliver the UK’s first regional solicitor apprenticeship scheme, creating opportunities for school leavers to enter the legal profession without the burden of university fees.

Lauryn, originally from Darlington, and North Tyneside-born Paula began studying and training to qualify as a solicitor through the six-year apprenticeship programme in 2018, one year after Muckle colleagues Anna Douglas and Ben Evans.

All four will ultimately obtain a law degree and postgraduate qualification while also gaining the work experience required to become a solicitor.

Jane Hodson-Hamilton, Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University Law School, said: “I would like to congratulate Paula and Lauryn on the successful completion of their first year on the Solicitor Apprenticeship Degree Programme here at Northumbria University.

“Achieving this award recognises all their hard work throughout the year.

“Combining a full time job with this part time degree demands a high level of ability and real dedication, so I am delighted that Paula and Lauryn have shown that they have what it takes to meet the challenge.

“The award is also a testament to the commitment of Muckle LLP, particularly those people who are acting as mentors for the apprentices. Without their support this Programme would not be possible.

“This is a great start for Paula and Lauryn which I hope bodes well for them both as they embark on the next stage of their six year journey to qualification as solicitors.”

Jason Wainwright, managing partner at Muckle LLP, added: “We are thrilled that Lauryn and Paula are achieving outstanding results just one year into their apprenticeship.

“We strive to create an environment that supports and nurtures excellence at Muckle, and all four of our apprentice solicitors are a credit to our business and an inspiration to other aspiring lawyers.

“I’m delighted that Muckle is leading the development of NESA, which provides a fees-free route into the profession for anyone who has the desire and talent to succeed, regardless of background or bank balance.

“But the scheme would be nothing without the dedication, ability and ambition of people like Lauryn and Paula, so to see them both win this award for first class performance is absolutely fantastic – they have done the region proud!”

Across all the firms involved in NESA, a total of 16 apprentices have been ‘learning and earning’ since the programme was established.

Anyone who chooses this innovative route can receive a salary, study and qualify as a solicitor without having to pay university tuition fees.

The scheme continues to be a success and Muckle plans to appoint a further apprentice solicitor in September 2019, as NESA embarks on its third year.

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