Apprentices at personal injury (PI) law firms can now access the Motor Accident Solicitors Society’s (MASS) diploma as part of their training after the society struck a deal with Damar Training.
It means staff can gain deeper knowledge of motor-related PI work than is offered through a general paralegal apprenticeship.
Much of the cost of the apprenticeship training and the MASS diploma in personal injury can be met via the apprenticeship levy or Government subsidies for non-levy paying employers.
MASS chair Simon Stanfield said: “Damar Training are apprenticeship specialists, and this tailored programme is ideally suited to those new to fee-earning roles.
“The MASS diploma has been provided for many years and is recognised as a highly sought-after qualification in the PI sector.”
Jonathan Bourne, Damar Training’s managing director, added: “As well as learning legal fundamentals and wider business skills, apprentices working in PI/RTA roles need training that focuses on their particular areas of law and practice… Partnering with MASS on this apprenticeship makes perfect sense.
“The fact that apprentices will also graduate with the MASS diploma in addition to their apprenticeship makes this a robust and cost-effective model for law firms and individuals.”
Meanwhile, MASS has joined forces with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) to create a register for mediators in PI and clinical negligence claims.
In a joint statement, the three groups said they recognised “that there is a shortage of places to find and appoint a mediator for injury cases specifically”.
They are now calling on mediators to join the AFM Register of Mediators ahead of its launch this summer.
Mr Stanfield said: “MASS supports mediation where appropriate as a very good way of resolving difficult disputes and giving claimants an opportunity to explain direct to the defendant or their insurers how the accident has affected their lives.
“This register will be a very good way for our members to access mediators with appropriate experience and expertise.”
APIL president Brett Dixon added: “Mediation is a useful tool for practitioners and can be an effective way to resolve matters for injured people particularly when a case has additional sensitivities, such as when there is a relationship to salvage with an employer. What we need is access to the right people to help.”
FOIL chief executive Laurence Besemer said: “With the Civil Justice Council working party looking at compulsory mediation and the long-standing approach of the courts penalising refusal to mediate with costs sanctions, the time is clearly right to launch this register.”
Specialist personal injury and clinical negligence mediator Tim Wallis co-ordinated the project.
Mediators who would like to be a part of the register should visit the website .