As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Apprentice Solicitor, Katie King shares her experience and why she chose the apprenticeship route to qualification as a Solicitor.
What attracted you to a career in law?
There are many things that attracted me to a career in the legal sector. Primarily, I wanted to be able to help people to resolve their problems. Another reason is that I have always been fascinated by the multi-faceted and ever-evolving nature of the sector. I like to be challenged and I have always been driven by deadlines.
What drew you to the apprenticeship route at Ellisons?
I wanted to become an apprentice solicitor because I saw the opportunity to gain a degree and sit my SQE exams, whilst working alongside lawyers, as invaluable. I knew that contextualising my studies in the workplace would really suit my practical style of learning and keep me engaged in my studies. I was very eager to work in a law firm and assist on cases from the outset.
I wanted to work at Ellisons in particular because of the friendly, community-driven nature of the firm. Further, I found that Ellisons has a particular focus on learning and development, and I knew that the firm had the facilities in place to be very supportive of my work and studies.
Since starting my apprenticeship, I have found that I have been able to apply my university learning in the workplace, thus consolidating my knowledge and enabling me to experience the law in motion. I have also been able to use the skills that I have developed through my work in the office to better understand my studies from a well-rounded and practical perspective. I am very grateful to be an apprentice here at Ellisons.
What are you enjoying the most about the apprenticeship at Ellisons?
There are so many aspects of my apprenticeship that I enjoy at Ellisons. From the university assignments to exciting work in my department, there is not an aspect of the apprenticeship that I do not thoroughly enjoy. However, I think my favourite part would have to be working with my team. The support in both my studies and work has been invaluable, and the team is so incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and supportive.
Most memorable moment so far?
My most memorable moment so far would have to be when we won the first High Court Trial that I assisted with. In the Commercial Litigation team, we get to deal with some really complex, exciting and high-value cases. In this instance, the dispute regarded the beneficial ownership of the sole share in a company.
After months of learning, preparation, and teamwork, we successfully put forward our client’s case during the week-long trial. We successfully navigated the disclosure and witness statement pilot schemes, and I really enjoyed attending conferences throughout the case with my supervisor. The whole preparation process, and attendance at trial, was such an incredible experience and I am very fortunate to work in a team where I have these opportunities.
What does a typical day for an Apprentice Solicitor look like?
Working in the Dispute Resolution department, my tasks vary every day. From defamation claims to contentious probate issues, every case is different which means that I am constantly learning and expanding my skillset. My role is to assist people throughout the department with their cases and, whether it be to conduct research, review files or compile bundles, I get the opportunity to experience a wide range of topics and legal issues each day.
I typically arrive at the office around 8:40 to check my emails. I start every day with compiling a ‘to-do’ list, prioritising urgent tasks accordingly, and a video call with my team. This is where I set out what I will be doing for the day and ask any preliminary questions regarding the work that I have been assigned.
I typically work on urgent matters in the mornings and spend my afternoons on larger, less urgent projects. Given that litigation cases are very fast paced and intricate, I regularly check in with my supervisors throughout the day.
One day a week, we have a study day to attend our virtual lectures with BPP. On my study days, I typically spend the morning reading and researching the material that we will be discussing in class, and completing the preparation tasks that we are set. I then attend the live lectures in the afternoon and consolidate my learning once the lectures have finished. I take notes of any legal issues I would like to understand further and discuss these with my team in our group call the following morning.
Advice to apprentices
My advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship would be to go for it! Applying to work as an apprentice solicitor is one of the best decisions that I have made.
When applying to be an apprentice solicitor, I would recommend researching in detail the firm you intend to apply to and the course that they offer. Understanding the core values of a firm and the type of cases they deal with will really help you to determine whether a firm is right for you. Furthermore, there are a wide range of legal apprenticeships and apprenticeship providers, so understanding the course a firm is offering is key.
I would also advise making your application specific to the firm you intend to apply for. It is important to show what you can bring to the firm, why you are suitable for the role of an apprentice solicitor and what experience or extracurricular activities you have been involved with.
Finally, I would advise an aspiring apprentice solicitor to make use of social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Following the firm that you intend to apply to will enable you to see the recent events and updates that they post. Furthermore, you can also use LinkedIn to locate and share opportunities and experiences that will strengthen your application, such as vacation schemes.
Our six-year Solicitor Apprenticeship programme is aimed at school leavers who have completed A Levels or equivalent studies and are looking to embark on their career in law whilst gaining invaluable experience at a leading regional law firm. Find out more about our Solicitor Apprenticeship programme here.