Paralegal, Lily Read, talks about her apprenticeship progression.
I work in the Occupational Health and Casualty team in London. My role includes; running my own caseload of Small Claims matters, assisting other fee earners with the day-to-day directions of their case load, drafting legal documents, legal research, bundle collation, taking witness statements and arranging and attending conferences with Counsel.
As an apprentice, I would assist with similar tasks but I now have much more responsibility when assisting fee earners with their case load whilst they are away on annual leave, and I have developed my relationship further with clients to obtain my own case load.
Before starting my apprenticeship with DWF I tried to obtain as much work experience as I could whilst I was studying at sixth form. This included any office work experience and gaining experience at law firms. I also worked part-time as a Maths and English tutor for a nationwide company.
In the summer leading up to my apprenticeship I also worked as a Legal Administrative Assistant at a High Street firm local to me.
I learnt so much during my time as an apprentice! I have been able to develop personally and professionally.
I now feel able to assist with all areas of a Paralegal role in the team, as the academic study enabled me to demonstrate the legal principles immediately in the office. The academic knowledge worked well alongside the practical training in the office which has shaped me into the Paralegal that I am today.
I have also developed a lot personally and I feel I have grown so much in confidence when speaking with colleagues internally and externally.
An apprenticeship has assisted in kick-starting my career at DWF, as it has enabled me to introduce myself to clients and members of my team, and I have been able to develop and maintain the relationships as a Paralegal.
An apprenticeship with DWF also enabled me to gain an insight into how a large-scale legal business operates, which is knowledge that will stay with me throughout my legal career.
I would tell anyone who is thinking of starting an apprenticeship two things; be a sponge and ask questions!
I would advise anyone to be a sponge and soak up any opportunity that is given to you in a team, including court attendances, attending conferences with clients and external Counsel and other meetings such as Joint Settlement meetings. These real world meetings really give the greatest insight into cases that your team deal with and it is great to see things in action.
I would also advise to ask as many questions as possible, even if you consider them silly (because no question is a silly one!). It is important to remember that all members of your team were once a junior member of the team or a trainee at some point, and they will always be happy to help!
"An apprenticeship has assisted in kick-starting my career at DWF, as it has enabled me to introduce myself to clients and members of my team, and I have been able to develop and maintain the relationships as a Paralegal."