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Developing your skill-set for the future

07 February 2022

Lucas Metcalfe is a Paralegal Apprentice at DWF. In this blog he discusses his decision to embark on an apprenticeship scheme rather than a purely academic based route into law.

1) What made you choose an apprenticeship over university?

For me personally I learn a lot better through practical application of my learning so the option of working within the legal sector whilst gaining my qualifications was a great opportunity. When I was in college I wasn't particularly sure of the idea of going to University, especially during COVID times, but at the time I thought it was the only way to gain a career in law. I began to explore other ways into legal careers and thankfully found out about the Level 4 Paralegal and Level 7 Solicitors apprenticeships. 

I think the experience that you gain from doing an apprenticeship rather than a purely academic based route into law is invaluable as the option to work alongside and gain training from sector experts everyday whilst still completing my studies isn't one that you get every day. The apprenticeship has also been a massive help to my studies, as it lets me apply scenarios I've witnessed in the workplace to the module content I'm currently learning about at University, and vice versa.

2) How did you find out about the programme?

I first found out about the DWF Apprenticeship scheme after completing work experience for DWF in 2019 where I worked within the Insurance team in the Leeds office. I wasn't sure that I wanted to go down the route of University so started looking into other ways I could start a career in law and luckily when researching I managed to find out about the apprenticeship scheme DWF offered. I applied at the start of 2021 and completed the assessment centre in the July. I feel very fortunate to have managed to secure a place on the programme.

3) How have you benefited from an apprenticeship at DWF? 

At first I was nervous about coming into a corporate environment at age 19 with no experience of working within a legal business. Everybody I've engaged with so far at DWF has been extremely supportive and helped to make sure I settled into the firm and shown me how to complete tasks and the processes we follow. The confidence boost that this has given me is amazing, and I now feel that I can throw myself into any task that is sent my way. 

The knowledge I have gained from being in the office and listening in to other more experienced paralegals on phone calls has massively developed my skillset for dealing with clients. This ultimately has helped to kick-start my career as by the time I finish my paralegal qualification I will already have accrued 2 years' worth of experience within the legal sector and be able to confidently run my own caseload. 

4) What are your ambitions / career goals in the future?

My longer term career goal is to work my way towards getting a place on the Solicitor's apprenticeship after the two year Paralegal qualification. I'm still not sure which area of law I'd like to specialise in but hopefully over the next few years I'll be able to get experience in different areas to help my decision. In the short term I'm currently focused on developing my legal skills and looking forward to getting my first case that I can run from start to finish. I'm very excited for what the next few years of my career has to offer!

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