What made you decide to choose the Solicitor Apprenticeship at DWF?
I was originally completing the Paralegal Apprenticeship at DWF. During my two years on the Paralegal Apprenticeship, the experience I gained was invaluable and I started to understand how a legal business worked without having any qualifications. The opportunity to become a Solicitor without completing a law degree and going down the 'traditional' route was too good to turn down. I was able to learn on the job whilst earning and I was gaining experience by shadowing many professionals in the business. The experience I would gain was something a university could never provide for me. I knew that I wanted a route into qualification that would give me exposure to hands on experience, and that would allow me to study at degree level. This apprenticeship ticked all the boxes.
How have you balanced your role and starting an apprenticeship?
When I am studying, I am allowed Monday off as Study Leave. This is a great asset as I am able to concentrate on completing my University work and I do not have to concern myself with any of the legal work I am completing in the office on that day. There is no doubting that studying and having a full time job is hard work, however, revising/studying on a Monday and putting a few hours aside during the week and at a weekend is more than enough to be successful on this course. Make sure that you always have plans in place and make sure you stick to them. It is easy to devoid from these plans so it is important that once you set a time to revise/study, you do just that!
What support do you receive whilst you go through the apprenticeship?
I receive a lot of support during the completion of my apprenticeship. I have regular check-ins with my Apprenticeship Manager and I am able to discuss any issues I have. I also have a supervisor during each seat who regularly checks in with me to make sure I am settled and I have no issues with the work I am completing/being tasked to complete. As I am studying for a Law Degree during my Apprenticeship, I also have a mentor at University. My mentor is able to discuss any issues I have with any of my studies and is able to help me set out plans about how I should revise/learn moving forward.
At DWF, I also have a 'Trainee buddy'. This is someone who has completed/is in the process of completing the training contract. This allows me to learn what is going to happen in the future and I am able to go to them to ask any questions about the training contract section of the apprenticeship. I have support all over.
How has the apprenticeship assisted in developing your career at DWF?
During my Apprenticeship, I gain experience from numerous different seats around the business. This allows me to network with a variety of people and gain experience from numerous areas in the business. Over time, I will understand how different areas work and I will be able to grasp an idea of how to work to benefit the business in different areas. Having this variety of experience gives me a broader range of availability when it comes to specialising in a specific area.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering an apprenticeship?
When I was thinking about university/apprenticeships, my thoughts were that people still see University as the way to go. This isn't true. An apprenticeship allows you to gain experience in an area you enjoy learning about, whilst getting paid and not having to pay for a Law Degree. Practically, you are in a great position as you are able to gain experience of day to day dealings in a law firm that you would never receive at University.
I believe that if you want to get involved within the law, there is no better way to start than getting straight into the activity of a law firm such as DWF.