I'm a Solicitor Apprentice; ask me anything! Watch

Haider_A
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Hi All,

I'm a first-year Solicitor Apprentice in an international law firm, but based in the UK.

I work within Real Estate Litigation, but can also answer general questions about the apprenticeship programme!
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sm0009
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Hi- firstly, thanks for offering the opportunity to ask questions. I’m particularly interested in undertaking a solicitor apprenticeship for a 2021 start and had a few questions if that’s ok; since applications open in May/ June 2020.

1. What is the standard of competition for the solicitor apprenticeships? Specifically the straight 6- year schemes with Ashurst, CRS, Evershed Sutherland etc. Is it the same competition as for a training contract? I’m just wondering if it’s less/ more competitive. Are there any stats on offer rates etc? There’s no stats at all online- so any info would be hugely useful!

2. What were your GCSE grades & A- Level predictions? My GCSE’s are good- mostly A’s and A*’s, however i’ve got a C in maths, and i’m hoping that won’t hinder me too much! As for A- Levels, i’m confident of being predicted A*AA- is that strong or weak in the context of other applicants? Also- what A- Level subjects did you do? Does this matter much?

I’ll probably have a couple more questions (if that’s ok!) but right now that’s all I can think of! Again, thank you very much!
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artful_lounger
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Are you part of an apprentice cohort, or are you the only apprentice in your firm?

How far into the apprenticeship are you?

Do you find it challenging to balance the academic elements of the apprenticeship with your work in the apprenticeship?
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Haider_A
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(Original post by sm0009)
Hi- firstly, thanks for offering the opportunity to ask questions. I’m particularly interested in undertaking a solicitor apprenticeship for a 2021 start and had a few questions if that’s ok; since applications open in May/ June 2020.

1. What is the standard of competition for the solicitor apprenticeships? Specifically the straight 6- year schemes with Ashurst, CRS, Evershed Sutherland etc. Is it the same competition as for a training contract? I’m just wondering if it’s less/ more competitive. Are there any stats on offer rates etc? There’s no stats at all online- so any info would be hugely useful!

2. What were your GCSE grades & A- Level predictions? My GCSE’s are good- mostly A’s and A*’s, however i’ve got a C in maths, and i’m hoping that won’t hinder me too much! As for A- Levels, i’m confident of being predicted A*AA- is that strong or weak in the context of other applicants? Also- what A- Level subjects did you do? Does this matter much?

I’ll probably have a couple more questions (if that’s ok!) but right now that’s all I can think of! Again, thank you very much!
Not a problem; I think that open discussion like this will help raise the profile of Solicitor Apprenticeships, which is why I made this thread.

1. The standard of competition for the straight six-year apprenticeship is very high, in that applicants will tend to have higher A-Level predictions than the requirements to actually get onto the apprenticeship. I am on the six-year scheme without having done the paralegal apprenticeship before, which means that competition is especially high as it's a guaranteed progression to being a solicitor (more-or-less). Solicitor Apprenticeships are still in their infancy relative to conventional university routes, therefore I'd say that competition isn't as high as training contracts YET, but this will change in the near future.

2. My GCSE predictions were slightly higher than average and A Level predictions were A*A*A in English Literature, Psychology, Geography and an EPQ. Your predictions are fantastic; they will definitely help. Focus on achieving them (which I found to be a challenge whilst applying for university and apprenticeships).

Hope this helped and get in touch if you need any other information
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Haider_A
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Are you part of an apprentice cohort, or are you the only apprentice in your firm?

How far into the apprenticeship are you?

Do you find it challenging to balance the academic elements of the apprenticeship with your work in the apprenticeship?
I'm the only apprentice (in my particular office) who started this year, however there are many apprentices older than me, both in my office and across the country.

I'm 1.5 months into the apprenticeship.

At the moment, the balance is very easy to maintain, as long as you are organised, e.g. dedicating times to prepare for the tutorials at university. This will get harder to maintain, as workload increases both from university (towards exams) and from the firm.
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dyal16
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Hello, thank you for this opportunity.

Similar to sm0009, I did well in GCSE's apart from a C in maths (the requirment is B).
I'm predicted A*AA (english lit, psychology, history) and I got A* in EPQ

1- is the C in maths a big deal? esp for russel groups like UCl
2- is a prediction of A*AA enough (some has said that it only meets the requirments, and its better to exceed this)

thank you
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J Papi
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Interesting... got a few questions too, if you don't mind:


  1. What sort of firms tend to offer these apprenticeships? What should current students google/search for if they want to find similar opportunities online? (i.e. what's their formal name?)
  2. How many apprenticeships tend to be offered by each firm? Is it just one or two per office?
  3. Are any apprenticeships offered in offices outside London by national firms? (e.g. Birmingham, Manchester)
  4. Where do you do tutorials? Is it at ULaw/BPP?
  5. How much time do you spend on independent studying a week?
  6. Is there a seat rotation scheme in place? How many groups/departments do you get to work across? Are there any groups/departments you've been told that you can't work in?
  7. What's the dough like for the duration of the scheme? Do they pay minimum wage + cover the cost of your education/training, or is the salary at paralegal levels and above?
  8. How long has your firm had its scheme for?
  9. What was the assessment process like for your scheme?
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Haider_A
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(Original post by dyal16)
Hello, thank you for this opportunity.

Similar to sm0009, I did well in GCSE's apart from a C in maths (the requirment is B).
I'm predicted A*AA (english lit, psychology, history) and I got A* in EPQ

1- is the C in maths a big deal? esp for russel groups like UCl
2- is a prediction of A*AA enough (some has said that it only meets the requirments, and its better to exceed this)

thank you
Hi and not at all; I'm glad to help!

1. As far as I'm aware, A Levels are of much greater importance to employers than your GCSEs, however you will need to have passed the core GCSEs, so a C should be fine, but please check the requirements of whichever firm you are looking to apply to

2. That's a fantastic prediction! No law firm (that I am currently aware of) has entry requirements that high, so that puts you in good stead; focus on achieving those grades
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Haider_A
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(Original post by J Papi)
Interesting... got a few questions too, if you don't mind:


  1. What sort of firms tend to offer these apprenticeships? What should current students google/search for if they want to find similar opportunities online? (i.e. what's their formal name?)
  2. How many apprenticeships tend to be offered by each firm? Is it just one or two per office?
  3. Are any apprenticeships offered in offices outside London by national firms? (e.g. Birmingham, Manchester)
  4. Where do you do tutorials? Is it at ULaw/BPP?
  5. How much time do you spend on independent studying a week?
  6. Is there a seat rotation scheme in place? How many groups/departments do you get to work across? Are there any groups/departments you've been told that you can't work in?
  7. What's the dough like for the duration of the scheme? Do they pay minimum wage + cover the cost of your education/training, or is the salary at paralegal levels and above?
  8. How long has your firm had its scheme for?
  9. What was the assessment process like for your scheme?
1. Many law firms offer these apprenticeships; they all tend to be commercial firms and quite a few are major international law firms. Try searching 'solicitor apprenticeship/paralegal apprenticeship' and scroll down to see all opportunities

2. It really does depend on the office and on the firm. My firm, due to how big it is, offers 2/3 new apprentice roles every year in bigger offices such as Birmingham and London, and one apprentice role every 2 years in smaller offices

3. Yes definitely! Many law firms will tend to be major national and international companies, so finding offices outside of London shouldn't be too much of a difficult task

4. I study with BPP, but some of my other apprentice friends in other firms use ULaw

5. I spend around 2 hours preparing for each tutorial. The tutorials are 2 hours long and then we have consolidation after which is around 20 minutes

6. For me, I'm in Real Estate Litigation for 4 years. After the 4 years, I will be joining the training contract rotating scheme, so then doing 4 seats for 6 months each. Other firms may do it differently however. I haven't been told I can't work in a specific department, but apprentices are allocated to available departments (i.e. departments that don't have an apprentice). I was offered to work in either pensions or real estate and I chose the latter

7. The salary is very good for the role and tasks that an apprentice will be doing. My salary will increase each year and my firm pays more than the minimum wage, as well as fully paying for my degree and other training, such as going to conferences, away days. There are other benefits, such as private health insurance, that every employee is entitled to

8. My firm was the first to accept apprentices in the UK (not sure of the exact year) and I believe it is also the biggest recruiter of solicitor apprentices in the UK

9. The assessment process is very long. I submitted an online application and was then invited to do a video interview. I was then asked attend the assessment day, in which I had scenarios to play with partners and current staff, interviews and essays and numerical tests. The whole process took around 9 months from me submitting it, to receiving an offer. The offer is of course conditional on achieving the required UCAS points. All firms will be very competitive to get into and my one was definitely competitive.
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Crazy Jamie
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This is a very useful thread. I've had some limited contact with solicitor apprentices through instructions that I've received (all from a non London offices of a national firm as it happens, to answer J Papi's question), both from cases that they've effectively been running themselves and in terms of them being at court with me in the place of a more senior fee earner. I have to say I've been struck by just how competent the apprentices have been that I've dealt with. Not to say that I expect incompetence from the firm in question, because it is a very good firm, but more that I was surprised by clearly how well trained and adept the apprentices were given, frankly, how young they were. I have to say the impression I got, albeit from very limited experience of dealing with apprentices, is that it's a fantastic route into the industry. You essentially not only get academic fees covered, but get paid while you're acquiring the relevant qualifications and also receive consistent practical experience whilst essentially moving along a route that ends in a training contract, or at least a fairly established position within the profession. It's great to have someone who is actually undertaking one willing to answer questions on what is a relatively little known topic, so your time is very much appreciated Haider_A.
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Haider_A
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
This is a very useful thread. I've had some limited contact with solicitor apprentices through instructions that I've received (all from a non London offices of a national firm as it happens, to answer J Papi's question), both from cases that they've effectively been running themselves and in terms of them being at court with me in the place of a more senior fee earner. I have to say I've been struck by just how competent the apprentices have been that I've dealt with. Not to say that I expect incompetence from the firm in question, because it is a very good firm, but more that I was surprised by clearly how well trained and adept the apprentices were given, frankly, how young they were. I have to say the impression I got, albeit from very limited experience of dealing with apprentices, is that it's a fantastic route into the industry. You essentially not only get academic fees covered, but get paid while you're acquiring the relevant qualifications and also receive consistent practical experience whilst essentially moving along a route that ends in a training contract, or at least a fairly established position within the profession. It's great to have someone who is actually undertaking one willing to answer questions on what is a relatively little known topic, so your time is very much appreciated Haider_A.
I'm so glad that you have had such good experiences with other apprentices!

I really want to raise the profile of this new route into the legal profession and there just is nowhere near enough noise about this yet, but I anticipate this will all change in a few years.

If you know anyone who is looking to enter the legal profession through a non-conventional route, please direct them towards me and I would be more than happy to answer any questions that they may have; thanks
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sm0009
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What extra/ supercurricular stuff and/ or work experience (CV stuff!) did you have that was really helpful when applying? e.g. I run the school magazine so any questions regarding leadership etc I default to that!

Did you have to send in all your GCSE certificates etc when offered the position? And on A- Level results day how did you confirm- did you have to scan a statement of your results?

This question is going to be pretty badly phrased and unspecific- but I guess, bluntly, is what are they looking for? I mean- everyone is going to have good grades- be well spoken, articulate, coherent etc! What separated you? Did you have any awards, talents etc? I’m just a bit in the dark about all of that- everyone is committed, dedicated, hard- working etc: all the ‘typical’ values!

I think i’ve asked this but do you have any info on application numbers and/ or offer rates? E.g Ashurst may have had 1700 applicants for 2 six- year solicitor apprenticeships. (Random number!) There’s nothing regarding admissions statistics online whatsoever!

(Again, sorry for all the questions. I’m getting everything collated for my applications next year!)
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Haider_A
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(Original post by sm0009)
What extra/ supercurricular stuff and/ or work experience (CV stuff!) did you have that was really helpful when applying? e.g. I run the school magazine so any questions regarding leadership etc I default to that!

Did you have to send in all your GCSE certificates etc when offered the position? And on A- Level results day how did you confirm- did you have to scan a statement of your results?

This question is going to be pretty badly phrased and unspecific- but I guess, bluntly, is what are they looking for? I mean- everyone is going to have good grades- be well spoken, articulate, coherent etc! What separated you? Did you have any awards, talents etc? I’m just a bit in the dark about all of that- everyone is committed, dedicated, hard- working etc: all the ‘typical’ values!

I think i’ve asked this but do you have any info on application numbers and/ or offer rates? E.g Ashurst may have had 1700 applicants for 2 six- year solicitor apprenticeships. (Random number!) There’s nothing regarding admissions statistics online whatsoever!

(Again, sorry for all the questions. I’m getting everything collated for my applications next year!)
My extra-curricular activities were few and far between; I didn't do anything that would make me stand out as a candidate. I was a cadet in the CCF for a year and a junior prefect for a year. In terms of work experience, I done a week in a personal injury firm in Year 10 and a week in the Magistrates' Court. I also done the Bar Mock Trial. My experiences did help me answer interview questions but weren't too big a part.

In terms of grades, they ask for predictions but don't ask you to send any cerification until after an offer is made. When an offer is made, all certification is sent to the university for verification, as well as getting the certificates verified by a professional (who certify that it's a true copy of the original).

On results day, I simply emailed the firm with my grades. There was, weirdly, no requirement to scan and send a copy of the results slip as proof, but I did so anyway.

This is something I struggled with. As I did two assessment centres (for two different firms), I found that all firms are looking for something similar. They all want someone who is absolutely invested in the firm that they are applying for. Someone who has some commercial awareness but someone who can articulate themselves well, with relevant examples of anything they've claimed is a skill and a main part is someone who is academically able. I recommend looking at the firm's values and finding examples linked to those values. Look at niche areas and software the firm uses. Look at big deals they've worked on and find areas that are interesting to you, not ones that you think will impress. Finally, ask RELEVANT questions; unfortunately I am a strong believer that there are such things as stupid questions, in that people will ask them just for the sake of looking good!

I don't think there are any statistics on a public domain and if so, I certainly haven't seen any! It's important not to get bogged down into statistics; if you had told me that there was only one offer being given to over 180 applicants, I would not have done as well as I did in the application process.
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sm0009
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(Original post by Haider_A)
My extra-curricular activities were few and far between; I didn't do anything that would make me stand out as a candidate. I was a cadet in the CCF for a year and a junior prefect for a year. In terms of work experience, I done a week in a personal injury firm in Year 10 and a week in the Magistrates' Court. I also done the Bar Mock Trial. My experiences did help me answer interview questions but weren't too big a part.

In terms of grades, they ask for predictions but don't ask you to send any cerification until after an offer is made. When an offer is made, all certification is sent to the university for verification, as well as getting the certificates verified by a professional (who certify that it's a true copy of the original).

On results day, I simply emailed the firm with my grades. There was, weirdly, no requirement to scan and send a copy of the results slip as proof, but I did so anyway.

This is something I struggled with. As I did two assessment centres (for two different firms), I found that all firms are looking for something similar. They all want someone who is absolutely invested in the firm that they are applying for. Someone who has some commercial awareness but someone who can articulate themselves well, with relevant examples of anything they've claimed is a skill and a main part is someone who is academically able. I recommend looking at the firm's values and finding examples linked to those values. Look at niche areas and software the firm uses. Look at big deals they've worked on and find areas that are interesting to you, not ones that you think will impress. Finally, ask RELEVANT questions; unfortunately I am a strong believer that there are such things as stupid questions, in that people will ask them just for the sake of looking good!

I don't think there are any statistics on a public domain and if so, I certainly haven't seen any! It's important not to get bogged down into statistics; if you had told me that there was only one offer being given to over 180 applicants, I would not have done as well as I did in the application process.
Thank you so much!!
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Haider_A)
Hi All,

I'm a first-year Solicitor Apprentice in an international law firm, but based in the UK.

I work within Real Estate Litigation, but can also answer general questions about the apprenticeship programme!
How are you treated by your seniors as an apprentice compared to those doing a TC? Honestly.
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J Papi
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(Original post by Haider_A)
1. Many law firms offer these apprenticeships; they all tend to be commercial firms and quite a few are major international law firms. Try searching 'solicitor apprenticeship/paralegal apprenticeship' and scroll down to see all opportunities

2. It really does depend on the office and on the firm. My firm, due to how big it is, offers 2/3 new apprentice roles every year in bigger offices such as Birmingham and London, and one apprentice role every 2 years in smaller offices

3. Yes definitely! Many law firms will tend to be major national and international companies, so finding offices outside of London shouldn't be too much of a difficult task

4. I study with BPP, but some of my other apprentice friends in other firms use ULaw

5. I spend around 2 hours preparing for each tutorial. The tutorials are 2 hours long and then we have consolidation after which is around 20 minutes

6. For me, I'm in Real Estate Litigation for 4 years. After the 4 years, I will be joining the training contract rotating scheme, so then doing 4 seats for 6 months each. Other firms may do it differently however. I haven't been told I can't work in a specific department, but apprentices are allocated to available departments (i.e. departments that don't have an apprentice). I was offered to work in either pensions or real estate and I chose the latter

7. The salary is very good for the role and tasks that an apprentice will be doing. My salary will increase each year and my firm pays more than the minimum wage, as well as fully paying for my degree and other training, such as going to conferences, away days. There are other benefits, such as private health insurance, that every employee is entitled to

8. My firm was the first to accept apprentices in the UK (not sure of the exact year) and I believe it is also the biggest recruiter of solicitor apprentices in the UK

9. The assessment process is very long. I submitted an online application and was then invited to do a video interview. I was then asked attend the assessment day, in which I had scenarios to play with partners and current staff, interviews and essays and numerical tests. The whole process took around 9 months from me submitting it, to receiving an offer. The offer is of course conditional on achieving the required UCAS points. All firms will be very competitive to get into and my one was definitely competitive.
Hey - thanks for the reply. I had some questions on the BPP side:

1. What sort of things are covered in the course at BPP? Is it both academic law and LPC stuff, or just the latter?

2. How many seminars do you have a week? How much time do you spend studying in total?

3. Do you have any coursework? How is that part of the apprenticeship assessed? Is it just exams?
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Haider_A
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(Original post by Reality Check)
How are you treated by your seniors as an apprentice compared to those doing a TC? Honestly.
I'm glad you asked this. There is one trainee in my department and I tend to get similar work to them, but I have more supervision given my inexperience.

There is no hierarchy when interacting with partners, senior associates etc., everyone plays their own role in the team which makes it so inclusive. The open plan office means someone very junior may be sitting next to someone very senior, as is the case with me; there are no fancy offices for partners (in the UK offices at least).
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Haider_A
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(Original post by J Papi)
Hey - thanks for the reply. I had some questions on the BPP side:

1. What sort of things are covered in the course at BPP? Is it both academic law and LPC stuff, or just the latter?

2. How many seminars do you have a week? How much time do you spend studying in total?

3. Do you have any coursework? How is that part of the apprenticeship assessed? Is it just exams?
1. BPP provides the LLB degree; the modules are more spaced out than a conventional degree, giving you more time to work through them as you are also working alongside (it takes 4 years to graduate instead of the traditional 3 years at uni). The LPC will eventually be phased out, so there will be no LPC as a qualification per say; as we are working at the same time, that is more than enough to satisfy the requirements of the LPC

2. I have one tutorial per week which is 2 hours long. Preparation is a big part of it which can take up to two hours to do. The tutorial itself is online and consists of polls, MCQs and debates. There is also consolidation activities to do after each tutorial

3. There is coursework for the skills module; I'm currently doing 'Client Care' which I will have to submit a 2,500 reflective essay for in January. The portfolio is also a massive part of the apprenticeship; you have to evidence the apprenticeship standard outcomes which will form a big part of you qualifying as a solicitor.
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Haider_A
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(Original post by Reality Check)
How are you treated by your seniors as an apprentice compared to those doing a TC? Honestly.
Also, I'd like to add that my firm views apprentices as long term investments, rather than the two year trainees who may disappear upon qualification.

Therefore, we tend to get invited to more events, conferences and away days as we are with the firm for 6 years at least, whilst there is no guarantee that a trainee will stay or will be offered a job
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CE01
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Hello! This is rather impressive, thank you for the thread. I’ve looked into solicitor apprenticeships but haven’t been able to find many! Do you know of many companies that do offer them and the basic requirements when looking into applying? I have just finished college and received my Alevel results!
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