Sherrards’ Apprentice Rachael Drane explains what the Solicitor Apprentice route entails.
At the beginning of the year, I began studying for a Solicitor Apprenticeship with the University of Law and I am about to start my second year later this month. Solicitor Apprenticeships are gradually gaining momentum and becoming a new and exciting concept, combining the traditional educational route with hands-on legal experience. I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity by Sherrards to undertake this innovative programme! The course incorporates an LLB law degree and the new Solicitor Qualifying Exams (SQEs) which will be coming into effect to replace the LPC and GDL course. The programme lasts approximately five years and takes you all the way up to qualification.
The course allows for part-time study whilst giving students an excellent opportunity to gain invaluable practical experience of working in a law firm, being immersed in the daily tasks of a lawyer. The programme differs greatly from the conventional study route which often leaves students without sufficient practical experience, making it difficult to then adapt to the legal world.
The Solicitor Apprenticeship is certainty a unique and alternative route to qualification. By the end of the five years, you will have built up a variety of practical skills and legal knowledge from working in a legal environment. At Sherrards, I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in client meetings, court hearings, conferences with Counsel, document drafting, attending junior networking events and much more. The programme greatly increases employability, standing out from the crowd in a highly competitive profession. Working in a law firm in conjunction with studying ensures good working relationships are established at an early stage in your legal career, something which junior lawyers wouldn’t normally start developing until well after their studies.
The programme is highly structured and so for me, I am finding that studying and working fits together very well, allowing me time to keep on top of both my academic and vocational commitments.
I think the Solicitor Apprenticeship route is certainly a concept that will continue to grow and become something to look out for, for many more firms in the near future. It is proving to be such a rewarding and beneficial route in which to qualify, ending up with a sought-after set of skills to become the next new generation of lawyers and I am very grateful to Sherrards for supporting me in progressing a legal career!