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60 Second Interview: Apprentice solicitor

In this interview, Bryony tells us about her role as an apprentice solicitor and explains how skills she gained in English class have helped prepare her for her career.

Bryony, apprentice solicitor

This interview is form the Gatsby Subject Guide for English, which you can view in our online store.

During the coronavirus crisis, you can view the electronic version of the entire resource here.

Name: Bryony
Employer: Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP
Job title: Solicitor apprentice
Apprenticeship title: Solicitor degree apprenticeship

What does your role involve?

I am currently working in the operational property team in the firm’s real estate department. My team is very supportive of my career goals and the apprenticeship route. During my time as an apprentice, I will stay in real estate for the first four years and then rotate every six months in my last two years (similar to a training contract).

I spend one day a week at university studying and four days a week working in the office. My day-to-day jobs include drafting legal documents such as tenancy agreements and renewal leases.

What subjects did you study?

At A-level I studied history, geography and English literature.

How do you use your knowledge of English in your role?

Studying English literature helped in reading case law and long judgements, and developing my thoughts into academic essays. All three of my A-levels were useful for analysis, developing arguments and have helped me carry out independent research.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

This apprenticeship appealed to me, as I would be doing real legal work, whilst also studying for my law degree. This structure is hugely beneficial, as most students will leave full-time university with little or no work experience, whereas I will leave as a fully qualified lawyer, with six years’ experience and no university debt.

What challenges did you face?

The most challenging aspect is fitting in all the study time and trying to balance activities outside of the workplace. I get one day a week to attend university and study, but it is not enough to get everything done, so I often find myself getting to the office early and leaving at 5pm and going home to study.

For anyone considering this route, I would say you definitely need to engage fully; you can’t go into it half-heartedly. It requires a lot of commitment and dedication. Talk to your teachers and email different law firms that are offering the scheme, as the more research you do, the more you will understand what’s expected of you.

What are the two most important transferable skills you use in your role?

Working in a team effectively has been a massive skill that I have acquired throughout my role. Especially being so junior in a big law firm, it is essential to create good relationships with the people around you.

Communication is another important transferable skill. It can be quite stressful at the start when everything is so new, or you have so much work on your desk that you are struggling to manage. I am lucky to have a supportive team, where we all support each other and are always looking to help each other out. It is so important to speak out if you are finding something challenging.

Find out where else English can take you in our article Why Study English?

Images: Lead image by smlp.co.uk via Flickr