A solicitor apprenticeship – an insider’s view
I am a solicitor apprentice currently sitting with our residential conveyancing team based in our Tunbridge Wells office. Alongside that, I am studying for my law degree through BPP University via an apprenticeship rather than the traditional university route. It will take me 7 years in total to qualify as a solicitor via the solicitor apprenticeship route although there has now been a rule change which means that new starters will only take 6 years. At the end of the apprenticeship I will take the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and I will need to pass this to qualify as a solicitor.
How do I balance studying with working?
In order to balance my studies with working, I have each Monday away from work to complete my studies. This includes online lectures, reading and practice paper questions using fake scenarios. We are allocated this day as all apprentices are required to have 20% ‘off the job’ studying which works out to be one day a week. This is a vital part of an apprenticeship as it allows apprentices to have a set time to study.
How do my apprenticeship studies link to my daily work tasks?
An important part of the apprenticeship is completing a portfolio in which we demonstrate that we have met set outcomes . To evidence these outcomes, I use examples of tasks that I have completed and fill in a portfolio ‘log sheet’ as to why this evidence demonstrates that I have met the specific outcome. Therefore it is essential that I refer back to the outcomes regularly to ensure that I am keeping them in mind!
I am also currently studying professional conduct where I have to evidence that I am acting in line with the SRA principles by way of a coursework piece. Within the coursework piece I have to provide specific examples of how I have acted or recognised the SRA principles in day to day scenarios.
Am I working remotely or in the office?
At the moment I am in the office 2/3 days a week with the remaining time spent at home. I like having the option of being able to come into the office as well as working from home. However, being in the office has been a crucial part of my development, as I sit opposite my supervisor. It is much easier to ask a question face to face, show a colleague a document on your screen and listen to legal conversations within the team to help your development.
We are also required to show proof of a negative lateral flow test and have safety measures in place to ensure that the office is a safe COVID free environment!