What sparked your interest in law?
It was all about how connected the legal industry is with our everyday lives. From the branded clothes we wear, the adverts we see on TV, to the food that we eat. Every aspect of our day to day lives is influenced by the law in some way. When I was considering my future career options, I thought it would be really cool to be able to impact people’s daily lives through the work that I do. This prompted me to look into studying law at university but when that didn’t quite work with my circumstances, I looked into alternative routes to becoming a solicitor.
Why did you choose the apprenticeship route?
The idea of studying in lectures and not being able to use my knowledge I was learning until years later didn’t suit the way I like to learn.Therefore, I started to look for other options and I found the Paralegal apprenticeship schemes, which are a combination of working and studying simultaneously, with the end goal of qualifying as a solicitor. The route allows me to study one day a week and work in the industry four days a week. The best part about it for me, is that if I learn something in the lectures, I can consolidate my knowledge by applying it directly to real life situations with real clients, sometimes as soon as the very next day. This combination of studying and workplace experience means that I can receive qualifications and earn a salary, without student debt.
How did you find studying and working at the same time?
I quickly learnt that an important part of being a Paralegal, is to be highly organised and the combination of working and studying really tested my ability to prioritise my workload in the office alongside my revision schedule. I would regularly be juggling between deadlines in the office and deadlines at university. I didn’t mind that, the Legal industry is well known for being fast paced and the ability to work under pressure is key for any aspiring solicitors.
Do you hope to inspire others without a degree to pursue a career in law?
I have always wanted to promote the idea that apprenticeships could be an excellent career option for those that are unsure about attending university. Prior to my apprenticeship, I had a preconception that you must have a degree to be considered for a TC. This is not the case and I want to highlight that there are other routes to qualification. There are many Partners and Senior Associates who value the experience that an apprenticeship can provide compared to a degree. I really hope I inspire people who never thought about entering the legal profession, to consider the apprenticeship route as a viable option into law.
What advice would you give somebody thinking about following the same path?
Make sure you do your research around the type of work you will be doing and whether the law is something you are truly interested in. Due to the nature of the apprenticeship, it is very time consuming, you need to be 100% committed to get the most out of the course and work placement. It’s also important to understand a firm’s values to see if you can see yourself working there in the long term. If the firm feels like a good cultural fit, your experience will be better and you will learn much more from those around you.