Beth Brindley, a solicitor at Blacks Solicitors, was the first apprentice to qualify at the firm.
Here she shares her thoughts and comments on legal apprenticeships and why more people should consider this as a route into the legal profession.
What made you choose an apprenticeship as your route into the legal profession?
“When I first considered a career in law, I did look at university as an option and I even accepted a place at a university in London. However, after careful consideration, I realised that the university lifestyle wasn’t for me. I eventually went down the apprenticeship route as I already knew they could be successful, and I liked the fact that you get paid whilst studying and securing real-world experience.”
How did you find out about the apprenticeship?
“After I decided not to go ahead with my place at university, I started to look into apprenticeships. My mum used to be a careers advisor and so I already had a good idea about what they entail. Through my research I came across the solicitor apprenticeship at Blacks Solicitors via BPP University. I knew Blacks was a successful law firm in an area close to where I live.”
What was the application process like?
“The application process was challenging, but Blacks made me feel at ease as the firm is very accommodating to individual needs, and the people are friendly and approachable. While I was nervous for my interviews, I actually enjoyed them and found that I was listened to, and felt encouraged to share my experiences. Overall, I had a very positive experience which of course led to a successful apprenticeship at the end of the application process.
“The application has been updated since I applied, to take into account an increase in interest and applications, but the objectives remain the same.”
What does your role involve?
“I qualified into the Commercial Law Team where I specialise in Commercial and Intellectual Property law. I advise clients on a range of commercial matters, including drafting and reviewing terms and conditions (and other commercial contracts), and intellectual property-related matters.
“I’m also supporting the Partner in the Music Law Team, which is a newly established practice area for the firm. I’m still learning the ropes, but this is a bigger part of my role that I’m really enjoying.”
What have been the highlights of your apprenticeship?
There are three main highlights that come to mind.
- Making friends: I had this misconception that I would be missing out on making ‘friends for life’ by doing an apprenticeship instead of going to university, but I actually made one of my best friends on my course with BPP. I’ve also built lots of friendships with colleagues at Blacks through its firm wide initiatives and culture.
- Work experience: I enjoyed securing a range of experience in different teams and getting fully involved in work projects. The lawyers I’ve worked with have all been happy to spend the time answering any questions, reading my work and giving me feedback. Clients have also been great to learn from, and there was never a reluctance to talk to me because of my apprenticeship status.
- Qualifying: I was very happy when I received my final exam results and knew that all the hard work had paid off. It was great to be able to share my joy and excitement with colleagues who have supported me since the beginning.
What is next for your career?
I’m very much adjusting to the post-qualification life and getting into a new routine, but I’m still keen to continue progressing with Blacks. My biggest ambition is to be made a Partner one day.
What advice would you give to young people looking to fulfil their dreams of becoming legal professionals?
Definitely consider options other than university. The apprenticeship route is a good option for people who might not be able to afford university or don’t want to have student debt. Just remember that it has become more competitive as more people have grown to realise that other options are available.
With that in mind, always research the law firm before applying. While the scheme is fantastic, it can be stressful and so make sure you’re applying to a firm where you’ll be supported and if possible, one that has a great culture.
For more information about apprenticeships at Blacks Solicitors and how to apply, please visit: www.lawblacks.com/about-us/careers/apprenticeships/