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Learning ‘hands-on’ – my Paralegal apprenticeship

By 6 October 2021No Comments

We hear from Jasmine Browne Bennett from Addleshaw Goddard about why she chose to do a paralegal apprenticeship.

Tell us about what you do and how you got to be doing it.
I currently work as a Paralegal within the Financial Litigation team at Addleshaw Goddard which ultimately involves recovering large debts for our clients. I got into this role by completing the Paralegal Apprenticeship straight after I completed by A-Levels at my local sixth form. As part of the apprenticeship I rotated around different divisions within the firm every 6 months, therefore when my apprenticeship came to an end I was able to choose where I wanted to stay permanently. I chose to stay within the Litigation team due to how much I enjoyed the work and how welcomed I felt within the division.

What made you chose to do a paralegal apprenticeship?
Ever since I started my A-Level in Law I knew that I wanted my career to be within the legal sector as it interested me so much, however I wasn’t entirely sure what type of law I would enjoy. I always thought about going to University however I knew that I learnt better ‘hands-on’. Therefore, when I heard about the Paralegal Apprenticeship I knew it sounded perfect for me as I would be learning on the job whist studying alongside and that I would be alternating around divisions every 6 months so I could find out what type of law I enjoyed.

What do you see as being the benefits of the apprenticeship route into your career?
The hands on experience which you receive from working within a law firm is invaluable, which partnered with the learning you complete at University at the same time, it allows you to put into practice and solidify your learning.

If you hadn’t done your apprenticeship, what would you have done?
I would have either gone to University to study law and qualified in the more traditional route or become a Zoologist because I love animals (a zoologist is a very similar role to a lawyer, I know).

What did you know about the legal industry before you joined Addleshaw Goddard?
My knowledge of the legal industry prior to joining Addleshaw Goddard was very little however I soon learned a lot about how it worked and what it entailed once I started!

What skills have you developed through your apprenticeship?
The list of skills is endless! However, I would state the key skills which I have learnt are communication, time-keeping, organisation, commercial awareness and how to apply my knowledge effectively in relation to legal work.

What difference have you seen in yourself as a result of your apprenticeship?
I have developed a lot as person as I have become more confident and it has allowed me to understand exactly what career path I wish to take.

What advice would you give to a young person thinking of undertaking a paralegal apprenticeship?
I would advise them to definitely go for it as the progression opportunities are endless! Some of the previous apprentices have gone on to be managers within the Transaction Services Team, others have nearly qualified as Chartered Legal Executives and some of the current Solicitor Apprentices are about to start their Training Contracts in September, so you honestly never know what you will end up doing!

What do you wish you had known before starting your apprenticeship?
Firstly, I wish I would have known how many amazing opportunities I was going to have as before I started I was conscious that I wasn’t going to fit in well at a law firm but everyone is so friendly. Secondly, I wish I would have known that you can never ask too many questions as I was so nervous to ask questions in my first few months.

What do you enjoy most about working as a paralegal?
I enjoy that I am constantly learning every single day whether it be legal learning such as attending legal book clubs or non-legal learning which is achieved through day-to-day working life. I also enjoy that no two days are the same and the fact that I work within a diverse welcoming team.

What is next for you?
I am hoping to start my Cilex qualification so I can study to eventually qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive. This will allow me to continue to progress within my current role as a paralegal whilst studying at the same time.

To me, a career in law/working in a law firm is…..
a challenging yet rewarding career with many benefits on a personal and intellectual level.