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Why I chose to do a Solicitor apprenticeship

By 6 October 2021No Comments

We hear from Delia Doman from Addleshaw Goddard about why she chose to do a solicitor apprenticeship.

Tell us about what you do and how you got to be doing it.
In my current role I am part of the Innovation and Legal Technology Team. I help with testing out and implementing new products, solve problems for clients by building tailored data sites and try to make routine tasks more cost effective and seamless. I chose this seat as part of my rotation, and I can safely say that it has been a very interesting seat! This is because the use of AI is constantly increasing in the legal world because clients are more likely to choose firms that can come up innovative solutions.

What does being a Solicitor Apprentice involve?
Overall, I don’t think that there is one particular thing that encapsulates what being a Solicitor Apprentice involves however, common day to day tasks involve drafting documents, assisting on projects, attending meetings, progressing smaller matters and drafting plenty of emails! I think it really does depend on what team or division you are in though, because in my current seat I have been building data rooms from scratch which is not something that you would be doing in other teams.

What made you choose to do a solicitor apprenticeship?
I knew that I was always interested in legal career and it was something that I wanted to pursue from a young age. During collage I became aware of the different career paths, and the solicitor apprenticeship seemed to be the perfect fit for me. Whilst studying for my A-Levels, I also volunteered at Citizens Advice Bureau where I qualified as an Initial Advisor. It was at that point that I knew that I wanted a route into qualification that would give me exposure to hands on experience, and that would allow me to study at degree level. That’s what made me choose the solicitor apprenticeship over the traditional route.

What do you see as being the benefits of the apprenticeship route into your career?
I think it’s great that you get the exposure to work straight away, I think this also helps you to become commercially aware and it helps you to gain a lot of practical knowledge. I have sometimes noticed a disconnect in between the modules we are studying at the type of work I am doing, which I think can act as a hindrance if you are just doing one or the other. I think this is perhaps where an apprenticeship provides the most benefits because you can see how matters are progressed on a daily basis, but you then also have the academic side which adds to your own knowledge.

If you hadn’t done your apprenticeship, what would you have done?
I initially got accepted into the University of Liverpool to study Law with Spanish, so I guess it still would have been law!

What did you know about the legal industry before you joined Addleshaw Goddard?
My education had largely focused on the justice system and was mainly split into criminal law and tort law, so even though I was aware of all of the different sectors in a commercial law firm such as AG I don’t think at that point I quite knew or understood what each sector entailed.

What skills have you developed through your apprenticeship?
I think communication, problem solving and time management are some of the key skills I have developed through my apprenticeship. Communication is very important because over time you learn to adapt your communication style based on the recipient and it can sometimes be very challenging to set out things in a concise way. Problem solving is a day to day skill, you never know what you are going to encounter, but it’s essential to be adaptable and to point things out if you think that something isn’t quite right or if you think that there may be a better solution. Lastly, time management can be a difficult skill to grasp, but it’s key to making sure that you are able to prioritise certain instructions and manage your own workload.

What difference have you seen in yourself as a result of your apprenticeship?
By undertaking the apprenticeship, I think I have become a lot more confident and independent. It has also given me a sense of stability, especially since becoming a homeowner aged 19.

What advice would you give to a young person thinking of undertaking a solicitor apprenticeship?
I think an apprenticeship route is a fantastic way to get hands on experience, especially if you are practical person that likes to learn things from other people. However, it is a very big commitment and it does take up a large chunk of time so you have to make sure that you definitely think it’s right for you.

What do you wish you had known before starting your apprenticeship?
That it’s not all as scary as it first seems! It can be very daunting leaving collage or sixth form and then starting out in a professional full time job whilst studying at the same time. Over time though you realise that everyone around is there to help and support you.

What are you looking forward to about starting the trainee part of your apprenticeship?
I am looking forward to seeing what new challenges will arise, and it will be very interesting to get a sense of what some of the other divisions are doing. I am also intrigued about the types of tasks I will be doing and seeing how the complexity of the work will compare to my current responsibilities.

To me, a career in law/working in a law firm is….
exciting and challenging – you never quite know what your day is going to be like!

Delia joined Addleshaw Goddard in September 2017 just after her A-levels. She was initially part of the Transactional Services Team (TST) which is a central hub of paralegals. TST is split into 4 different divisions, Real Estate, Litigation, Finance & Project and Corporate & Commercial. During her first 4 years she rotated around the various TST divisions, having completed seats in Litigation, Real Estate and Social Housing Property (this was an embedded role which fell under the Finance & Projects division).

In September 2021 she moved into the second phase of her apprenticeship which is very similar to a Training Contract so will be moving completely out of TST and into the wider firm. Delia will have the option to pick seats such as Infrastructure Projects & Energy, Employment or Tax etc.

These last two years will be  focused on the elements of the SQE. Delia has one day a week allocated as a study day, allowing her to attend an online lecture from BPP which requires advance preparation. She will still sit a range of exams and prepare pieces of coursework just as if she was studying law at university. As part of the apprenticeship shew will also have to build a portfolio of evidence to show meet the relevant SRA requirements.