Brief description of employer:
A full-service law firm based in the North East, with nearly 200 people working in the Head Office in Newcastle upon Tyne.
What were you doing before you started your Apprenticeship?
Attending sixth form, studying for A-Levels while applying for the Apprenticeship.
What qualifications have you achieved/ expect to achieve through your Apprenticeship?
An LLB in Legal Practice, after four years and full qualification as a Solicitor, after six. To end up fully qualified while gaining experience at a top law firm, speaks for itself as to why it is worth considering this route.
What made you choose an Apprenticeship?
I wanted to go into employment after A-levels rather than University. However, I believed that to progress my career I needed a degree and therefore was applying to University anyway.
When the Apprenticeship was brought to my attention, which would allow me to gain this degree while going straight into employment, it was an easy decision to apply. I wanted to be doing real work, not just studying.
What are your main duties, responsibilities and day to day tasks?
I have worked in two teams and day-to-day tasks have varied:
- Reviewing medical records for clients with severe spinal and neurological disorders and producing summary notes for file handlers.
- Liaising with medical professionals to arrange appointments and to instruct them to produce medical reports for clients
- Collating evidence and producing conference bundles and court bundles for use in hearings and trials.
- Assisting the instruction of specialist barristers to give help with cases/certain aspects of cases.
- Assisting in the collation and updating of medical evidence.
- Liaising with emergency services to obtain reports, evidence, photographs of scene, interviews and arrange interviews with emergency service personnel.
- Assisting in producing documents/applications for court and liaising with the courts regarding any issues.
- Running a small caseload of lower value work, taking the claim right from the start of the process through to delivering client settlement.
- Attending court to take notes, where a defendant is entering a plea/being sentenced and reporting to file handler with court notes.
- Acting for clients purchasing, selling or transferring title on a property.
- Drafting contract papers for the sale of properties.
- Dealing with enquiries raised by buyers’ solicitors.
- Raising enquiries in a purchase to the sellers’ solicitors.
- Ordering and reviewing searches of a property.
- Dealing with and redistributing large quantities of money e.g. redeeming mortgage, paying estate agent, taking our fee, paying other fees and distributing net sale proceeds to clients or to whoever is owed them.
- Exchanging contracts with other solicitors and completing matters.
- Reporting to clients prior to their property purchase, taking into account my investigations into the title, searches and replies to enquiries.
- Reporting to clients on their mortgage in a purchase.
- Guiding clients through a stressful process and being quick to respond to and resolve concerns or queries they have.
Dealing with banks and estate agents, and solicitors on the other side.
What are the main benefits of an Apprenticeship?
- Earning money while studying
- Having University fees paid, so no debt.
- Gaining practical experience, that will stand me in good stead when I am qualified/completed training.
- Provides a sense of purpose in that you are doing real work, affecting real people and achieving real positive outcomes.
Would you recommend Apprenticeships? Why/ why not?
I would absolutely recommend apprenticeships to anyone considering it. If you have a strong work ethic and want to get a fantastic head start in a particular field or industry, then an Apprenticeship is the route to go down. You develop work skills during formative years, gets a foot in the door with key employers and is a great opportunity to get into a profession or field.
What are your future goals?
- Continue on the current path, gain my law degree in the next two years and qualify as a solicitor in the next four.
- Keep progressing within the firm post qualification, continuously looking to improve and move up the firm if possible.
- Continue to be involved with the Solicitor Apprenticeship Scheme at Sintons after qualification.