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Solicitor Apprenticeship: An alternative route into Law

Written by

Leah Campbell

Published on

March 7, 2024

Leah Campbell, solicitor apprentice, specialising in new build conveyancing

Leah Campbell is studying to become a solicitor through a 6-year Solicitor Apprenticeship. As part of National Careers Week, Leah talks to us about her apprenticeship.

My name is Leah Campbell, I am 5 years into the 6-year Solicitor Apprenticeship, and I work at Amphlett Lissimore Bagshaws LLP.

I left school in June 2018 after completing my A-Levels in English Literature, Psychology and History. I knew that I wanted to go on to higher education but was unsure as to exactly what to study and where, so I decided to take a ‘gap year’. I had intended to use this time to further research my options and have an opportunity to take part in volunteering schemes that I had previously been unable to engage in due to my schooling commitments. In the summer after I left school, but before commencing the apprenticeship, I spent time working and completed a work experience placement at Croydon Crown Court. I also volunteered at Bromley Magistrates Court with the Citizens Advice Bureau as a member of the witness support team.

Have you heard of a Solicitor Apprenticeship?

Taking even a small role in the legal sector during this time confirmed to me that this was an area and career I would like to pursue. During my free time, I began to research alternative routes into law as I believed like many, that university and the ‘traditional’ route was the only way into law. During my research, I came across apprenticeships. I had not been advised at school that apprenticeships were an option after sixth form and was unaware that you could complete an apprenticeship whilst obtaining a degree.

Using websites such as Prospects, the Law Society, and the Government Website, I was able to not only understand what these apprenticeships would be like but also find firms that were offering them and currently accepting applications.

1. Law apprenticeships | Prospects.ac.uk
2. Law Apprenticeships Programs | University of Law
3. Legal sector apprenticeships | The Law Society
4. Find an apprenticeship – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Ultimately, I found my Solicitor Apprenticeship role advertised on Indeed. I applied for the job at my previous firm and was enrolled on to the apprenticeship scheme with the University of Law following this. I then began my 6-year journey in January 2019, working in the Immigration department at my previous firm.

What does the apprenticeship entail?

The Solicitor Apprenticeship is a 6-year programme that involves studying for your degree and SQE exams alongside on-the-job training. I work 4 days a week at Amphlett Lissimore and have one ‘study day’ a week, in which we can complete our university work remotely. For the first 4 years, we worked towards obtaining our Law degree studying over 12 areas of law as part-time students, each module being studied for around 10 weeks. Once the module was fully studied, we completed an assessment, the final grade of which went towards our final degree classification.

Once you enter the 5th year you begin preparing for the SQE exams and complete your portfolio. Our portfolios are evidence that the work we have completed throughout our apprenticeship has complied with the Solicitors Standards. We will then spend the final year completing SQE 1 and moving onto revision, preparation, and completion of SQE 2.

During my apprenticeship, I have been able to have seats in the Immigration, Criminal Appeals, Prison Law, Parole, Action against Public Bodies, and Conveyancing Departments at my respective firms.

Although the apprenticeship has been challenging, I have learned lessons and gained skills that I would never have had the opportunity to experience had I not taken this route.

In 2025 I will be 25 and a qualified Solicitor, with 6 years’ worth of experience, a degree (and I’m also completing a Masters degree), and a broad range of knowledge. The scheme is something I wish more students and legal professionals were aware of, as the opportunity is truly invaluable. Despite the challenges of the apprenticeship, the support of my peers at the University of Law and colleagues at Amphlett Lissimore have helped to make it a truly enjoyable experience.

I feel extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to qualify in this way and am proud to be part of the next generation of lawyers qualifying through the SQE route.

About the Author

Leah Campbell is a solicitor apprentice in our commercial property department. Based in Crystal Palace, Leah specialises in conveyancing transactions – particularly the purchasing of new build properties and large-scale developments.

 

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