Written by Amber Williams, Paralegal
I was always the girl in school who wanted to go into Law and I don’t ever recall having another career in mind. However, the plan was always to get my legal qualification via the traditional route, that being getting a law degree from University.
Having always been a very dedicated school student, and with apprenticeships very much being in the minority (and being something that I thought was only available to very few and select job roles), I set about doing my UCAS application in the winter of 2019. In order to boost my application, as well as to feed my growing interest, I attended Law Club which was hosted by the local Exeter University students every week. They gave us mock lectures as well as scenarios to work through ourselves, aiding me to develop what they referred to as a ‘law brain’. A Solicitor also attended my school’s careers event, giving me an opportunity to have an in-depth discussion on working as a Solicitor; allowing me to explore the huge expanse of departments available to work in within a firm (many more than your typical sixth former would expect!).
Results day rolled around and I was extremely lucky to say that I got into my first-choice university. It seemed like my plan was set and, after having my planned gap year, I would be ready to move onto my next chapter of studying.
During my gap year, I threw myself wholeheartedly into the world of work, focusing on my other passion, horse riding. Working extremely long days definitely took its toll but I found having a job gave a sense of satisfaction and achievement which I hadn’t felt during my time in education. For me, making a difference to people’s lives was something I massively enjoyed. This was when I began thinking about the possibility of continuing to work rather than returning to education but this wouldn’t be a decision that I would take lightly. It was clear that to reach my aspirations I would need to gain further qualifications, so when a friend told me about her legal apprenticeship, I immediately began researching into it.
Having attended school in Exeter, I was always aware of Dunn & Baker Solicitors being a leading firm in the area. I was drawn in by the company’s ethos which differs so massively to other firms, so when a trainee position in the Private Client department arose I set to work on my application.
Whilst on my gap year, my parents began drafting their Wills. Having minimal knowledge of the area, I was somewhat surprised about the great relationship that they built up with their Solicitor, as well as the depth and detail that their Wills were written in. Being someone who thoroughly enjoys making personable relationships, I knew that the Private Client department would be a great fit for me. My problem-solving qualities, that were further developed in my gap year, also left me in a good position to begin my journey in the Private Client department.
When I was offered the position, I was absolutely over the moon and more than eager to begin. Now, in my first few weeks in the position, I have learnt so much already as well as being able to partake in work on real files. So far I have most enjoyed attending client meetings where I am able to join in with discussions on a range of topics, such as the use of LPAs and learning about the client’s wishes.
I am very excited to begin the educational side of my apprenticeship over the coming months. Going forward, assisted study will enable me to expand the areas that I am able to work on within the department as I gain more knowledge around them. Whilst apprenticeships in law are still fairly uncommon, for me they are a no brainer. Once completing a legal apprenticeship, you are a fully qualified Solicitor or Legal Executive, depending on which route you take. In addition to this, you will gain years of valuable work experience which is not possible whilst completing a traditional law degree from University. As a result, I will be entirely prepared to jump straight into work once I am fully qualified, something I am very much looking forward to!