Bradley case study
Read more about why Bradley chose an apprenticeship
How did you hear about your apprenticeship?
I embarked on my apprenticeship with Chadwick Lawrence and can safely say when I was offered the apprenticeship I had no idea the apprenticeship route I had just been offered even existed.
When did you realise that an apprenticeship is what you wanted to do?
I was always of the belief that the only route to becoming a lawyer was through university, but I couldn’t have been happier to be wrong. My apprenticeship role is an apprentice legal executive - a trainee lawyer in other words; they are basically the alternative to a solicitor.
Why not college?
I was in my final year at Greenhead College with my final set of exams pending when I was offered the apprenticeship. The offer steamed off the back of a successful work experience placement and a summer job at Chadwick Lawrence.
Was it easy to get on your apprenticeship and what qualifications did you need?
My apprenticeship was of course conditional; I had to gain three A-Levels at grade B or above, but as eager as I was to start, I started before I even got my results. I nevertheless did achieve the grades I needed and left with four A levels at grade B and above – I suppose the fact that my apprenticeship was conditional gave me the extra boost I needed to get the higher grades. I had applied to universities to read law and received offers from all of the universities I applied to, including Manchester and Leeds, but turned them all down on the day I signed the dotted line of my contract to officially begin my apprenticeship.
Although I have always been academically strong and been pushed towards university, since as far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be an apprentice.
What is it like working for your company?
My employer has so far provided a wealth of knowledge and experience to accompany my apprenticeship. I work under the direct supervision of an equity partner and member of the Chadwick Lawrence board – so two days are never the same. Working in the office is a good laugh and you cant ever go a day without a smile on your face.
Did they give you training and if yes, what did the training involve? Did they give you enough support?
I attend Leeds City College once a week on a Tuesday to study for my CILEX (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) qualifications. I am currently in the process of obtaining my Level 3 qualification and looking forward to going on to and completing my Level 6 CILEX qualification to become a legal executive.
What would you say are the perks of the job, the fun parts?
My apprenticeship route has three main perks along with the general benefits of being an apprentice, such as earning while you learn and all the rest. These are:
- The experience – I think you would have a tough time to find an apprenticeship or even a job at 18 where you are drafting documents, speaking to clients and sitting across the table from millionaires on day one.
- The support – being under the direct supervision of an experienced mentor (in my case an equity partner) gives you access to a wealth of knowledge and experience that you cant find in any textbook or classroom.
- Application – the ability to take what you learn in the classroom and to be able to apply it in the workplace the very next day.
How did doing an apprenticeship affect your social life?
I almost always have my weekends free to do as I please and during the week I usually have some sort of corporate or networking event to attend – most have free drinks!
Did it help you to save money?
I am much better off financially. I would have accumulated roughly (in fees alone) £50,000 worth of debt, and on the flip side of the coin I will earn that much money in the same amount of time being an apprentice, resulting in a £100,000 difference.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself being a fully qualified legal executive with an ambition to becoming an associate at the firm I currently work for ... Over the past 12 months there have been sweeping changes with regard to legal executives, and therefore implications on myself as an apprentice – all good.
Through an apprenticeship it now takes only five years (or even four if you really push for it) to become a qualified lawyer compared to six years (or seven in most cases due to low demand) for a solicitor. We have been granted higher rights of audience and now have the exact rights as solicitors do when it comes to going to court.
Legal executives now also can act independently from solicitors and to top it all off can now become judges in nearly every court apart from the high court and supreme court – the exact same as a solicitor.
Page updated August 2016