08 November 2019

This article was written by Jasmine Sharp, legal apprentice.

Why an apprenticeship and why law?

Half way through my final year of sixth form, I realised that I didn’t want to go to university. I had already been offered places to study Psychology – a subject that I found fascinating – but I was unsure if I wanted to pursue it as a career. With the prospect of £30,000 student debt hanging over my head, I decided to opt for something that I felt offered a little more career certainty: an apprenticeship.

I applied for a legal apprenticeship because I felt that the legal profession would best suit my personal skills and experiences; I wanted a job that would challenge me academically, but also allow me to utilise and develop my communication skills by interacting with people on a daily basis. I had never studied Law before, but I knew that the mixture of reading, writing, and analysis, combined with problem solving and teamwork, would provide me with the academic and social stimulation that I was seeking from a career.

The Level 7 Solicitor Apprenticeship takes six years to complete, and involves one day a week studying remotely and four days a week working in the firm. At the end of the programme you will qualify as a solicitor, and you’ll have six years of work experience, six years of income, and a law degree! These benefits make an apprenticeship a genuine and viable alternative to the traditional route into law – six years may sound like a long time, but it would take at least that to complete a traditional Law degree, the Legal Practice Couse, and a two-year training contract.

Why Burges Salmon?

At Burges Salmon, apprentices are valued members of the team. We each sit in one of the legal departments and share an office with a lawyer that supervises our work. The genuinely collaborative firm culture means that our learning comes as much from the firm as it does from our Monday lectures. Everyone is keen to share their legal knowledge and experience, and there are endless opportunities to develop soft skills like communication, presentations, and networking.

The type and level of work we do varies across departments, but some typical apprentice tasks include drafting and proofreading documents, researching points of law, reviewing documents for disclosure exercises, and taking attendance notes of calls and meetings. No task is ever the same as the background is always different, and working with different clients means you get an insight into a variety of other industries and businesses.

An added bonus of working at Burges Salmon is getting to live and work in Bristol. I grew up in Bristol but then spent two years studying abroad, so after college I was eager to return to this bustling hub of arts, culture, and history. Whether we’re advising on large Bristol-based infrastructure projects or volunteering at local schools, I am grateful for the opportunity to work in a firm that gives something back to the city.

For more information on our apprenticeship scheme, visit our apprenticeship page.

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