Week 1 – The Basics
Getting an apprenticeship with a law firm can seem daunting but over the next few weeks we will be sharing some useful tips to help you kick start your legal career.
Before we start though, key points to remember:
- An apprenticeship is not a course; it is a job with training.
- To be an apprentice you need to get a job.
- A specialist legal apprenticeship provider can help, but can never guarantee, to find you a suitable job role.
- Apprenticeships in popular sectors such as law and accountancy are over-subscribed, making competition fierce.
- There is no apprenticeship funding for graduates and so if you are a graduate an apprenticeship is unlikely to be for you.
- Almost all law firms are looking for good GCSEs (at least 5 A* to Cs) and many look for good A levels as well.
- Think about a backup plan if you are not successful. This can make you feel less stressed and actually help you during the application process.
As with all job hunting, good planning is essential and can greatly increase your chances of success. Over the coming weeks we will guide you through the process to give you the best possible chance of finding a legal apprenticeship.Once you have done your research on the legal sector and have decided first, that it’s for you and, second, what kind of law firm you want to work for, you need to find some potential vacancies. Your first step is to think about the kind of role that will suit you at the outset and then to find a law firm that might have a vacancy...
Identifying the right role for you
It is far better applying for ten vacancies at the right level than one hundred at the wrong level. Although your aim will likely be progression to the Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services and perhaps beyond, most entry level roles are not at this level.
For most GCSE and A level leavers, the work that you will be carrying out in year one is likely to focus on administrative support to more senior staff and solicitors. This may include some legal work such as research and work on case files but you will not be managing cases or advising clients. Consequently your starting point may well be either an Intermediate Apprenticeship in Legal Administration or (once it is launched in mid-2013) an Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services.
Registering for vacancies
- Register with the National Apprenticeship Service's "Apprenticeship Vacancies" site here. NB: because the legal apprenticeship pathway is new you won't find many opportunities here yet but it is still wise to register.
- Register your interest in the Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services here.
- Follow @LegalApprentice on Twitter for news on legal apprenticeships.
- "Like" Legal Apprenticeships on Facebook to receive updates concerning legal apprenticeships, particularly vacancies.
Increasing your chances of finding a vacancy
With 10 or more applicants chasing every vacancy, the basics won’t be enough to get many apprentices a place. Here’s how to increase your chances:
- Use your school or college. Ask whether your school/college knows any firms of solicitors. Are any of the governors solicitors? If your school/college has a law or careers department start here.
- Research firms of solicitors near you. Find out who is in charge of recruiting trainee solicitors (it’s usually on their website). Do not forget the smaller solicitors’ firms. Although they may have fewer vacancies there is also likely to be less competition.
- You can find law firms near you by searching the Law Society’s database here.
- Ask friends and family whether they know any solicitors and see if you can get an introduction to them.
- You never know who has a vacancy and is yet to fully advertise it; you have nothing to lose by asking!
Next week - CVs and covering letters, how to make the approach.
Week 3 – Work experience
Week 4 – Preparing for interview
Week 5 – Interview technique
Week 6 – Becoming an apprentice if you already have a job in the legal sector.