Wilsons is very proud to introduce our three new solicitor apprentices, who joined the firm in September 2021 following completion of their A levels and a fiercely competitive round of recruitment.

Solicitor apprentice Goldinne Opoku-Agyemann assists our Public Law department, Zara Haleem our Family department, and Hamza Gallo our Immigration department.

Our solicitor apprentices spend four days each week on casework and related tasks, gaining valuable experience in a legal aid firm and developing their legal skills. In the first two years of the apprenticeship they will largely be assisting and shadowing our lawyers, and assisting with legal aid administration and billing, as an initial introduction to legal casework. By Years 3 and 4 we envisage they will be able to conduct legal casework more independently while still under their supervisor’s close guidance. By Year 5 we expect them to progress alongside our trainee solicitors, ready to qualify at the end of Year 6.

Alongside that, they are spending one day a week on ‘off-the-job’ training, including preparation for the Solicitors Qualifying Exams, with the University of Law, funded by the government’s apprenticeship scheme with an employer contribution from Wilsons. They will gain an LLB along the way.

On successful completion they will be admitted to the roll of solicitors.

This initiative reflects the firm’s ongoing commitment to breaking down barriers which prevent talented and passionate potential lawyers from accessing the profession.

Reflecting on her first two months in the firm, Zara says:

I chose an apprenticeship over the traditional university route as I really value learning on-the-job. I wanted to get started in the workplace as soon as possible and being able to do that at a law firm was very appealing to me. I also really liked the idea of getting a degree without student debt and so a degree apprenticeship seemed like the perfect mix of working and studying at university.

My first impression of Wilsons was that it was like a big family. Everyone is really friendly and I have had a lot of support and training available to me in my first two months. The apprenticeship programme is quite intense and there is a lot to do straight away. I have one day a week reserved for studying and there is always help available at work if I need it.

My advice to anyone considering a solicitor apprenticeship in the future is to just go for it. It is a great opportunity to get a head start in working. There are many benefits to doing a degree apprenticeship in general and the solicitor apprenticeship sets you up to do really well in a career in law as you gain valuable experience that you wouldn’t learn from a book.

Hamza adds:

I chose the apprenticeship route in order to gain work experience and get a degree at the same time. Becoming a solicitor requires practical skills and the apprenticeship route at Wilsons offered just that.

My first impressions of Wilsons were immediately positive. I have never seen such a warm and welcoming work environment before. Everyone is extremely helpful and I never had the feeling that I didn’t belong here. The staff at Wilsons truly believe in ‘justice for all’

My advice for anyone considering a solicitor apprenticeship is to definitely apply! It is honestly one of the best decisions I have made and I certainly don’t feel like I missed out on uni. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks significantly, especially if you’re a practical learner.

And Goldinne says:

The six year apprenticeship programme is an innovative opportunity to gain hands on experience working in a real law firm. One of the main things that attracted me to the apprenticeship programme is the fact that you will gain valuable experience being surrounded by professionals in the field. Also, by working in a law firm, you can see the tangible change which comes about as a result of your work.

I am particularly attracted to the legal-aid setting as opposed to the more competitive commercial realm because it allows you to ‘hold the state to account when it fails you’ (to quote our head of department James Elliott) and do your part to make the world a better place. You will be constantly surrounded by professionals in the field which means you can gain a first-hand understanding of what being a solicitor really entails.

From a financial perspective, the apprenticeship programme is much better as it means you will not incur any debts from university fees. This experience is perfect for those of you who would like to go into the field of law in the future. One thing that the apprenticeship offers is valuable experience which would be more difficult to attain elsewhere. This route will allow you to put all your practical skills to use and contribute to revolutionising the legal field as a whole as you will have gained 6 years of experience by the time you are finished with the programme.

My initial impressions of Wilsons have been extremely positive; everyone has been extremely welcoming and wonderful. It’s honestly like a family here! Everyone here has been so pleasant and friendly to me and I feel like I’ve known everyone before!

Our six year post A level (or equivalent) apprenticeship scheme follows the introduction in February 2021 of our shorter graduate solicitor apprenticeship scheme – more about our apprenticeship schemes here and more information about hosting solicitor apprenticeships as an employer here.

For any questions about apprenticeships at Wilsons please contact our Public Law partner Katy Robinson.

If you have a family law case you need assistance with, please contact Mavis on 0202 8885 7986 to arrange for an appointment with a solicitor in the family team.

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