I am a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice in the Michelmores’ Bristol office, currently in my first seat in the Transactional Real Estate team. The apprenticeship programme is much like the traditional training contract, except I study one day a week for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), instead of having to get my SQE before starting to work at Michelmores.
I studied Politics and Sociology at the University of Exeter and completed the Graduate Diploma in Law (a law conversion) the year after. Unsure what city I wanted to be in, I moved to London and was a paralegal in Construction for a year. I soon realised I wanted to be in Bristol and Michelmores stood out for me due to its presence in the southwest and positive feedback I had heard from trainees! I initially looked into the traditional training contract, but when I learnt about the Apprentice programme it seemed perfect. The programme means I will qualify sooner than taking a year out to finish my studies and enables me to put the theory that I learn into practice straight away. It also allows me to earn a salary alongside studying for the SQE which is great for someone like myself who had been working and didn’t want to have to give up working and a salary to study the SQE full time.
The Graduate Solicitor Apprentice scheme is sector focused and built around the area you want to qualify. I chose a Real Estate apprenticeship as I had a background in Construction and wanted to build upon this. I have submitted my preferences for my next seats, which are Property Litigation, Agriculture and Landed Estates. I grew up on a farm and so I am incredibly excited to do Agriculture and utilise my knowledge from Transactional Real Estate. Whilst trainees/apprentices often have an idea where they want to qualify, my advice would be to go into every seat completely open minded and put your all into it. You might be surprised what you prefer in practice!
Everyday for me is different. My office days look very similar to the days of other trainees, and so I have outlined my university day.
8:45 – 9:00 – I ensure I treat my university day as a normal work day. The SQE has a huge amount of content, and it is crucial to not get behind and be disciplined. Therefore, I start at 9:00 latest. The course is all online and so I login to the university portal and see what reading I need to do that week.
9:00 – 12:30 – I complete my reading. This usually takes me half a day and I try to ensure that I finish by lunch, so that I can spend the afternoon doing the weekly tasks.
13:00 – 16:00 – I complete the tasks, which include practice questions and training videos. These put the weekly reading into practice.
16:30 – 17:00 – I complete my weekly test. This is usually 15 questions and if you have completed the reading and all the practice tasks, they are usually not too bad!
17:00 – 18:00 – If the weekly topic is particularly difficult, I consolidate my knowledge and reflect on my result of the weekly test.
18:00 – I enjoy my Friday evening!
Whilst the prospect of studying the much-anticipated SQE and training might seem daunting, the support from the firm is incredible. I would recommend this programme to anyone!