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Why choose an apprenticeship over university?

07 February 2022

Apprentice Solicitor, Rebecca Byrne, talks about the benefits of a legal apprenticeship scheme. 

1) What made you choose an apprenticeship over university?

I really enjoyed law at college and dreamed of becoming a solicitor but knew going to university full time wasn’t for me. I was concerned about moving away from home and incurring the costs of attending university. When I found out about the apprenticeship and that I could study part time to obtain a law degree and still have the opportunity to qualify as a solicitor whilst obtaining practical experience of working in a law firm, it seemed like absolutely the right step for me.  

2) How did you find out about the programme?

My law tutor at college informed me that legal apprenticeships were available and said that they were becoming increasingly more popular and widely recognised as an alternative route into qualification for those not wanting to complete the traditional way. Legal apprenticeships were also promoted at careers events during my time in college.

3) How have you benefited from an apprenticeship at DWF? 

I have grown massively as a person through the course of the apprenticeship, both personally and professionally. I have gained lots of confidence and now have much more belief in myself and my abilities. I have developed my communication and organisational skills which has helped greatly in adjusting to my role as an apprentice and allowed me to form great relationships with colleagues.

Taking part in the apprenticeship has given me practical, hands on experience of dealing with cases, advising clients and assisting solicitors to understand how the theory learnt during my studies applies in practice.

I have had the opportunity to work in three different practice groups during my apprenticeship so far which has exposed me to lots of different types of work, with varying degrees of responsibility, thus giving me a working knowledge of these areas, the opportunity to network with clients, barristers and expert witnesses as well as providing a real insight into how solicitors operate and how their roles change across different teams. 

In future, I hope that the level of work experience I have gained during the course of the apprenticeship will be seen as a real positive and help to set me apart from others who have qualified via the traditional route in a competitive environment.

4) What are your ambitions / career goals in the future?

My short term ambition is to complete my degree in September and progress to taking the Solicitors Qualifying Exams. In future, my aim is to qualify as a solicitor and enter into a newly qualified position at DWF.

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