The route to becoming a solicitor doesn’t always have to involve university and a training contract. Gabriella Knowles is a Legal Apprentice at Addleshaw Goddard and is part way through her Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services. She has the academic ability to go to one of the country’s top universities, so why did she opt for a legal apprenticeship? “Obviously at uni you end up with the debt and I like the fact that I am earning and learning at the same time.” What’s more, she has aspirations to qualify as a solicitor through the equivalent means route.
Addleshaw Goddard’s reputation as a leading international law firm influenced Gabriella’s decision to apply there. “It’s a big firm. It’s a massive, international firm… I’m obviously going to jump at the chance.” Despite the size of the firm, Gabriella outlines how helpful they’ve been throughout her training, particularly when it comes to study and revision sessions. She’s set to become a paralegal in property law in April, but she’s been carrying out important work as an apprentice. “In some of the projects I’ve worked on I’ve had to comply with undertakings. If we don’t comply, it can have a serious impact on the firm.” Additionally, Gabriella’s fellow apprentices have worked with licenses and Stamp Duty Land Tax. Stamp Duty has to be paid within 30 days, otherwise the firm and the client get fined. “It’s really important we get things right”, Gabriella explains.
Throughout her time at Addleshaw Goddard, Gabriella has worked with managing associates, solicitors and trainees. You could be fooled for expecting that a fledgling legal apprentice could be intimidated in these situations, but Gabriella simply explains that “We’re there to help the lawyers.” She also believes that it’s her confidence and proactivity that helped her secure her legal apprenticeship, alongside her impressive grades. “Some might be scared to approach a lawyer, but I’m… not”, Gabriella says with a chuckle.
So, what next? Gabriella’s already mentioned her aspirations to follow the equivalent means route to becoming a solicitor. This allows those who have completed the LPC and can demonstrate work-based learning to bypass a training contract and become a solicitor. Gabriella’s head isn’t in the clouds though – she’s very grounded. Her initial aim is to progress to becoming a senior paralegal but with her work ethic and mannerisms, Gabriella shows that the sky is the limit for legal apprentices.