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Blazing ahead with the ITV Trailblazer Solicitor Apprenticeship

updated on 05 March 2019

As a user of LawCareers.Net, I know how helpful blog posts and articles can be when searching for information about new and innovative routes into a legal career. This time three years ago, I started my search for legal apprenticeships, as my aim was to become a fully qualified solicitor without attending full-time university. I was surprised to find that this is possible, through a Trailblazer Solicitor Apprenticeship.

Since then, I have been lucky enough to secure the position of the first in-house solicitor apprentice with international producer and broadcaster ITV, and I am halfway through my third year of the apprenticeship. It has been an amazing experience for me so far, I feel very lucky!

I started looking for legal apprenticeships while I was studying for my A levels, as I thought that a mixture of practical work and academic study was best suited to somebody like me who always wants to take on a challenge. Also, I felt that an apprenticeship would provide me with practical legal skills, which are a fundamental part of being a solicitor and which I would not develop as early if I went to university full time. When I saw that ITV was looking to take on its first in-house solicitor apprentice, I jumped at the chance to apply, I felt that it was the perfect opportunity to become a fully qualified solicitor, while gaining a huge amount of hands-on experience and incurring no university debt. I also felt that ITV as an organisation would be the perfect workplace for me, as I would fit in and enjoy my working life while reaching my full potential – what could be better!

The application process was extremely challenging, but you would not expect any less from an employer such as ITV. In addition, it is a six-year commitment on the part of ITV and myself, so this is understandable. First, there was an online application, in which you provided personal details and completed essay questions. For this one position, there were over 500 applications at this stage. If you were successful, you were invited to an assessment day, which consisted of a drafting exercise and a group task. Forty of the original 500 applicants were invited to this. Finally, eight people were invited to an interview with the director of legal affairs and third-party sales and the global general counsel. After this, I was offered my dream job!

In terms of structure and what a solicitor apprenticeship involves, I am undertaking a structured six-year apprenticeship, at the end of which I will be a fully qualified solicitor. Over the first four years, I am attending City Law School to complete my law degree with one study day a week. In the final two years I will study towards my LPC or Solicitors Qualifying Exam, also at City Law School. Over the six years I will spend time in all of ITV’s legal departments, gaining a broad understanding of exactly how the law works in relation to ITV. In my fifth year I will undertake two external six-month property and litigation placements at two of ITV’s panel law firms. This is one of the big advantages of this apprenticeship, as at the point of qualification I will have had experience of both in-house and private practice, making me an experienced and well-rounded lawyer.

My first year at ITV was spent with the Commercial and Marketing Legal Affairs team, and my second within the ITV Studios Entertainment legal team. I am currently nearing the end of my third seat with ITV Global Entertainment Legal Affairs and my third year of my law degree, and will be moving on to my next seat soon!

I am loving the variety of work and the different legal agreements, shows and projects I have had the opportunity to work on over the last two years, such as I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Love Island, as well as format agreements, sponsorship agreements and some litigation.

I have had the best start to my career through doing an apprenticeship and I am enjoying every minute of it. Although six years may seem like a long time, this is equivalent to taking the traditional route, and you gain the same qualifications. I am almost halfway through my apprenticeship, and halfway to becoming a fully qualified lawyer, and couldn’t have asked for a better scheme.

I would strongly advise anybody looking at apprenticeships as an alternative to university to apply, as it is the best decision I could have made.

My top tips for apprenticeship applications:

  • Start applying early: applications open from around now until the following Summer, so have an idea of where you are going to apply, as this will save you a lot of time later.
  • Network as much as you can: this will give you an idea of how to approach and talk to people and also build your confidence.
  • Show your interest in the law: This is fundamental as you must show that you know the industry well.
  • Research the company beforehand: you can tailor your application to the company and make a good impression, look out for interesting recent news.
  • Be yourself: show the company what you have to offer, instead of trying to conform to what you think they want to hear, as this will help you stand out. Let your personality shine through and talk about extra interests.
  • Back up your statements: you need evidence; it’s not enough to just make empty statements such as ‘I work well in a team’.
  • Be ready for a challenge: this is definitely not the easy option; it is challenging balancing work, studies and social life, but it is so rewarding! 

Good luck!

Holly Moore is a third-year solicitor apprentice currently in the ITV Studios Entertainment Legal Team at ITV.