The advantages of being a legal apprentice

Marcus Lunt - The advantages of being a legal apprentice

A career in law has always appealed to me, but the traditional route to becoming a lawyer was off-putting due to the fees and length of time required without a salary. The route I have chosen minimises the cost of training and reduces the time to start earning, while also giving me recognised qualifications and hands-on experience. This is a win-win situation in my eyes.

Prior to this job, I had a job in retail working for Screwfix for 18 months and also completed work experience at a local magistrates court in 2010. Apart from this, I have no background in law, as I have arrived straight from college.

The job so far has definitely exceeded my expectations. I have much more responsibility than I ever thought possible; I feel trusted and valued by all those around me and this has given me a great sense of opportunity to keep on developing, work my way up and repay the faith invested in me.

My role includes scheduling documents, creating indexes to be sent to clients, writing reports and researching marketing opportunities for the firm. Overall the work I have been exposed to has been fascinating; it has been great to see the types of work we do and I am more involved in it all than I ever thought I would be at such an early stage.

It is really exciting and I feel very lucky. I am among the first to take this route and it has opened up plenty of opportunities. Starting at the same time as some graduates, I don’t feel as if I have missed out on getting a degree and I have been made to feel as valued as anybody who does have one. Daily, I hear about the cost of the LPC and university fees, and this is one problem I will never have to worry about. Especially with a decreasing number of training contracts, a guaranteed job in this current climate is brilliant. I am aware that the legal sector is about to undergo a massive evolution and I am thrilled to be part of that change. I am excited to see what opportunities arise for me in both the short and long term. Currently I have 15 months left, but given the speed at which the last three months have gone by, I am sure it won’t feel as long as it sounds.

Within the apprenticeship, I am looking forward to mastering some of the general processes and then hopefully being able to help others with the knowledge that I have gained.

After the apprenticeship, it would be good to be able to move onto more technical points and processes of law, such as drafting legal documents and being more involved with our clients.

My advice to anyone hoping for a career in law would be do your homework. Research both the traditional route and the new apprenticeship route. They both have positives and negatives, neither route is 'easy' and neither is black or white. The apprenticeship isn't just assessors coming in to check on you every three months; there are plenty of exams thrown in throughout. Both routes are challenging and will take a strong, focused and hard-working character to succeed. Clearly, I endorse the apprenticeship route all the way. Minimised debt, the chance to earn while you learn and a guaranteed job are just three positive aspects of the apprenticeship route. Further to these benefits is the fact that I will have three to four years of experience in a law firm, which I feel will be attractive to employers. Ultimately it is down to personal choice and I know plenty of people who have chosen university because they think it is the only way to get a decent job, or they haven't been made aware of the opportunities out there, but it isn't. If you are good at what you do, you can go as far as you want to go.

Marcus Lunt has just turned 19 and is in the third month of his apprenticeship at top-tier law firm Addleshaw Goddard.

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