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Life as a paralegal apprentice

In September 2016 I began my journey as a paralegal apprentice by starting the CILEx Law School Level 3 Paralegal apprenticeship. The apprenticeship is a 24-month programme with various pathways to follow throughout the course. I have chosen to follow the civil litigation pathway with a focus on contract law. Completion of the apprenticeship allows for progression to the Chartered Legal Executive apprenticeship or the Solicitor apprenticeship. I am fortunate enough to work with a supportive and encouraging team that consider my education advantageous to the firm.

What is involved in a paralegal apprenticeship?

A huge benefit to the apprenticeship is the support I receive from CILEx Law School as well as the team at SNS Solicitors. The teaching element of the course involves face to face sessions, webinars and assessments.

Why become a paralegal apprentice?

There are various benefits entering a paralegal apprenticeship.

  1. Like with many subjects, you may have enjoyed them at school, but you can never be 100% sure that you would enjoy a career related to those lessons. Law is an incredibly interesting subject and can offer widely rewarding careers. Personally I was not sure what profession I would follow. I began my career at SNS Solicitors as an

office manager. As I was gradually introduced to various areas of law, I begun to become increasingly more interested in the law and found myself asking the team more and more questions about cases they were working on. Being able to witness first hand the hard work of the team resulting in positive results for their clients was a turning point for me and I found myself wanting to be a part of that. I was fortunate enough that the team supported me and enabled me to enter an apprenticeship to allow me to become part of that process too. As with any apprenticeship, learning whilst gaining experience in your chosen profession is certainly an advantage.

  1. Variety is another benefit of being a paralegal apprentice. Although SNS Solicitors are specialists in litigation, we cover all aspects of law excluding conveyancing and so my apprenticeship allows me to experience these various areas of the law. This means that no day is ever the same. Witnessing the law being put in practice first hand is a huge benefit of a paralegal apprenticeship, and it allows me to apply scenarios I have experienced to the learning materials that CILEx Law School supply.

  2. Being a paralegal apprentice allows you to experience cases and the processes first hand. On occasion, my role requires me to attend court to assist the solicitors from SNS. This is certainly another benefit of being a paralegal apprentice; it allows me to gain valuable experience which will benefit me throughout my career in law.

  3. Life as a paralegal apprentice is challenging and full of variety. However, for me this is one of the best things about my job. As a paralegal apprentice you are often required to assist with a variety of cases all at once. One day you may be required to produce a research report and the next you may be working on bundles for an upcoming trial. Being able to balance different cases and manage timescales is key, but as an apprentice, CILEx Law School and my team provide me with all the support need to ensure I can do so.

  4. Being able to help others is one of my favourite things about working in law and for me it is one of the elements of the job that first sparked my interest in a legal career. People often require the assistance of a law firm at potentially the most stressful times of their lives. Working to assist people at such times can be emotionally difficult. At times the subject matters of cases can be sensitive. As a paralegal apprentice having the support of a good team is invaluable. As an apprentice in any profession, the support of your training provider and your team is simply something that you cannot get from a textbook.

  5. Progression is another huge benefit of being an apprentice. Like with all apprenticeships, completion of the course allows you to progress further in your chosen profession. Completing the CILEx paralegal apprenticeship allows progression to the Charted Legal Executive apprenticeship or the Solicitor apprenticeship.

From my experience so far, I would highly recommend becoming an apprentice in a profession that interests you. I would always recommend finding an apprenticeship in a profession that you can still see yourself working in ten years down the line. I would also recommend looking for a supportive team to begin your apprenticeship journey with. You spend more time with your work colleagues than you spend at home, so look for people who inspire you. I have found that these things have so far allowed me to make the most from my apprenticeship.

Although I made the decision not to go to university, I certainly do not regret it. I am pleased that I have been able to make my first steps towards becoming a solicitor at SNS Solicitors. Although life as a paralegal apprentice requires dedication and commitment, it is incredibly rewarding. Upon completion of the paralegal apprenticeship, I hope to progress and begin the Solicitor apprenticeship to continue my career in law.

Danielle Ball

Paralegal apprentice

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