Name: James Knott
Firm: TLT Solicitors
Position: Legal Apprentice, Office Assistant
Practice Area: Financial Services
Did you ever consider doing the traditional route into law? If yes, why?
My ambition was always to do the traditional route into law throughout secondary school and college; however, when the tuition fees for university increased to £9,000 per year it wasn’t a viable and reasonable option for me, and when I got the opportunity to carry out an apprenticeship in law it was an obvious choice.
Why did you decide to do a legal apprenticeship instead of the traditional route? (i.e.finance/job security/head-start)
I always found the law to be an interesting subject throughout my education and it never occurred to me to participate in an apprenticeship; however, when I saw an exciting opportunity to get into a law firm via a legal apprenticeship rather than by going through university it was ideal.
At what stage of education/training did you find out about the apprenticeship opportunity and what was the application criteria?
I first heard about apprenticeships when I chose my options for college and an apprenticeship was one of the routes I could go down. I believed that apprenticeships were all vocational until I discovered legal apprenticeships in college. The qualifications can vary for different apprenticeships, I needed A levels to carry out this course; however, more advanced apprenticeships in law can require additional qualifications.
What do you think the advantages of the apprenticeship route into law are?The main advantage in my view is the valuable work experience I am receiving at my workplace and the knowledge of processes and systems.What do you think the disadvantages of the apprenticeship route into law are?
Legal apprenticeships haven’t yet secured the same professional recognition as a traditional degree in law; however, I believe this is going to change as they are still a new and innovative idea. As the legal sector becomes more accessible to those entering from non-traditional routes I hope we’ll see more legally qualified apprentices within law firms.
How do you feel your work and status compares to the trainees at TLT?
TLT has made it very easy for me to come into the role as an apprentice. I don’t feel I’m treated any differently to a trainee.
Do you feel there is more/less/the same opportunity for career progression within the firm for an apprentices as a trainee?
TLT offers excellent career development and everyone has equal opportunity to progress.
What has the reaction been to having apprentices in the law firm from trainees/associates/partners/clients in your view?
I have received a very positive reaction within the firm – apprenticeships are new to TLT and me! I have been given the full support required to excel in my studies.
If you had to give advice to someone doing their A levels about which route to take into law, what would you say?
Consider all routes carefully and see what options are open to you, I personally believe I have made a brilliant choice by participating in this apprenticeship as I can envisage the course being part of the future. On the other hand, apprentice have to be dedicated because as well as having a full time job there is also coursework, the majority of which has to be completed in your own time.