This is the Addleshaw Goddard profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Addleshaw Goddard profile.
Addleshaw Goddard (AG) is a firm with plentiful prospects for solicitor apprentices. Not only does the corporate and commercial outfit boast 16 offices across three continents, it also has a strong foothold nationally across the UK. Aside from its London HQ, the firm has anchored its presence in the north, with offices spanning Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Big name clients such as Volkswagen, Harrods, and Santander flock to the firm’s numerous practice areas, from corporate and M&A, to employment, intellectual property and beyond. New recruits will be based in either the Sovereign Square Leeds office, or at the firm’s swanky Manchester digs in St Peter’s Square.
“I knew that I wanted to be a solicitor from a young age, so for me, the apprenticeship route was a bit of a no-brainer,” chimes one rookie at the firm. “You don’t come out with any student debt, and you gain practical legal skills whilst studying the academics simultaneously. For me, I always learn better in practice – so I felt that I wanted to jump in and prove myself in the workplace.” After completing a paralegal apprenticeship at another firm, AG was the “clear winner” for finishing off the solicitor apprenticeship for this recruit.
“It’s all about the people – they really care here. This is something I really noticed about [AG], even from a distance”, another rookie says. “For example, the opportunities for progression and the training at the firm are incredible, and it makes the firm a really exciting one to build a career with.”
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, apprentices spend the first four years of their six-year stint circulating yearly around the Transaction Services Team (TST), assisting with “routine legal tasks”. In less jargon-y words, this team focuses on legal support work, taking tasks from a huge array of teams which work on transactions. Apprentices can gain first-hand experience of transactional work across many of the firm’s practice areas which use TST support, including finance & projects, real estate, corporate & commercial, disputes/litigation, and innovation & legal technology.
“Even in one rotation, you can find that there’s subgroups in your practice area which you can support – so within each legal seat you can gain experience of other areas of the law”, one insider reveals. Recruits will then progress onto the “training contract” years, comprising four six-monthly seat rotations around the firm’s numerous practice areas.
“Overall”, the rookie says “the apprenticeship is so varied. You’re able to experience eight different practice areas, which is an amazing opportunity to discover which types of legal practice are really suited to you as an individual”. The workload at AG reflects this sentiment. One rookie working in infrastructure projects & energy tells us that, “[this practice area] is so niche, and every day is so different. It’s very rare that my day-to-day tasks are the same”. Even though it can be a little “daunting” as a newbie, “that’s why it’s such a good experience to have from a young age — being constantly challenged makes for interesting work and forges really strong legal professionals”, notes one recruit.
Sitting “somewhere between” the responsibilities of a paralegal and those of a trainee solicitor, apprentices in years three and four will begin taking on more challenging work, albeit “with additional support and supervision”.
On the educational side, one insider gives a relatable warning to “use your study day wisely.” Apprentices will undertake a one-day per week study regime over the course of the six years, working initially towards an LLB with BPP University Law School before progressing onto prep for the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE). It’s “much easier to balance if you’re disciplined”, although you can expect “a certain amount of weekend studying” when a module is a bit more challenging.
Outside of the daily law hustle, there seems to be a great deal happening for young socialites. “There’s a lot of young people in the firm”, we’re told, so “there’s loads of socials going on all the time”. Team drinks also seem very regular, with the groups going for an outing every couple of weeks. “It’s great to get out of the office and get to know everyone in your team on a personal level”, an AG spy explains. “There’s always something on, and it’s great for meeting new people at the firm, as well as networking with professionals across the city.”
In the final two years, adventurous apprentices may get the opportunity to jet off to one of the firm’s international offices in Dubai, Oman, Singapore or Paris. There are even whispers that some lucky recruits get this opportunity even earlier (depending on business need), with “some paralegal apprentices [having] just returned from Qatar!”
Speaking on the biggest attractions of the AG apprenticeship, one newbie begins, “I couldn’t really believe how friendly everyone is. The partners in the team are so approachable and I’m always spending time with other apprentices – so there is such a warm culture here.” Secondly, she emphasises the experience AG has with the apprenticeship route — “the firm has taken on apprentices for ten years, it’s very well established and they understand the support that you need.” What more could you ask for?
On her advice for those starting out: “Believe in yourself – if you know you want to do this, you will get there one way or another.”
This is Addleshaw Goddard’s Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Addleshaw Goddard’s full Legal Cheek profile here.