Bristows — solicitor apprenticeship

The Legal Cheek View

This is the Bristows profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Bristows profile.

A law firm for science buffs? Bristows packs a punch for those hopefuls interested in a legal career in the tech and science spaces. For apprentices, the firm is new to the game having recruited their first apprentice cohort in 2023. A powerhouse of intellectual property, tech and life sciences, the firm is a perfect fit for hopefuls wanting to delve into the nerdy side of the law. Even though it’s not set to recruit a new apprentice cohort until 2025, this firm is one to watch out for if you’re a techy or science-oriented school leaver.

For one lucky Bristows recruit, the apprenticeship route provided a balance to studying that the traditional route doesn’t afford. Not being “too keen” on the idea of “full-time study”, this apprentice was attracted by the one-day per week study pattern, which also allows aspiring solicitors to gain practical legal experience. The rookie we spoke to was caught in the gravitational pull of Bristows’ apprenticeship scheme because of its niche practice areas. “I was really attracted to the life-sciences focus at Bristows,” she tells Legal Cheek. And it’s clear to see why. Having taken science-y subjects at A Level, this rookie felt that the interesting work on offer “really aligned with [her] interests”.

A stellar opportunity for adventurous hopefuls looking to experience loads of different areas of law, the Bristows apprenticeship offers recruits up to 10 — (10!) — different seat rotations over the course of the six-year programme. Although its apprenticeship scheme is relatively new, and still susceptible to a little tweaking here and there – it’s clear that the Bristows’ offering is an attractive one.

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Newbies spend their first four years rotating around the firm’s practice areas annually. In this time, recruits can explore the firm’s engine room through internal secondment opportunities to business support in their second year. Rookies are also rumoured to be offered the opportunity to join ranks with one of the firm’s big-name clients on a secondment in years three and four, subject to availability. The final two years see apprentices join their graduate counterparts on the firm’s training contract. In contrast to a “typical” TC structure, however, the firm offers a mixture of three-month and six-month seats, which sees trainees generally undertake five to six seat rotations over the two years. “I think that’s one of the amazing things about the apprenticeship here,” one Bristows spy reveals. “I’ll be able to experience most of the firm’s departments by the time I come to qualify.”

Sitting in corporate, tax and employment, our Bristows rookie lauds the variety of different legal tasks that she can get involved with. Typical work for this insider consists of “legal research and drafting”, and she praises the opportunity to take on work from the different divisions, giving her “a real insight into each area of law, and how they interrelate”. With work responsibilities currently “sitting somewhere between legal admin and trainee-level work”, the current cohort of Bristows apprentices can certainly expect increasingly challenging work as they get to grips with their practice area.

Nevertheless, it’s certainly not a ‘fend for yourself’ situation at this science-y outfit, with helpful support for apprentice rookies never far out of reach. “The support at Bristows is amazing”, one spy reveals, assuring us that whenever she’s given a new or challenging task, her supervisors never fail to “have a catch up with [her] afterwards, to give feedback and go through any errors that have been made”. This type of support, in ensuring that rookies are consistently learning and developing, “really stood out at Bristows” for this interviewee. Having “three associate supervisors and one partner supervisor” to lean on means for this rookie “even if I’m stuck on something there’s always someone to go to”.

But it’s not all work and no play for Bristows apprentices. When they’re not having lunches at London’s iconic Borough Market, apprentices are jumping on trainee socials or monthly team drinks. Although the current cohort consists of just two apprentices, Bristows hopefuls will be happy to hear that recruits are “well integrated with the graduate trainee intake and go to loads of socials and networking events with the trainees”. The firm boasts a number of clubs and societies that apprentices can also get involved in, including a netball club with weekly Tuesday night matches, a firm football team, as well as a book club for self-professed Bristows book worms.

One keen interviewee just two months into her apprenticeship tells us, “I’ve already been to so many socials, from a board game night to axe throwing and darts”. She goes on to stress the undeniable financial benefit of socialising as a salaried apprentice: “If I want to go out, I don’t have to stress about how I’m going to afford it!” she says. “I have the financial freedom to visit my uni friends and get a taste of the uni life that way if I want to.”

When it comes to studying, rookies can expect the usual one ‘uni day’ per week, and working full-time for the other four. How challenging is studying a degree part-time whilst working? “It’s not too demanding so far”, our Bristows insider tells us. “My study day does tend to be enough, and I’ve not found myself doing uni work on my weekends yet”, she says. When it’s closer to exams, “the firm is flexible” in terms of allowing apprentices to take “an extra study day here and there” to help with the added academic pressure.

So what makes the Bristows apprenticeship really stand out? “It’s the company culture. Coming to Bristows, you quickly realise how approachable and supportive the people at the firm are,” we’re told. Secondly, for this insider, the science-y and technical practice areas are a big attraction. “It’s a great firm for those who have a passion for the sciences as well as the law.” On her advice for those considering applying for an apprenticeship role, she says: “Having an interest in science will get you far, and be confident. For Bristows, don’t be afraid to bring your full personality to the application process.”

This is Bristows’ Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Bristows’ full Legal Cheek profile here.


First year salary £23,950
Second year salary Undisclosed
Third year salary Undisclosed
Fourth year salary Undisclosed
Fifth year salary £46,000
Sixth year salary £50,000

Apprentices who are relocating to London will receive a £2,000 relocation payment which is non-repayable.

All apprentices will receive a £500 payment to help with starting costs.

General Info

Solicitor apprenticeships each year 1
Locations where apprenticeships offered 1
Minimum GCSE requirement Five 4s
Minimum A-level requirement CCC

GCSE requirements include English and Maths.

Bristows recruits two apprentices every two years. The next cohort will be recruited in 2024 to begin apprenticeships at the Firm in 2025.

Apprenticeships are offered in London.

The Firm In Its Own Words