Express Solicitors — solicitor apprenticeship

The Legal Cheek View

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

Manchester-based Express Solicitors is a specialist in all things personal injury. Whatever kind of PI work takes your fancy, you’ll find it here. With a headcount of over 600, and the firm’s caseload sitting at more than 24,000, rookies can expect to join an expanding and busy practice. Apprenticeships are available in Manchester, with recruits working on the firm’s four key areas: medical negligence, road traffic accidents, accidents at work, and public liability.

Having joined the outfit as its first apprentice eight years ago, one now-solicitor tells us why she chose to take the non-traditional path. “When I was in college, I wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted to get involved with, and I hadn’t considered law as an option for me,” she says. “Most of my friends went to uni, but the idea of leaving home, committing to a degree, student debt, and full-time studying really just wasn’t for me – I was worried about choosing an option that I wouldn’t enjoy and being stuck with it.”

Having discovered the apprenticeship route, our insider didn’t look any further than Express. “I’ve always been a people person and knew that I wanted to go into something personal injury related,” they tell us. “The whole process was actually very whirlwind, and really my decision was made by the fact that Express is dedicated to personal injury and was on a trajectory of growth.” Was it the right decision? Our interviewee certainly thinks so. “I can see a very long career here and have no plans to go anywhere else; I absolutely love it!”

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As for the programme itself, recruits can expect a gentle progression through the ranks. Year one is spent in the new client team, giving rookies a sense that they “know the job and the process inside out”. “This stage grounds you and gives you a degree of respect and appreciation for everyone who works in the firm that isn’t a fee earner,” one rookie reports. Progressing from this, newbies spend years two and three assisting a case handler, before moving on to tackle their own cases in the final three years.

During this time, rookies will be working their way through an LLB and the SQE. There are a “wide range of prep materials and lessons”, we’re told, including “face-to-face teaching and support”. “It works very well for me,” one rookie spills, “with the ebb and flow of work meaning that whilst you might be busy at times and struggle to manage your work and study time, there will always be fluctuations to allow you to catch up wherever you’ve been lacking in time.” “Don’t get me wrong,” a former apprentice says, “it’s intense, but manageable.”

As one recruit puts it, “however you want to qualify as a solicitor, be that through an apprenticeship or the classic university route, you need to be organised, academic, and switched on, and so in that sense, the apprenticeship route doesn’t necessarily place a greater demand on you, although it’s certainly not a walk in the park. It’s not impossible, but it’s far from easy.”

Added into the regular schedule of an Express Solicitors rookie is a host of additional opportunities. The firm put on regular training sessions, we’re told, as well as supporting recruits in attending external training. One newbie tells us that barristers, academics, and other solicitors regularly come into the firm to deliver specialist workshops. On top of that, the firm supports their staff in networking with other professionals, legal and medical, along with client companies and agencies.

After shutting shop for the day, rookies get the chance to dive into their busy social lives. “We have a young staff, particularly in the services and new clients team,” one insider tells us, “which means there are so many people of a similar age for you to get to know.” As social rep for her department, she continues: “I don’t miss out on the uni lifestyle at all, the socialising is different and in some ways more constrained by the fact that you’re at work every day, but on the flip side, I actually have the money to spend in my spare time, rather than having student debt.”

The social life doesn’t stop at the office door either. “We have a group chat with other apprentices on the BPP University Law School courses in Manchester and Liverpool which adds another layer of support and social opportunities. It’s always really busy in the build-up to exams and coursework deadlines!” What’s more, this rookie says, “I’ve developed a large number of contacts on LinkedIn through my role, and finding others who are in similar positions”.

For this apprentice, the firm certainly ticked all of the boxes. “There are so many pull factors that prospective apprentices should consider. We have a great social life, supportive environment from supervisors and management, a personal and friendly environment, and are rapidly growing.” Overall, she continues, Express Solicitors is just “an ace firm”, where “you’ll be looked after, nurtured, and helped to be the best lawyer you can.”

For budding solicitor hopefuls, our interviewee has some tips. “If you don’t know what to do, get some experience, figure out what the work is like and roughly what you’d like to do, and then go from there.” And, if you think that apprenticeships may be for you, this former apprentice can’t praise them enough. “I would vouch for apprenticeships until I’m blue in the face! You’re earning while you’re learning, you have the support of colleagues and peers, and you’re gaining invaluable experience – what more could you want!”

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


First year salary £15,171
Second year salary £15,171
Third year salary £22,000
Fourth year salary £22,000
Fifth year salary £23,000
Sixth year salary £24,000

General Info

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

GCSE requirement include English and Maths.

Apprenticeships are offered in Manchester.