Gateley — solicitor apprenticeship

The Legal Cheek View

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

Setting a tone for innovation through floating on the stock market in 2015, Gateley is an attractive option for solicitor hopefuls. Covering a number of practice areas including corporate, M&A, real estate, banking and finance, commercial litigation and employment, apprentices can expect to get stuck into many different fields of law. The outfit boasts a strong national presence, with 23 offices across the UK. An additional outpost in Dubai adds an international flavour to Gateley, dubbed a ‘professional services group’ rather than traditional law firm.

For one Gateley apprentice, her interest in the world of law emerged after being called up to do jury service. “Law was something I was always interested in,” she tells us, “and it was fascinating being surrounded by legal professionals in a courtroom during jury service, so I decided that I wanted to pursue a legal career.” Finding out about the apprenticeship route from a judicial clerk, this apprentice decided to take the plunge. She reveals that learning through practice is “much more [her] style,” so the apprenticeship route was a bit of a “no-brainer.”

Structurally, apprentices at the firm begin their journey on a paralegal apprenticeship for the first two years before embarking on the solicitor apprenticeship programme for the remaining four. Fresh recruits spend the first four years of the programme within one practice area. Insiders laud the structure at Gateley, finding it “really beneficial” to nest in your first practice area, giving the opportunity to “get to know the firm” and “get to grips with your practice area whilst working your way up within your team”. For the final two years, apprentices join their graduate counterparts on the firm’s training contract rotation, comprising four six-monthly seats around the firm’s varied practice areas.

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Sitting in residential property, one fifth-year hotshot reveals her favourite parts of being a “resi” apprentice. “With residential property, you quickly learn what a transaction looks like start to finish, giving you a great foundation to become a strong transactional lawyer,” she says. Being a part of this team during the Covid-era of land-related tax breaks and incentives (encouraging lots of activity, sale, and purchase) was “wild”. With her team experiencing “crazy” amounts of work during this time, she was able to forge “really strong bonds” within her team and become a master at “high-stakes problem solving,” she tells us.

Whilst in their first year, rookies may find themselves doing more admin-style jobs, which one insider says provides an important foundation from which to build. “The skills I learnt at first were invaluable,” she says, “because it allowed me to get to grips with the systems and build a strong skillset in the legal basics.”

But responsibilities at the firm quickly ramp up. One spy tells us that she was managing her own file matters inside of the first two years, acting as the “direct contact for my own clients”, with an increasing file load. It’s clear that ambitious apprentices can get stuck-in at Gateley, with “more responsibility always there for apprentices who ask for it”.

On the education front, hopefuls can expect to take one uni day a week to study towards their paralegal qualification, their law degree and, eventually, the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). Even though it’s “challenging” trying to find a balance on the apprenticeship between working and studying, solid time management can help with this. Around exams and mocks, insiders tell us that the one study day is “not really enough” and “new apprentices should expect to spend some of their evenings and weekends on uni work”. Although, overall, the workload is “manageable”, with one interviewee passing all of her exams so far with flying colours.

But it’s not all work at this outfit, we hear that recruits will also join “a big social firm.” “There’s something on every week to go to if you want to get involved,” we’re told. Whether that be going shuffle boarding with your team, hanging out playing ping pong on the ‘social floor’ of the office or attending the annual themed cocktail night. Apprentices at the firm are also clearly quite close-knit. One of the firm’s seasoned apprentices reveals that, “there’s a big group of us in the Leeds office who go to spin classes together, go on walks at lunch, and sometimes go for drinks after work too”. She tells us that there’s “loads of different committees at the firm”, from Pride, the firm’s LGBTQ+ committee, to Thrive, the firm’s mental health committee group. So, newbies need not fear missing out on a student social life, nor getting involved in the firm’s important community initiatives.

But what makes Gateley really stand out from the crowd? One insider raves about the firm’s culture – “that’s one of the best things about Gateley – the people within it”. She says, “I’ve always had an amazing relationship with my supervisor and the culture is very open, supportive and collaborative”. But, further, the challenging work is lauded as an incredible training ground. “To have the opportunity to manage your own case load within the first couple of years is a huge attraction about Gateley,” this recruit tells us. “You’re given a lot of trust and you’re able to challenge yourself within a very supportive environment.”

On her advice for hopefuls, one insider says simply: “Be yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality. Show up for yourself and prove what you can to bring to the company.”

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


First year salary Undisclosed
Second year salary Undisclosed
Third year salary Undisclosed
Fourth year salary Undisclosed
Fifth year salary Undisclosed
Sixth year salary Undisclosed

General Info

Solicitor apprenticeships each year 10
Locations where apprenticeships offered 4
Minimum GCSE requirement Five 4s
Minimum A-level requirement None

GCSE requirements include english and maths.

Up to 10 apprenticeships are offered in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and London.