This is the Michelmores profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Michelmores profile.
West-country based outfit Michelmores is a fresh entrant into the solicitor apprenticeship market. With offices spanning Bristol, Cheltenham, London, and Exeter, recruits can expect plenty of inter-office travel, whilst enjoying interesting work across the firm’s main practice areas: private wealth, finance & investment, and real estate. Spots are on offer at the firm’s “very friendly” Bristol or Exeter offices.
Speaking on why the apprenticeship was up her street, one Michelmores recruit says, “it encourages you to be independent and prove yourself in the workplace. You can take the theory from your studies, and put it into practice in real-time”. Through picking up some legal work experience during school, she tells us, “I found it really exciting to be a part of a workplace, so I knew that the apprenticeship route would suit me down to the ground”. Michelmores was the standout firm for this insider because “it’s not too small, it’s not too big, and it’s growing. So, it’s a great firm to be able to grow alongside”.
The Michelmores apprenticeship takes place over seven-years and is structured around an initial two years as a paralegal apprentice. During this time, recruits will begin their journey apprenticing in a business services team for six months, so that they can “gain a behind-the-scenes insight into how the firm really works”. Apprentices will be placed in one of the firm’s eight business services teams which include human resources (HR), marketing and business development and IT. It’s apparent that apprentices find this experience invaluable, according to those we spoke to.
“Being fresh out of school, it’s great to spend the first six months in a business services team (BST) because you get a real grasp on how a law firm truly operates – you experience the firm’s culture and learn how to operate the firm’s IT and other basic office skills before you even begin your legal seats.” One apprentice currently sitting in human resources (a better-known BST), speaks on her day-to-day at the firm. “I deal with everything to do with people, and each day is incredibly varied. I organise uni careers fairs, help to create connections with universities and deal with onboarding new starters at the firm”.
After their initial stint in the engine room, recruits will undertake their first legal seat for the remainder of the year, before beginning yearly seat rotations around the firm’s practice areas. Whilst still working towards the remainder of their paralegal apprenticeship, newbies can expect a mix of legal assistant and paralegal work, keeping rookies on their toes.
One Michelmores apprentice at this stage of the programme details her day-to-day: “I have five designated lawyers who I provide assistance to in my team. This involves setting up new client matters, drafting documents and diary management and scheduling. One thing I love about being in this seat is that the work is so varied, and I’m never doing the same thing for more than a few hours!”
Hitting years three, four, and five of the programme, ambitious apprentices can expect to get their fill of responsibilities whilst studying towards their LLB with the University of Law. Michelmores insiders reveal that these seats will “look more like trainee seats in each practice area”, allowing recruits to build expertise within the firm before studying towards the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE) in years six and seven. These final two years of the seven-year programme will see budding solicitors move over to the firm’s training contract rotation, involving four six-monthly seat rotations.
Beyond the day-to-day, Michelmores offers plenty of opportunities for young recruits to get involved in hobbies and social events. Boasting “a running club, a cycling club and a book club”, there’s “loads of societies for people to get involved with”. One insider, who is particularly enjoying the social aspect of the apprenticeship says, “Michelmores is a very social firm. We have firm socials every month and there’s always events going on with free dinners and lunches! It really feels like you’re not just working with these people, but you’re getting to know them as friends too.” And, according to our interviewees this sentiment is reflected in the values and the culture at the firm; “my favourite thing is how lovely everyone is: it’s a very people-y firm.”
Michelmores has a one office policy, meaning recruits can freely book office space at any of the firm’s other UK locations. This is ideal if recruits fancy a change of scenery or want to get to know the more far-flung members of their teams.
On the educational side of the programme, newbies can expect a month of working full-time at Michelmores before beginning their one-day a week studies towards their paralegal apprenticeship. “The way it’s structured is really great and we have a lot of support from ULaw,” one interviewee reveals. “I have managed to keep my studying within the one study day”, she tells us, “and my supervisor is supportive and encouraging if I need extra capacity for my studies.” Luckily for fresh recruits, the paralegal apprenticeship with ULaw provides a module on client care which allows apprentices get to grips with some practical skills, such as client communication and drafting before moving on to legal theory. One apprentice remarks that, “I’ve found this really useful in my day-to-day work because it teaches practical legal skills to begin with, which will be useful throughout my career.”
This is Michelmores’ Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Michelmores’ full Legal Cheek profile here.