This is the Norton Rose Fulbright profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Norton Rose Fulbright profile.
As one of the largest law firms in the world, Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) doesn’t disappoint on the opportunities, variety of work, and level of responsibility that budding apprentices can expect. The firm boasts nearly 60 offices worldwide and a broad range of practice areas including corporate, M&A and securities, banking and finance, FinTech, litigation and disputes, insurance, real estate, antitrust and competition, and intellectual property. Would-be apprentices can look forward to gaining experience in a variety of these practice areas at NRF’s impressive London office on the banks of the river Thames.
One second-year apprentice tells us how she initially overlooked the TC alternative . “I didn’t set out to do a solicitor apprenticeship,” she says. “Not because I didn’t think it was a good option — I didn’t really know it was one!”. Another recruit tells us how, “during the pandemic, I became disillusioned with the idea of going to university. Coming from an Islamic background and, given that university culture is very much geared towards drinking, it didn’t really align with my personal values”.
While traditional “university life” was still very much an option, our insiders tell us they eventually opted for the apprentice route after finding out more about what it actually entailed. “The real deciding factor for me was the training element at the firm,” our rookie explains. “At the interview I felt pushed to develop my potential and to think more commercially – this was something I really valued.” Another tells us she became “immediately attracted to the interesting work” and “levels of responsibility” up for grabs after meeting with lawyers and staff at the firm.
Structurally, the first six-months of the apprenticeship are spent within NRF’s busy business development team, getting to grips with how a law firm operates. Rookies will then move to their main legal seat, building their skillset and specialism in this practice area for the duration of their six-year stint. This can be broken up with optional seats available to NRF apprentices in pro bono and with the firm’s general counsel – NRF’s internal legal team.
Speaking of their working day, our sources tell us they are given a similar level of responsibility as a trainee in many seats, with the focus being on real legal work rather than administrative tasks – even from year one. And although this can be daunting at times, recruits are trained to a high standard – building knowledge and expertise in their practice area over their six-year journey to qualification. The hours stretch beyond your typical 9-5 as you gain more experience and responsibility, our insider tells – but that’s to expected when you’re working for City law firm!
And when it comes to networking and charitable initiatives, willing apprentices can be expected to be “thrown in the deep end with a life jacket”. “I was in Paris last week meeting a client,” one apprentice mentions, “and I managed to go to Cambodia with our Save the Children initiative”. So, there are plenty of exciting opportunities for recruits who are willing to get involved!
On the studying side, NRF’s solicitor apprentices follow the typical pattern of work and study, with one day a week dedicated as a “university day”. Recruits are enrolled into the LLB programme with BPP University Law School before moving on to the Solicitor Qualifying Exam (SQE) path later in their apprenticeship.
Studying for a law degree part-time comes with its challenges. “It’s fair to say it’s not an easy task by any means,” one apprentice admits. The lack of regular feedback means that it can be tricky to know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Nevertheless, one recruit tells us that she finds solace in the comfort of her network: “luckily, I have the advice and support from the other apprentices at the firm,” she says. Studying this way also comes with the added benefit that you can apply what you have learnt to your work in real-time. And it appears that the collegiate environment at NRF creates a supportive environment to learn-on-the-job: “your team is your teacher,” she adds.
This is Norton Rose Fulbright’s Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Norton Rose Fulbright’s full Legal Cheek profile here.