This is the Osborne Clarke profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Osborne Clarke profile.
A recent relocation of Osborne Clarke’s (OC’s) Bristol HQ to a bespoke eco-hub dubbed the ‘Halo’ has earned the outfit praise for being an environmentally conscious firm — a big attraction for green-minded apprentices. Adventurous hopefuls can also get excited about the outfit’s recent global expansion, Miami being the latest addition, and the firm now boasting a headcount of over 2,000 lawyers across 26 international locations. And with specialisms in IT, real estate, banking and finance, environment, and corporate/M&A, apprentices based in its Bristol and London offices can expect high-quality and varied training.
One rookie tells us that her mind was made up after attending OC’s open day. “Everyone was so welcoming and friendly during it,” she says. Being able to “grill” the firm’s existing apprentices, helped her to realise that “the scheme wasn’t actually too good to be true!” Clearly, the apprenticeship has lived up to the hype with this insider admitting that “accepting the offer was the best thing [she’s] ever done”.
But what makes the apprenticeship at OC shine so bright? Undeniably, starting in an international law firm as an 18-year-old is “such a scary experience, especially when you’re not used to being in a corporate environment”. But for this fresh faced recruit, she “instantly felt at home, everyone was so warm, so welcoming and so understanding”. As the years have gone on, “the firm have become so passionate about the apprenticeship route” and in terms of support, “you couldn’t really ask for more.” Even though it “sounds really cringey”, insiders at the firm laud the notoriously friendly culture. “OC has a genuinely very warm and inclusive environment because there’s no real hierarchy down to the approachability of the partners to the layout of the office,” one interviewee enthuses.
Structurally, hopefuls can look forward to a whopping eight seat rotations over the six-year programme. For the first four years apprentices rotate annually around the firm’s practice areas before starting the OC training contract rotation which sees apprentices undertake a further four six-month seats. “It makes life a bit easier because you have more opportunity to figure out which practice area you want to ultimately qualify in,” one OC apprentice tells us.
For one veteran in her fifth year of the programme, when asked about her favourite seat so far, she admits that the commercial team has her heart. “I really enjoy drafting contracts, negotiating them and advising our clients on them,” even though “this probably sounds really nerdy!”. Currently sitting in construction disputes, she gives us the inside scoop on her day to day: “I’m doing case law research, reviewing correspondence, drafting instructions and letters and attending court – so very different from my seats so far. But this is the beauty of having so many seat rotations,” she says. “The type of work you’re doing in each seat is very dependent and changeable.” As a newbie, she reveals that the work “looked a lot more like paralegal level work” because my team were “very cautious of not overwhelming me”. It’s an undeniable benefit not being thrown in at the deep end to begin with, she tells us, and she “felt like it was a really comfortable space to ask loads of questions”.
From wellbeing rooms to a roof terrace coming off the firm’s canteen, a yoga studio and loads of green spaces, the firm’s Bristol HQ is a fan favourite amongst recruits. But it’s not just the gorgeous office spaces that apprentices can look forward to. According to firm insiders, apprentices have increasing opportunities to go on secondments to the firm’s “big clients”. This is in addition to the firm’s standard client secondment offering as part of the training contract seat rotation. “We also have a brand new internal ‘solutions’ secondment at the firm, where apprentices can sit in OC’s legal tech team”.
On the studying side, one apprentice admits that, “I’m not going to lie, trying to keep my uni work within one day, can be a bit of a struggle”. But, giving us the classic line, this apprentice emphasises that the “key is being disciplined and utilising your study day to its fullest”. For every exam, apprentices also get an extra study day at the firm. Nevertheless, “you get a lot more comfortable over the years knowing that you’re going to have to sacrifice some of your own time, especially around exam season,” one insider reveals.
For new apprentices it’s clear that, whilst you will work hard, you’ll play just as hard. Insiders tell us that apprentice cohorts will do three or four socials a year together, on top of junior socials for recruits of all stages up to associate level. Teams also have their own get-togethers, as well as a team Christmas party, a firm-wide Christmas party and a summer bash too! Uni FOMO who?
This is Osborne Clarke’s Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Osborne Clarke’s full Legal Cheek profile here.