This is the Pinsent Masons profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Pinsent Masons profile.
Corporate, global and with an impressive UK presence, Pinsent Masons (PM) is an instantly recognisable name in legal circles. Boasting a huge national network with over 1,000 lawyers across its seven UK offices, recruits based outside of the City of London need not fear missing out on the firm’s “juicy” work given that PM gives equal status to all of its UK offices. But beyond the firm’s national landscape, lucky apprentices can also expect an international flavour with this commercial outfit thanks to a further 19 offices across the globe. Focusing its efforts on core sectors, PM rookies can expect to pick up work across financial services, infrastructure, real estate, energy, and technology, science & industry. Five lucky recruits will be hired for 2024 at the firm’s London, Manchester and Birmingham offices.
“When I was in college, the main conversation was around the traditional route into law”, one of Pinsent Masons’ solicitor apprentices tells Legal Cheek. “Once I’d heard about the apprenticeship route”, she says, “I realised the many benefits of going down the apprenticeship path”. One example, she tells us, is the “ability to gain a huge level of practical experience at such a young age” which she says was a “big attraction” for her. Not being “too bothered” about moving away from home, or getting the “uni experience”, the decision to do an apprenticeship seemed fairly clear-cut for this PM rookie.
Pointing to Pinsent Masons’ strong reputation across various practice areas, the apprentice tells us she knew from an early stage it was the law firm for her. “If you’re at a firm that’s a demonstrable leader in many of its practice areas like PM, you’re inevitably going to be a part of that growth and become a better solicitor for it”, she enthuses. Being able to be part of “high profile” transactions of “high worth” was “really exciting” to this apprentice, and one of the reasons that she chose PM as her apprenticeship home.
Drilling down into the detail of the PM apprenticeship offering, recruits will move through six seat rotations over the course of the six-year programme. The first four years will involve two seat rotations of two years each, allowing rookies to become highly experienced in each of their designated practice areas. It’s clear that the firm’s apprentices praise the length of their initial seats, telling us that “it’s really beneficial to spend a longer stint in your first practice area because you’re learning so much constantly on the apprenticeship.” She says, “it allowed me to familiarise myself with my practice areas to a very high degree before approaching the move to a new seat”. In the final two years, seasoned apprentices will move onto the PM training contract, involving four six-monthly seat rotations around the firm’s various practice groups.
Even though it can be “scary” walking into an international law firm as a young recruit, our insider lauds the support on offer. “I could talk about the culture at [PM] for days!” she enthuses. With “a supervisor, who is a lawyer within your team as well as a buddy”, apprentices will have a “strong” support network around them from the get-go. “It’s such a nice vibe at the firm,” we’re told, and “you never feel alone, or overwhelmed.” There’s also apparently “loads of initiatives that you can get involved in, and there’s a huge focus here on the people.” Examples include PM putting forward teams for the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, as well as the Manchester half marathon to raise money for the firm’s chosen charities. Trainees and apprentices can also get involved in the firm’s fundraising initiatives for local schools and charities, we’re told.
Citing a high-profile deal she worked on with a big UK football club as one her favourite transactions, this fifth-year PM apprentice enthuses about working with the firm’s big-name clients. Sitting in projects, it’s no surprise that she “loves her current seat.” There’s a lot involved, she tells us, but it “compliments my degree learning really well, because there’s elements of contract law and tort law that are imperative to the transactions.” Although starting off relatively admin focused, which is “necessary given your limited initial experience”, rookies at PM are quickly entrusted with more responsibility. In years three and four this insider found she was given “a lot more trust” to deliver tasks independently, and to take the lead on producing documents within her team. Now in her fifth year, this apprentice-trainee remarks that her tasks “sometimes exceed the responsibilities of a trainee, even!”
And when it comes to the educational part of the apprenticeship, we ask this apprentice for the inside scoop. How challenging is it in reality to study a law degree in one day a week? Our interviewee reassures us that it’s “very manageable”. The workload “of course progresses over time,” she says. Newbies should be aware that “over exam periods you will need a few evenings extra and on occasion you’ll need to use your weekends,” but this “depends very much on the individual and their ambitions”, we’re told. On the whole, PM are apparently “very flexible” and “understanding” when it comes to education and the time demands which studying places on their apprentice recruits.
But it’s not all work and no play at this global outfit. According to our PM insider, there’s “loads” of team social events for rookies to get involved in at the firm. From her personal experience she rattles off a list of Firm activities that she’s been involved in recently, varying from “axe-throwing and darts”, “lunches, evening meals and drinks” to the outfit’s annual “office bingo, summer parties and black-tie Christmas party”. She reveals that “there’s so many things to get involved in [at PM] that you can actually find yourself turning things down because there’s too much!” So, no uni FOMO for PM apprentices then.
On what makes the PM offering shine, this insider puts emphasis on “the opportunity to get on the inside of the firm’s high-profile matters, and work with the Firm’s impressive clientele”. Amongst the biggest pull-factors of the PM apprenticeship for this insider, the “culture and the people are an undeniably huge attraction” of the firm. Her advice for hopefuls beginning their apprenticeship journey is to “be a self-motivator” and before any applications to (of course) “do your research!” Pinsent Masons solicitor apprenticeships are offered in London, Manchester and Birmingham.
This is Pinsent Masons’ Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Pinsent Masons’ full Legal Cheek profile here.