TLT — solicitor apprenticeship

The Legal Cheek View

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

Bristol born TLT has grown from one office to eight over the last two decades, and now boasts outposts across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Greece, and England, including London. Of these, Bristol, Manchester, and London recruit apprentices. New recruits will have the chance to tackle a plethora of the firm’s practices across its seven sectors, which are financial services, future energy; digital; government and public services; leisure, food and drink; retail; and real estate. Whatever your legal cup of tea, you can probably find it at TLT.

Having initially joined the outfit as a paralegal, one apprentice tells us why he chose to pursue the solicitor apprenticeship route. “Having not been to university and not wanting to study full-time, completing the apprenticeship was the main route to qualification for me”, he says. “I felt, and still feel, that completing one set day a week is more a streamlined and orchestrated way of becoming qualified, rather than completing each step of the process independently.” Combining that with the benefit of learning on the job and applying new knowledge directly in practice, this rookie was sold from day one. It also helps, he says, that all your education is funded, and you take home a comfortable salary on top.

As for why TLT, the key for this rookie was the firm’s support of personal development and talent progression. “From being a paralegal, they were very keen for me to progress further, and supported me in doing that by encouraging me to take on the apprenticeship and qualify at the firm”, he explains. This is something reflected by the firm’s policy of “weekly catch ups with apprenticeship management”, allowing newbies to offer feedback and ask questions.

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Once on the programme, the firm’s backing kept flowing for this insider. “The firm is very flexible”, they say, “when it comes to your studying and the educational needs that you might have”. For recruits here, studying can be done remotely, with the firm also offering a flexible WFH policy for apprentices on work days. “Everything with BPP has been great”, the apprentice goes on. “I haven’t had any issues, the whole thing has been very smooth.”

Speaking on how to balance work and study commitments, we’re told that to begin with at least, the balance is manageable. “Typically, if you’re focussed on that study day, you can keep your work within the day and save your evenings and weekends. While it does ramp up as exams approach, the firm gives us extra study days to account for that — although you might find yourself spending some evenings or weekends studying to prepare as best as you can.” Whilst the quantity of studying required will likely rise again in the later years of the programme with the SQE, our informant is confident that the firm’s flexibility and understanding will make the process more than manageable.

For the other 80% of the time when recruits aren’t studying, they gain a breadth of experience across the firm. In the first four years of the programme rookies will rotate annually across a range of different seats, before joining the trainees for their final two years and carrying out six-month rotations across a further range of contentious and non-contentious practices. Whilst to begin with the work in these teams will look more like that of a junior paralegal, focussing more on the administrative side, by the end of their second year rookies are progressing into a paralegal/case handler role, we’re told. By the end of year four, apprentices assimilate with trainees, and carry out the same work as their non-apprentice counterparts. Whilst the hours across the six years will fluctuate and are “team and year dependant”, rookies can expect to start off with a typical 9-5/5:30.

The life of a TLT apprentice isn’t all work and no play, however. “The only thing socially that I’ve missed out on is the experience of living in a different city or place”, says one apprentice, “although that was a decision I made and is personal to me”. Otherwise, it’s only positive comments here. “There’s always something going on”, one recruit happily reveals. “Each team gets a social budget, and we have regular summer and Christmas events and parties, as well as other events scheduled throughout the year.”

On top of the firm and office-wide events, “clusters of the team regularly go out for drinks together.” “I think you could certainly describe TLT as a social firm with people who are keen to do things outside of work”, one apprentice tells us. The cohort of juniors within the firm is close knit, we’re told, with opportunities to network with apprentices and trainees at other firms also available.

Summarising the biggest draws of an apprenticeship with TLT, one rookie has a very long list. “The investment in people and talent is the biggest thing for me”, he says, noting how the firm actively looks to support and propel its young recruits through both the solicitor and graduate apprenticeship schemes. “Another key pull is just how friendly and approachable everyone at the firm is at all levels, whether that’s fellow apprentices, trainees, associates, HR, or partners.” On top of that, the outfit’s flexibility and remote working are considered noteworthy, as is the apprentice buddy system, where recruits are paired up with another apprentice one year their senior.

Offering a short piece of advice, one insider suggests making sure you have a look at the practice areas of a firm and structure of their programme before signing up. “Have a good idea in mind what area you think you might want to go into, and make sure that the firm has some availability in that area for you to go into and explore.” Along with that, this rookie says, think about the structure of the programme, whether you want to do a paralegal apprenticeship followed by a solicitor upgrade, or opt for a straight solicitor apprenticeship. It’s also worth considering, he says, how many seat rotations are on offer, and how those seats are selected.

This is TLT’s Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read TLT’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

TLT tells Legal Cheek that apprentice salaries are “competitive”.

General Info

Solicitor apprenticeships each year 10
Locations where apprenticeships offered 3
Minimum GCSE requirement Five 4s
Minimum A-level requirement BBB

GCSE requirements include Maths and English.

Apprenticeships are offered in Bristol, London and Manchester.

The Firm In Its Own Words