Weightmans — solicitor apprenticeship

The Legal Cheek View

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

Headquartered in Liverpool, Weightmans has an impressive nine offices across the UK. Of these, the outfit’s Liverpool, London, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham hubs are all open to prospective apprentices, offering an unparalleled variety of locations for would-be recruits. Providing clients with a full package, the firm tackles family law, corporate and M&A, employment, litigation, professional and clinical negligence, professional discipline and police law, amongst other fields.

“I like to take in information practically, as well as academically”, one Weightmans apprentice tells us. “I also recognised the benefits of being in a professional workplace and environment for six years, and the skills I would acquire beyond academic knowledge”, she continues, recounting the reasons why she chose to follow the apprenticeship route. “I also felt that just because everyone else was going off to uni didn’t mean that I had to do the same if I thought there was a better option for me.”

On why she chose Newcastle, the insider tells us that having called the city home her entire life, the prospect of moving away wasn’t something that appealed to her. “Particularly speaking, because when I joined the firm the concept of legal apprenticeships was so new, moving away from home, whilst embarking on something new and unknown wasn’t for me.”

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Weightmans is the perfect fit, we’re told, for those looking for a law firm that’s “not too corporate”, and has “more of a family feel” thanks to its culture and focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community work. Another perk, for one apprentice, is the “amazing” work-life balance on offer. Recruits also praise how each office is “very much a serious presence” and “not just a satellite” for the firm’s Liverpool HQ.

As for the work, rookies can expect the typical 4:1 split of work to studying, with the study day occupied by a lecture and individual prep. We’re told that this day gives enough time to crack through the studying that needs to be done, with the firm “great at accepting boundaries between work and study days, ensuring apprentices don’t have any work in your study time”. Newbies also praise the firm for “accepting that life may get in the way”, and operating flexible policies when it comes to both work and studying, in order to ensure apprentices receive “great” support. On top of additional study leave given to recruits in the run up to exams, for those who do stay in the office past the typical leaving time of 5:30pm, rookies say that they get the extra hours back elsewhere to ensure they aren’t overworked.

Throughout the six-year programme, apprentices undertake a seat rotation every year, with a six-month stint in one of the business services teams dropped into the mix. Secondments are also on offer, dependent on business need.

Avoiding a drop into the deep end right away, rookies will begin by fulfilling “more of an admin role, whilst they gain core skills and an understanding of the firm and its practices”. Before long, however, recruits will find themselves tackling trainee level work, although the rate of progression and opportunities are “seat dependent”. Along the way, we’re told that teams offer mock tasks to help apprentices in a low-pressure environment, with each junior assigned a supervisor to assist with anything and everything that a new apprentice could need. These associates, along with fellow trainees and more experienced partners are all on hand to offer support as and when needed.

Outside of work, an insider reveals that the Weightmans rookies love to let their hair down. We hear that there are “loads of socials” that come at set times of the year, with regular Friday drinks, and different teams continually organising events. Causing a particular stir amongst recruits is a recent axe throwing trip! All this socialising, a spy tells us, is made possible because of the salary that apprentices receive. “Unlike some of my friends at university, I can afford to go out and enjoy my social life because I have enough money to”, she tells us.

There is, however, one social downside identified by a second-year recruit. “If you know that you’re not going to be able to watch all your friends going out on a Tuesday night, and are really going to feel like you’re missing out (FOMO), then the apprenticeship may not be for you,” they tells us.

When they’re not working or playing hard, Weightmans apprentices keep themselves busy by enjoying “all of the same opportunities open to trainees and everyone else at the firm”. These include getting involved in CSR, charity fundraising, and the D&I committee, as well as joining trainees for their own fundraising and events. One apprentice has received the firm’s full backing in giving talks to local schools about law and apprenticeships. “Every idea you have will be considered by the firm”, one source tells us. “If it’s a good idea you’ll almost never be told no.” It’s reassuring, they say, that “the firm truly embraces apprenticeships and having apprentices in the office and the fresh ideas and perspective that we can bring to the table”.

Sifting through all the perks and benefits of a Weightmans apprenticeship, one happy recruit boils down the best bits. “The culture has to be one of the highlights”, she tells us. “Not just because of how friendly everyone is, but because you’re also pushed to reach your potential. That, along with how heavily involved the early careers team are in our progression and development, and the additional programmes looking at sustainability and innovation that the firm run for apprentices and trainees.”

Offering a few words of wisdom and encouragement, one apprentice confirms that “you shouldn’t be afraid to break the status quo and do what’s best for you, rather than simply following your friends. Apprenticeships aren’t for everyone, but they are a great option, and it’s worth seriously considering what’s best for you as an individual”. As for selecting firms, the advice is again to make a personal decision. “Think about the kind of firm that you think you’d like, whether that’s regional, London headquartered, or high street. At the end of the day what’s important is that you go to a firm you’ll be happy at”, they advise.

This is Weightmans’ Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Weightmans’ full Legal Cheek profile here.


First year salary £23,000
Second year salary £24,000
Third year salary £26,000
Fourth year salary £29,000
Fifth year salary £35,000
Sixth year salary £36,000

The above figures are for London. For all other UK offices, Weightmans pays £21,000 in the first year of the apprenticeship, £22,000 in the second, £23,000 in the third, £24,000 in the fourth, and £27,000 and £29,000 in the final two trainee years.

General Info

Solicitor apprenticeships each year 10
Locations where apprenticeships offered 7
Minimum GCSE requirement Five 4s
Minimum A-level requirement ABB

GCSE requirements include English and Maths.

Weightmans offers solicitor apprenticeships in London, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham.

The Firm In Its Own Words