Amela is currently undertaking a Level 7 solicitor apprenticeship with Womble Bond Dickinson (WMD) and The University of Law (ULaw), working towards qualifying as a solicitor
Why did you choose Womble Bond Dickinson?
I found that WBD had a well-known and positive reputation for their apprenticeship schemes in both the legal and business sector of the firm. They had recruited a number of apprentices over the years and so I felt comfortable with the fact that there was a relatively large community of legal and business apprentices, across the north and south of the UK, who had undergone the journey that I was keen to join.
Following research, I learned that this organisation was a responsible business committed to creating better places to live, to work and do business. One particular element which confirmed this for me was the various employee networks such as: WBD Reach, WBD Pride, WBD Thrive and WBD Disability Network, which developed to be a voice for underrepresented communities.
I admired this because it enables the awareness and recognition of different social backgrounds and the barriers or privileges that are inevitably presented to them. Furthermore, the firm's achievement of the Gold EcoVadis sustainability rating and Gold status for the Law Society Diversity & Inclusion Charter demonstrates their commitment to creating an inclusive culture that strives to empower their people and the place they live in.
During the application and interview stages, I envisioned this environment enabling me to express my full potential to thrive, to do well for myself and others. Now, I am pleased to say that this vision has now become a reality for me that I live every day.
Why did you decide on a career in law?
The manifestations of law I had witnessed throughout my life inevitably sparked a curiosity for the legal profession. This curiosity led me to study law at A-level, alongside English Language and psychology.
Upon completing my A-levels, I undertook a gap year working full time as a legal muti-services assistant at a law firm, handling both the legal administrative duties and guest services duties. This invaluable experience exposed me to the world of law first hand; I was facilitating the administrative process of legal matters and gaining insight into how a commercial law firm operates.
I quickly established a clear vision for my next step, which was to pursue a career in law, specifically via the solicitor apprenticeship route. My legal experience in both sixth form and in the working environment helped generate the perfect formula to equip me with the required skillset to embark upon the journey of a solicitor apprentice at WBD.
Why choose the apprenticeship route for a career in law?
Taking into consideration both my employment history, and research into the different routes to pursuing a career in law, I found the apprenticeship pathway the most appealing and suitable for me.
I was confident that I was capable and passionate about progressing academically while gaining hands-on practical experience in the heart of the law firm, as a practicing solicitor apprentice.
Although the apprenticeship route is directly comparable to the conventional university route, the journey and the experience acquired via the apprenticeship is beyond comparison. The apprenticeship provides aspiring solicitors with a unique and valuable experience where learning takes place every day, even outside of the classroom.
What does the role of a solicitor apprentice typically include?
The responsibilities vary depending on two main factors: the nature of the department and the solicitor apprentice's level of experience/seniority.
My day typically starts at 9am and the first part of the morning includes monitoring my inbox on Outlook; checking my calendar for any upcoming meetings, events or deadlines, reading newsletters and updates on the intranet and then setting out the structure of my day by drafting a rough to-do list of tasks to action, ranging from high priority to low. I keep my to-do list flexible as I expect to undertake last minute tasks which can overtake priority of those already on the list.
My role as a solicitor apprentice has consisted of:
- conducting legal research using Lexis or West Law
- attending conferences and client meetings and taking attendance notes
- reviewing and proofreading documents
- searching databases for key client information
- data compilation
- assisting colleagues with a wide range of tasks appropriate for a junior fee-earner
- involvement in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) side of the firm.