Jasmine Brown-Bennett is a solicitor apprentice at Addleshaw Goddard, she kindly shared her path to a legal career, what it’s like to work at an international law firm and careers advice for aspiring legal professionals.
Pursuing a career in the legal industry
I began at Addleshaw Goddard (AG) in September 2018 as a Paralegal Apprentice. I joined the firm straight after completing my A-levels at my local sixth form where I studied Law, Religious Education, and English Literature.
I completed the Paralegal Apprenticeship over 2 years and throughout this time I moved seats every six months, therefore I completed seats within all the different divisions – real estate, finance and projects, corporate and commercial, and litigation.
Once I completed the Paralegal Apprenticeship achieving a First Class Honours Certificate of Higher Education and passing my CILEx End Point Assessments, I qualified as a Paralegal at AG.
I decided to qualify for Financial Litigation as I enjoyed the contentious style of work. I then applied for the Solicitor Apprenticeship in June and I was successful in the assessment centre which meant I started the Solicitor Apprenticeship in September (yay)!
I continued within the Leeds litigation team for the first few months of the Apprenticeship until the opportunity arose for members of my team (the Transactional Services Team) to work in Qatar on an International Secondment for a year.
I applied for this as I thought working internationally would be an invaluable experience and it still involved the contentious style of work that I enjoy. As I was fortunate in my application, I am now working with the Construction Litigation team, on an International Secondment based in Qatar, alongside studying for my apprenticeship!
Since starting my Law A-level in 2017 at my local sixth form, I knew that I wanted to progress my career within the legal sector due to thoroughly enjoying my classes. I had always wanted to go to University, however, I was aware that I learned more effectively through a 'hands-on' approach.
I started looking into Paralegal/Solicitor Apprenticeships whilst I was in the sixth form as my Law Teacher was a big advocate for these as they allow you to 'get a foot in the door'. For me, being able to put what I would learn at University into practice sounded like it would work well and would solidify my learning.
I also really liked that as part of the Paralegal Apprenticeship at AG, we would rotate every 6 months which would provide an opportunity to understand what type of law I would want to pursue.
What it’s like to work at Addleshaw Goddard
Please provide a detailed description of what it’s like to work at your firm such as what are the benefits, any information that will inspire aspiring legal professionals.
AG has a great working environment as the people truly care about an individual's progression. This can be illustrated by the many routes which are available for employees to take.
Paralegals can become part of the leadership team by enrolling in management training; apprenticeships; applying for training contracts internally: completing CILEx qualifications to qualify as a chartered legal executive or becoming involved with the Innovation and Legal Technology Team, to list just a few.
No day is the same at AG which makes each day interesting and means that a day is never dull. The work is challenging yet very rewarding as it allows you to think deeply and progress your legal knowledge. From my experience, everyone at AG is friendly and supportive with both work and non-work-related queries.
Additionally, AG is an extremely inclusive firm that has a diverse workforce. AG often hosts useful discussions relating to inclusion, diversity, and mental health and allows everyone to ask questions/get involved which I enjoy attending as these provide knowledge on key topics.
AG also put on more light-hearted activities such as free yoga sessions, away days, and themed drinks for Halloween, Christmas, etc., which are always fun to take part in.
A day in the life of a solicitor apprentice
- 6:30 am - Commute to the client's office.
- 7:00 am – Log onto my laptop to check through all my emails and from this, I create a to-do list of the tasks I have to complete that day/week.
- 7:30 am – Grab a coffee (as it is usually needed by this point!)
- 7:45 am – Respond to any urgent emails – could be about team availability for the month, capacity, etc.
- 8:00 am – Prioritise to-do list for the day which could include:
- Reviewing key documents concerning the matter and marking them as relevant or not as part of the disclosure
- Locating/saving key documents concerning 'Requests For Information (RFI's)
- Creating chronologies of the key events in advice notes based on the facts of the appendices to the Statement of Claim
- Searching key search terms within reports and recording the information which has been found accurately.
- 12:00 pm – Lunch Break – First half I eat my lunch then for the second half I try to get out on a walk in the Qatar sun!
- 1:00 pm – Catch-up call with everyone on the matter to discuss progress and what the future tasks entail.
- 2:00 pm – Review TST 'Socialeyes' (an initiative within the firm where members of the TST run the TST Social media pages and I am a leader of this) calendar to see if there are any events that need posting. If so, I then either draft the relevant posts or flag them to the members of the team to see if they can assist. I also manage the number of posts we have to ensure we have a certain amount going out each week and check the posts which are scheduled to go out.
- 2:30 pm – All the paralegals within the team send me an update on the progress made that day. Once I've received and compiled all updates, I draft an update to send to the partners concerning our progress on the task of that day.
- 3:00 pm – Hometime!
- 3:30 pm – Me time, so go on a walk or watch some Netflix or do a food shop.
- 6:00 pm – Complete some studying for my Tort exam which is in April.
- 8:00 pm – Relax as it is nearly time to sleep!
3 tips for aspiring legal professionals
- My first tip for aspiring legal professionals is to grasp every opportunity you are given, whether it is directly linked to work such as attending a client event or even something outside of your work tasks such as attending a career fair or writing an article. When I first joined AG, I was often afraid to take opportunities, however for my career progression and confidence, stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself forward for events has been the best way to develop.
- Always ask questions – there are no stupid questions in the legal sector! I was so afraid to ask questions when I first started, however, people would much rather you ask than make mistakes. Plus – asking questions makes you look interested and like you care about your role.
- Keep organised and on top of your studies! My biggest tip for those completing Apprenticeships or studying whilst working is to keep yourself organised by creating a schedule of when you will fit revision/studying in and trying your best not to get behind as this can lead to unnecessary stress especially if you get busy at work! Therefore, I find studying chunks of content little and often works best for me. I tend to try to study for an hour each day, be this after work or on a weekend and then closer to an exam, I increase this time studying.