Solicitor apprenticeship profile: BCLP


We get the view on BCLP’s Solicitor Apprenticeship Scheme from apprentices on the ground.

BCLP solicitor apprenticeship review 2024 

Chambers Student: How is the solicitor apprenticeship structured at the firm? 

Isabel Elsey, emerging talent manager: The initial application is for a 2-year legal apprenticeship. During those two years, you will receive exposure to different teams on a 6-12-month rotation, building your knowledge and expertise, and working towards your workplace objectives. At the end of the two years, successful applicants will progress onto the solicitor apprenticeship. At that stage, you will already be performing at the level of a paralegal and will have obtained a level-4 certificate from our training provider, giving you a paralegal qualification. From that point onwards, you will be embedded into a team for a period of two years, to build relationships with clients and colleagues and push yourself to work towards the level of a trainee solicitor. The final two years of the scheme will see you join our traditional trainee rotations.

CS: Why did you decide to apply for a legal apprenticeship? What was the appeal of this path into the legal profession compared to other routes? 

Hadiyah Bint-Asam, apprentice: When I realized that I would be able to obtain a degree without having to take a student loan, all while earning on the job, I was immediately drawn to it. I struggle to stay focused studying during the day, so I liked the idea of being at university for one day, which would give me time to consolidate my learning in the evenings whilst being in a workplace with a variety of work.

“…by the time I am qualified, I will have years of experience in practice.”

Daniel Hollinworth, apprentice: I didn’t want to study full time and I was worried about the university debt, so when I discovered that there was a relatively new route into law via an apprenticeship, I was immediately interested.  But on top of that, by the time I am qualified, I will have years of experience in practice and building relationships with colleagues and clients.

CS: What is the balance between studying and work experience? How did you find the study element? 

IE: During the apprenticeship, apprentices have a dedicated day each week towards their study. This equates to the 20% off the job training requirement.

DH: There is no denying that the apprenticeship has been a huge challenge. Balancing a job that is already challenging whilst studying for a degree is tough, but being organised, proactive and planning ahead definitely helps with that. There is still time for a healthy social life, so it is a worthwhile sacrifice for the benefits the apprenticeship will have for my career. You will definitely need to devote some spare time to the university studies as there is lots of content but it will remain manageable if you keep on top of it. The best piece of advice I could ever give is to be organised at all times. The legal profession can be very demanding and organisation is a skill that doesn’t require legal knowledge, so if you have a good understanding of your workload and you are aware of where your next steps will fall, individually your stress will ease but also collaboratively, you will make both yours and your colleagues job when working together easier if files are clear, up to date and organised.

CS: What sort of training, mentorship and support do you get as a legal apprentice? 

HB-A: At the beginning, you receive two weeks’ worth of intense training at the firm, as well as one week at university, to explain key processes and expectations. This is then maintained in the work element alongside a buddy system with more senior apprentices. There are also supervisors you report to with questions and queries on each team you join. The jump from A-levels is so much easier if you join the right firm, the support they offer you at BCLP is impeccable.

DH: We get monthly training sessions with knowledge development lawyers relevant to our field. There are also monthly one-to-one sessions with our apprenticeship manager, which allows us to voice any concerns or discuss anything relevant, or not, to work. There is an amazing support network. The transition can be overwhelming on top of the higher demands of the university module, but such a big change is expected and the firm has shown patience and lots of support which helped me to ease into a big change.

CS: What can apprentices expect? What has your experience been like so far? 

IE: There are several teams the apprentices can sit within for their first year. All teams are set up to enhance those key skills, taking responsibility of your own matters and transactions, communication with key stakeholders and pushing matters forward to a conclusion.

HB-A: I have really enjoyed being part of a face-paced working environment for the last 4 years. Being on a core real-estate team has taught me how to multitask and work under pressure in order to meet deadlines. It has also provided me with a support network during exams season, as my supervisors and peers have always been forthcoming with lending a hand. My favourite part of being on the apprenticeship so far has been attending career fairs and showing students who may have a hard time studying like myself, that there are alternative routes available that may better suit their learning style - routes that will still allow them to still obtain a degree!

CS: How does the application process work and what does the firm look for? What did you do to stand out? 

IE: The application is comprised of an online application form, telephone interview, written assessment and then an assessment centre. These assessment centre days consist of a group exercise and final stage interview. At all stages, any experience you may have is always worth sharing. So many transferable skills are obtained from part time jobs and these skills are normally underrated by the applicant. We are not looking for legal experience, we are looking to see that you have skill set required for a future lawyer. Organisation, prioritisation and communication are all key.

“We are not looking for legal experience, we are looking to see that you have skill set required for a future lawyer.”

DH: I believe I stood out because my character traits were backed up with good examples of when I have used them. I also had a number of extra-curricular achievements which showcased the development of some of my skills. I also paid a huge attention to the firm. I researched their clients, achievements, specialised areas and what the firm stood for. I was able to explain that what I had learned about the firm made me want to work there. I wanted to show that if my values aligned with the firm’s, then it would ensure that as much as the firm was right for me, I was right for the firm.

CS: Why did you choose to apply to the firm?

HB-A: Coming from an ethnic minority background, I wanted to be able to work at a firm where my colleagues would support me, and at a firm where I would have role models I could relate to in the field. When I came to the assessment centre, seeing the diversity in the associate and paralegal pool made me feel very comfortable. It felt like a place where differences in people are embraced. It will be the best decision you make. It may be hard, but it will be worth your while. Remember they are not looking for you to already be a lawyer, they are looking for passionate people who are willing to work hard and push for what they want.




BCLP bridges the Atlantic to form a real estate and commercial powerhouse in the City. Read the True Picture here.