A day in the life of a legal apprentice – Gretchen Curtis-Wheeler, Coventry City Council

Apprenticeships can also be for career changers

I was formerly a software developer and was looking for a career change. I wanted to study law and CILEx really looked like the best way into a law career. I studied on my own while working at my previous job when I came across the job advert for the legal apprenticeship on the Coventry City Council website. I thought I was too old to be an apprentice but I looked it up anyway because the opportunity sounded brilliant. I found out that you can be any age and be an apprentice so I applied!

The apprenticeship has far exceeded my expectations

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with my apprenticeship. I had never worked in a law office or worked for the public sector. This apprenticeship has far exceeded what few expectations I did have! I have been so amazed at how welcomed I have been and how willing my colleagues are to take time out of their day to teach me or to invite me along to meetings or to court or even to property auctions! It means a lot to me that everyone is as eager to share their knowledge as I am to receive it!

It’s a rewarding, hands on role

I am working in both the property team and also alongside our civil prosecutor which makes my work extremely varied. On the property side, I assist with the preparation of leases, completion reports for the client and land registry searches. We are also auctioning off some property soon and I get to go to the auction to observe! On the prosecution side, I assist the prosecutor in preparing files for court for prosecutions like planning offences, education welfare and trading standards. I send out summonses for court hearings. I then attend block court dates where I assist with file handling and outcome recording.

I have access to a wealth of experienced colleagues

I would recommend doing an apprenticeship: it’s the opportunity to learn far more than just studying alone. This apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to work in a real and busy legal environment with some amazing dedicated legal professionals who have a wealth of knowledge. The combination of studying and working in a legal environment with people who can impart their years of wisdom and experience is an incredibly valuable experience.

I hope to continue my CILEx studies and work on my way to becoming a qualified Chartered Legal Executive.

This article was published for National Apprenticeship Week 2017