My name is Holly and I am a fifth year Solicitor Apprentice at international producer and broadcaster ITV plc, and recently completed my LLB with a First Class Honours.
I started to consider a legal career during my last years of school, as I always enjoyed studying written, essay-based subjects, such as History and English. After researching the skills and interests required to become a lawyer, I felt that this could be the right career for me. To be sure, I organised work experience with both a law firm and barristers chambers, and absolutely loved my experience in both.
Following this, I took A-Level Law at college, and fell in love with the subject straight away. I loved the way that the law shapes our lives and the way that we work, act, and live, most of the time without us even realising. I also loved the tradition and the history behind the subject. I knew after my first year of college and my work experience that I wanted to qualify as a lawyer.
However, there was one issue. I had the grades to attend the universities I was aiming for, but financially, full-time university wasn’t an option for me. Despite this, I refused to give up, and started looking into alternative routes to qualifying, as I knew by this time that I wanted to take the solicitor rather than barrister route. Luckily enough, Solicitor Apprenticeships had just been introduced following the government apprenticeship levy in 2016.
Solicitor Apprenticeships are an alternative route to qualifying as a solicitor. They are 6-year Level 7 apprenticeships, which means you will be educated to a Masters degree level on completion. During the first 4 years of the apprenticeship you work at your chosen firm/company, whilst also studying towards your LLB, and the final two years act as a training contract period, where you concurrently study towards your LPC/SQE. On completion, you will qualify as a solicitor with an LLB, qualifying exams, and 6 years legal experience – the best position you could possibly be in!
This was the perfect route for me. I could earn a salary, have all of my tuition fees paid, and start my legal career straight away at 18! I applied for every Solicitor Apprenticeship I could find, and after a long application process, I was offered the role of the first In-House Solicitor Apprentice in the UK at ITV (an absolute dream come true).
Four years later, here I am! I have worked within 5 of ITV’s legal departments, completed my LLB at City, University of London with a First Class Honours, and worked across some of the biggest productions in the UK, such as Love Island, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and Hells Kitchen. I wouldn’t change my choice for the world. It has been difficult at times, balancing work, study and a social life, but the sacrifice is worth all of the reward.
I am currently sitting with the Commissioning and Group Legal teams, where my role is to contract new and returning programmes with producers, negotiate terms of development, and contribute to the Brand Protection strategy by managing our trademark portfolio. I have also started preparing to take the first round of SQE exams in 2021. I am on track to qualify in Autumn 2022 – I’m in the final stretch!
Looking forward, I would like to remain in the media industry and specialise in Intellectual Property, as this is something I have enjoyed throughout my work, but haven’t had the chance to formally study. IP exists in so many forms, I find it fascinating.
I would advise anybody who is considering a legal apprenticeship to go for it! It is the best decision I ever made, and it allows you to qualify in the best possible position, with no student debt, the same qualifications as the traditional route and 6 years work experience. I didn’t come from the traditional background, I attended state school, my parents didn’t attend university, I’m not financially privileged, but I have still achieved everything I put my mind to, and this goes for anybody in the same position.