My experience as a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice
Aidan Lambert is a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice in the Government Legal Department
After completing my Law degree in 2022, I knew I wanted to be in the room where important decisions were made. I had completed internships at the Ministry of Justice and Parliament whilst studying which helped prove to me that working at the Government Legal Department (GLD) was the best way to achieve just that.
Having gone to university, I never properly considered the value of degree apprenticeships. Many of my peers sought training contracts whilst other routes to becoming a solicitor were not immediately obvious. I now feel that legal apprenticeships do everything a training contract does, but better.
I’m proud to be one of 21 people who joined GLD’s first cohort of Graduate Solicitor Apprentices in September 2023.
Learning on the job means my route to qualification will only take two years rather than having to take a year out to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC). As an apprentice, I work within the Paralegal team for the department alongside undertaking learning and exams for my professional qualifications. GLD is proactively fostering the introduction of the Solicitors Qualification Examination (SQE) as a route to qualification, delivered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
I’m given a study day every week to ensure I can meet my academic obligations in qualifying. I have found this to be very helpful in balancing work and study, as well as protecting my free time. I also benefit from the Solicitor Apprentice Network, where I exchange tips and experiences with other colleagues on the scheme.
The apprenticeship allows me to experience different seats. This could be an advisory role, co-located in another department – GLD clients include Cabinet Office, the Department for Transport and the Home Office. I could also be placed into a litigation team.
My first seat is an advisory role in the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). Being involved in contemporary challenges is extremely satisfying – whether this is advising policymakers on their duties under the Climate Change Act, drafting statutory instruments, or working with the Energy Price Guarantee. I know my work will always be varied and exciting.
For anybody with a political or public law interest, working in government should be at the top of your list. I would strongly encourage people to consider graduate apprenticeships as a pathway to unlocking this line of work.
The apprenticeship scheme is a pilot programme and sits alongside the Government Legal Profession Legal Trainee Scheme, which opens its next recruitment campaign in Summer.
Apprenticeships are an important part of GLD’s learning and development offer across professions. To find out more about government apprenticeships, please visit Apprenticeships | Civil Service Careers (civil-service-careers.gov.uk).