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Paralegal Apprenticeships: The experience so far

Pinsent Masons is currently recruiting Apprentice Paralegals to join the Manchester office in September 2023. You can learn more and apply for this vacancy here.


In October 2022, the Pinsent Masons Vario Paralegal Centre of Excellence welcomed four new Apprentice Paralegals to the team. The apprentices share their thoughts and experiences of their journey so far.

What attracted you to Pinsent Masons and the Vario Paralegal Centre of Excellence?

Initially, what attracted me to investigate Pinsent Masons was the opportunity to become a Paralegal Apprentice, however after researching the firm, I knew it was an organisation that I wanted to be a part of. The multi-national status of the firm and its long history of success told me that I would be able to get involved in large and interesting projects for high end clients, which has resulted in me having a very varied workflow. Various accolades won by Pinsent Masons, including ‘Law firm of the year’ and being named one of the ‘Top 50 employers for women’ in 2020, implied that Pinsent Masons is not only extremely reputable but also very supportive of employees and their development. Learning of the Paralegal Centre of Excellence (PCoE) cemented the idea that I would be well supported as there is a dedicated network of experienced colleagues, meaning that I would be able to get guidance and advice from those around me. This has proven to be true during my employment so far. The role excited me as it was an amazing opportunity that I was presented with and the hopes that had initially attracted me have been far exceeded since becoming an apprentice at Pinsent Masons.

How are you supported in your role?

I have various types of support in my role, and they all have different purposes. My main source of support in my daily role comes from my Line Manager. We work together, I have my progress reviews with her, I run my apprenticeship work through her, and she also attends my apprenticeship meetings with me. In addition, my manager is happy to help with any queries that I have, no matter how small, and she will always be happy to explain if I am uncertain. This support has allowed me to grow both confidence and competence in my role.



I have regular catch ups with the Early Talent team to discuss how I am feeling in my role and apprenticeship. These really allow me to consider how I am feeling as sometimes it is hard to do so when you are caught up in a busy workload. This support has allowed me to relax more into my role and made me realize that help is there for me should I ever need it.



My apprenticeship coach supports me by guiding me through the study side of the apprenticeship. The style of learning that is used for this apprenticeship was completely new to me and the other apprentices, so the coach was happy to be on hand to answer any queries as we settled in. We now have regular 6 weekly catch ups with our coach to discuss the apprenticeship work and review the portfolio of evidence that we are each building. This support has allowed me to develop in the academic side of my role and allowed me to get the most out of the apprenticeship work.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship route vs university/further education?

I chose an apprenticeship route rather than University/further education to enable me to have the hands-on experience of working in a law firm. Doing an apprenticeship allows you to work and learn at the same time. In my opinion, although University is the “traditional” route into law, apprenticeships have now evolved and allow post A level students the chance to get the experience of working alongside lawyers, whilst studying at the same time. Upon completion of your apprenticeship, you have the knowledge, as well as the experience of working in a law firm. An apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to form friendships within the workplace and offers support from colleagues, supervisors, and managers. As well as this, your colleagues push you to do your best by giving you challenging work, giving you independence to complete the work to keep trying to better yourself. Overall, for these reasons I feel that an apprenticeship was a better route into law for me personally.

What was the transition like from school to starting an apprenticeship and learning on the job?

I felt like the transition from A levels to the workplace was well managed. The thought of starting an apprenticeship seemed daunting, however the induction process put myself and the other apprentices at ease. The firm gave us training to do within the first few weeks, allowing us to get used to the day-to-day life of working here, which eased us into the working life gradually. As well as this, we have a study day once a week to work towards our apprenticeship. My initial thought was that balancing work, and my studying would be difficult, however your colleagues understand that you are completing an apprenticeship and will give you the support you need every day so that you don’t become overwhelmed. You will be assigned a supervisor, who will have regular catchups with you to ensure you are coping okay with the workload and to see how you are getting on. Overall, the other apprentices and I felt that Pinsent Masons made the move from A levels to starting an apprenticeship a gradual change. This allowed us to settle in and get used to the working environment before starting to carry out the typical work of a Paralegal.

What is a typical day in the life of an Apprentice Paralegal?

A typical day in the life of an Apprentice Paralegal begins by greeting other colleagues once reaching the office for a prompt start at 9:30am. You would then check any emails just so you are up to date with anything that may have changed since you left the office the day before and be able to pick up any tasks that have come through your team’s inbox. You may then create a to-do list for the day, prioritising tasks in order of urgency. You may also have a team meeting in the morning to discuss everyone’s capacity and to have a catch-up after which you can begin to work on your tasks for the day. As an apprentice, you will be assigned to a team. The day-to-day tasks will vary depending on which team you join but could include assisting with drafting bundles & documents for Court and Tribunals or researching and managing data. Lunch time is a great chance to catch up with the other apprentices where you can enjoy a nice meal at the office canteen or go out for lunch. The afternoon will then be used to finish off any tasks that may need to be completed by the end of the day, however you can always reach out to other members of your team should you require any help at any point. You will then start to tidy up any loose ends as it nears 5:30pm and then log off and head home. 

What support did you receive during the application, assessment centre and onboarding process?

The whole process was smooth. Once I found out that I had been offered a place at the assessment centre after my initial application, the firm sent through an email explaining a rough outline of what the assessment day would be like, as well as the qualities they would be focusing on and the Firm’s values. This guidance aided with preparation. Although I was nervous on the day, everyone was very friendly and the day consisted of a group exercise, a written task and an interview. I found out promptly that I had received a job offer and Pinsent Masons regularly updated me before I started, including what to expect on my first day.

How do you balance study with working in the office?

We get Mondays as a dedicated study day, so the study and work balance is easily maintained. Having a dedicated study day means the apprenticeship workload is very manageable. The work in the office in general is steady paced and your team will always be at hand if you are struggling with a particular task, so the work life balance is also good.


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