Apprentice Solicitor blog!

by Charlotte Smith, Apprentice Solicitor

I’m coming up to the end of my third week with the NWL Legal Team, and what an amazing experience it has been so far! I feel like I have been taken under the wing of the team and have learned so much from them already in such a short space of time.

I was so thrilled when I was offered the position of Apprentice Solicitor within the in-house Legal department at NWLDC. Being a member of the local community myself and living in Coalville, it is a great feeling to have a job which positively effects the local community. As I only live 5 minutes down the road from the offices, I am able to walk to work which benefits my health as well as the environment.

As there is now a new route to qualifying as a solicitor via the ‘SQE’ (Solicitors Qualifying Examination), I feel very fortunate that I am able to gain invaluable experience working within a crucial department of the Council, whilst also being able to undertake my studies. The apprenticeship strikes the right balance between work and study, as one day per week will be dedicated to studying when the course starts in September, allowing me to have the best of both worlds.

I was shocked at the Council’s modern way of working, which is reflected in the flexible working policy which allows me to have the perfect work-life balance. I believe the policy really focuses on productivity and allows the Council to get the best out of its employees. There is also a hybrid working scheme in place, meaning I have a full desk set up at home whilst also being able to work in the office whenever I like. Being able to choose between both is a real privilege.

The Council Offices have been newly renovated and have a very modern feel to them. They incorporate ‘hot desking’, meaning employees can book a desk when they want to work in the office. This was a new concept to me at first, but I think it is an amazing idea as it allows you to network with other employees from different departments and talk to new people.

So far, I have received training on Housing Disrepair claims and the procedure to follow when a ‘Letter of Claim’ comes in from a tenant. I have also been able to sit in on weekly catch-up meetings with the housing department, where I have been able to see in practice how we deal with different types of claims and how we determine liability.

I have also received training on Gas Warrants from my supervisor, Kerryn Woollett. This week, I had the opportunity to attend Leicester Magistrates Court and observe how Kerryn advocates for these types of application and the criteria which must be met in order for the Court to grant a warrant. Court advocacy is something that I have always had an interest in, so being able to learn this skill in my role as an Apprentice Solicitor very much aligns with my own personal interests and career aspirations.

My journey has only just begun with NWL Legal, and I cannot wait to see where the rest of my journey will take me!

My Intern Experience at NWL Legal

by Manisha Khadka, Legal Intern

I joined NWL Legal on 31 July as part of the NTU Graduate Internship Scheme, I am with the team for a total of 7 weeks to learn about local government and gain experience of how the internal legal team here at NWLDC provides critical legal support and advice to the Council.

As a legal intern at North West Leicestershire District Council, so far I have had the invaluable opportunity to engage in a range of meaningful activities that not only broadened my legal understanding but also allowed me to contribute directly to the Council’s legal operations.

One of my primary responsibilities included efficiently managing files and communicating effectively with internal clients by sending tailored emails requesting disclosure, utilising standardised templates. This not only improved my written communication skill but also highlighted the importance of precision and clarity in legal writing.

I successfully scheduled meetings using Outlook and Teams, streamlining communication and encouraging teamwork. I actively participated in these meetings by taking comprehensive notes and minutes, reflecting my commitment to accuracy and attention to detail. Becoming well-acquainted with various digital tools like Outlook, Teams, and the legal team’s case management system was instrumental in enhancing my technological proficiency. Navigating these platforms seamlessly allowed me to stay on top of tasks and enabled efficient teamwork within the legal department.

Working remotely has not hindered my ability to collaborate with the Legal team. Regular Teams meeting have provided an excellent platform for information exchange, project updates, and clarifications, showing the Council’s commitment to maintain a cohesive and productive team dynamic even in remote settings.

Furthermore, I delved into legal research on websites such as EM Lawshare, Westlaw, and Cornerstone Barristers, honing my research skills and becoming familiar with the essential resources that facilitate informed decision-making. My involvement in researching policies such as ‘authorisation to issue fixed penalty notices for breach of public spaces protection Orders’, showcased my ability to understand complex legal topics and translate them into practical, effective policies.

A notable addition to my experience was the task of reviewing the North West Leicestershire District Council Constitution. This task not only deepened my understanding of local government frameworks but also highlighted the importance of having a well-structured constitution. It became clear to me that a constitution serves as a crucial reference point for both legal professionals and stakeholders, ensuring consistency, transparency, and effective governance.

Currently I am working on the ‘Right to Buy’ procedure, which is providing me with first-hand insight into property law. Also, I will be learning about Procurement law soon which I am excited to expand my knowledge.

Overall, my time as a legal intern at North West Leicestershire District Council is truly enriching. I am grateful for the exposure to diverse legal tasks, the chance to interact with other professionals in the Council, and the opportunity to contribute to the legal team.