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!