Apprentice Blog - Women in law: the next generation

Friday 8th March 2019

At Gordons, we’re extremely proud of our award-winning apprenticeship scheme, offering the next generation of legal minds an alternative route into a career in law. The first two graduates from the Gordons Apprenticeship Programme were both promising young women – Bryony Rigby and Megan Boldison. Joining our firm as 18-year-old school leavers, Megan and Bryony studied part-time and gained practical work experience to qualify as chartered legal executives.

Here, we’ve spoken to Bryony and Megan to get some insights into what it was like being a law apprentice at Gordons, and how they’ve been able to grow and develop since qualifying,

What’s the hardest part about working and studying at the same time?

Megan (MB): Entering the world of work is hard, and I found it tiring! Working days were busy and my weekends were often spent studying, so it took some time for me to adjust from college life. Once I found a routine and had fully settled into the job, finding the time to study became much easier. I used my lunch breaks and evenings to make sure I had some time on weekends available for socialising.

Bryony (BR): For me, the most difficult part was learning to manage my time efficiently.  It’s very hard to strike the correct balance between working and studying, whilst still finding time to fit everything else in.

What attributes/characteristics do you need to be a successful apprentice?

BR: To become a successful apprentice in law, I would say the three most important attributes you need to have are determination, dedication and resilience.

MB: I think that an apprentice needs to have self-discipline and perseverance. Apprenticeships, although very rewarding once completed, are not an easy route. Gordons Apprenticeship Programme is a five-year scheme and it was tough at times, juggling full-time work whilst studying for degree-level exams. You must have the self-discipline to study on evenings and weekends as you will be busy working through the week.

What support did you receive from those working at Gordons during your law apprenticeship?

MB: My colleagues were supportive throughout my apprenticeship and have always been available to answer any questions I have had. Apprentices are also allocated a mentor to provide support and guidance when required.

BR: Since starting my apprenticeship, everyone across the firm was helpful and supportive.  I have received individual support from a number of colleagues, both on a personal and professional level.

Could you describe your typical working day for us?

MB: My typical working day is varied. Working in the private client team means I often have several client meetings a week either at the office or at the client’s home. My workload consists of will writing, advising on and preparing lasting powers of attorney, court of protection orders and the administration of both taxable and none-taxable estates.

BR: The most enjoyable part about my job is that every day is different. Working in the employment team, I have a good balance between contentious and non-contentious work.  Generally, I deal with employers and their internal issues which could include: managing employees on internal processes; drafting and reviewing contracts, policies and procedures; providing advice on restructuring the business; and defending claims brought by employees against the company.    

Have you been able to further develop within Gordons since completing your apprenticeship?

MB: I qualified as a lawyer through Gordons Apprentice Programme in October 2017. I then began studying towards the STEP Diploma in Trusts and Estates and I completed this prestigious qualification in December 2018. Since qualification, Gordons has supported and encouraged me to develop my knowledge, experience and professionalism and I am looking forward to progressing further.

Would you recommend a law apprenticeship to someone who is looking to have a legal career?

BR: Certainly, why would you need to go to university?!  The main advantage of an apprenticeship is that you gain invaluable hands-on experience whilst studying, as well as developing a commercial knowledge of how the business works.  Prior to qualifying, I had gained over four years’ solid employment experience at the age of 23, and it would be very unusual for a newly qualified solicitor to have the same level of experience.

MB: I would absolutely recommend a legal apprenticeship to those looking to enter into the profession. I am a huge advocate for apprenticeships, legal or otherwise. I was one of the first individuals to qualify through the Gordons Apprenticeship Programme and I am proud to be part of the award-winning scheme. I don’t think you  need to go to university to be successful and I certainly made the right decision by completing an apprenticeship.