Read Sophie’s account of life as a paralegal apprentice at top law firm Bird & Bird.
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Name: Sophie Wells
Position: Paralegal Apprentice
Department: Dispute Resolution
What made you choose to do your paralegal apprenticeship with Bird & Bird?
I loved how exciting and modern Bird & Bird is, and after my assessment day I decided that I did not want to work anywhere else! Everyone is friendly and down to earth, creating a unique atmosphere which I wanted to be a part of.
How did you find out about the paralegal apprenticeships on offer?
I did a lot of research into different options post A-levels and came across the Paralegal Apprenticeship scheme on notgoingtouni.co.uk. There are several great resources showcasing the alternate options to university. I would really recommend doing thorough research before settling on your plans for after sixth form.
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?
Always ask questions! When I first started my role in Dispute Resolution I was worried about constantly bombarding people with questions but it is the only way you will learn how things are done. Asking questions when you are unsure of the task at hand or simply out of curiosity will show those around you that you are keen to learn and wish to do your best. There is no such thing as a bad question after all.
What would you say has been your favourite moment so far working at Bird & Bird?
My favourite moment so far has been spending the day with a Hebrew translator. It was completely different from my normal day to day activities and I learnt a lot about the language and Jewish culture. I had worked hard on the case up to that point so it was very rewarding to be in charge of such a vital task and show the skills I had gained in my time at Bird & Bird.
What might you do in a typical day?
In a typical day I will do a lot of paperwork such as preparing documents for court and I often have to head down to the Royal Court of Justice to file paperwork on behalf of the associates I work for. I also regularly do detailed research which can be very interesting and be important for current cases.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In five years’ time, I see myself as a qualified paralegal after completing my two year apprenticeship course, and either working as a paralegal or pursing further career progression to become a solicitor. At the moment, I am focusing on my apprenticeship and everything that comes with that.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
It has been a challenge to adjust to the new work/life balance as well as commuting into London every day. However, it has been completely worthwhile and I am enjoying every second.
What has been your most memorable moment at the firm so far?
Attending a court hearing for the first time was a rewarding experience and it made me determined to work hard in my role at Bird & Bird. I am looking forward to more opportunities in the future to attend other court hearings. It is hugely satisfying to see your own behind the scenes work come to life in the court.
What piece of advice would you give to other students interested in paralegal apprenticeships?
Go for it! It is an amazing opportunity and it will give you many advantages over those doing degrees. You are gaining valuable firsthand experiences that cannot be taught in a lecture hall. Keep your mind and options open, and look for a firm that aligns with your own interests and values.
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