I am a solicitor apprentice in a global elite law firm, and this was a daunting fact I had to accept before I started the role! Despite having visited the firm a few times before, I was worried about the so-called "realities of being a global elite lawyer" that people shared online. Now I wish to dispel some of the myths that I believed before I started my role…
If we talk about the global elite in the context of an apprentice, it refers to prestigious and highly sought-after organisations or companies with a global presence. These organisations are often recognized for their influence, reputation, and high standards in their respective industries. The global elite will include multinational corporations, renowned consulting firms, prestigious law firms, leading financial institutions, and top-tier technology companies.
My set work hours are 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, including a lunch break. My supervisor and colleagues are very respectful of the fact that I have just started my first corporate job and make sure that I do not work more than I am contracted for!
I have been invited to multiple events, meals, and networking sessions at the firm, so I have always had the opportunity to meet new people and socialise.
My working hours are quite standard; however, I have chosen to commute at the start of my role to see if I would enjoy doing this. What I have found is that the commute to/from work really elongates my day, and it is this that can sometimes hinder my social life rather than my job. But this was a personal decision I have made, and I am glad I got to experience it.
During my time at the firm so far, I have found that speaking to partners and senior associates is as easy as speaking to junior trainees! My team consists of very senior legal professionals, and I have never shied away from asking "silly" questions or enjoying their company over lunch.
My firm has a clear open-door policy, meaning that your seniority does not dictate who you can (or can't) speak to. This has been very helpful when learning the ropes of being a solicitor apprentice because every lawyer will have a different insight into the role.
My firm's dress code is "business casual". I tend to wear comfy shoes, jumpers, and flowy trousers to the office, as having my own sense of style allows me to feel happier and more motivated at work.
Whilst you may be expected to dress formally for certain clients and meetings, you may also find that your team wears jeans on Fridays! You do not have to blow your budget on work wear - most of my outfits are sourced from charity shops and outlet centres.
Did you know that the term "magic circle" was actually invented by journalists instead of lawyers? The term has evolved over the past few years but is widely considered to include the top 5 UK-headquartered law firms: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Slaughter & May.
This term emphasises the firms' high history in the UK but is not reflective of their global presence or the other major law firms they compete with. You may find that other titles are more suitable to describe his broader group, such as the 'global elite'.
It is important to address the elephant in the room… apprentices have not completed 4+ years of legal education. However, this does not mean that your work is any less valuable. I have been greeted with great intrigue and respect at the firm because I have dedicated myself to a legal career from such a young age!
In terms of tasks, I am given many non-legal tasks that any trainee could complete, or I am given sufficient supplementary training if I have to complete any legal tasks requiring knowledge from my future LLB or SQE modules.
When I was conducting my firm research, the highest grade requirement that I encountered was AAB, which is in line with the expectations of trainees. Whilst this is still important, you will find that recruiters will actually compare you with other candidates based on your interview/assessment performance rather than solely the academic grades you have received.
I was lucky enough to have some legal work experience with other firms through PRIME Commitment, but it was not something that the recruiters expected me to have. Instead, it just allowed me to learn about commercial law in a different context.
An apprentice within the global elite is an individual who has secured an opportunity to work as an apprentice or intern in one of these prestigious organizations. This apprenticeship provides a unique opportunity for individuals to gain valuable work experience, exposure to high-level projects, and mentorship from industry experts.
However, working in the global elite as an apprentice is undoubtedly a significant stepping stone towards building a successful career in a specific field or industry. I hope the misconceptions I explained as per my own experience will help you understand the work of a global elite.
No, that's a misconception. While working in prestigious organisations can offer valuable opportunities, success and wealth are not guaranteed. Apprenticeships require hard work, dedication, and continuous learning, just like any other career path.
Not necessarily. While apprentices in prestigious organisations may receive valuable mentorship and exposure to high-level work, they still need to prove themselves and meet performance expectations. Special privileges are often earned through dedication and exceptional performance.
No, everyone makes mistakes, including apprentices in elite organisations. In fact, these organisations often expect a high level of excellence and may have less tolerance for errors. Learning from mistakes and growing through challenges is an essential part of the apprentice experience.
Some aspects of the working environment as a global elite are impressive, such as state-of-the-art facilities or high-profile events. However, the reality is that day-to-day work will involve mundane tasks, long hours, and high-pressure situations too. The perception of glamour and luxury will not reflect the entire apprenticeship experience.
While an apprenticeship in a prestigious organisation can open doors and provide valuable connections, it does not guarantee a permanent position or long-term success. It depends on various factors, including individual performance, organisational needs, and the availability of opportunities. Networking and continuous professional development are crucial for long-term success in any career.