Meg Kirkwood's journey as an Apprentice
I joined Blake Morgan(formerly Blake Lapthorn) in September 2013 as an Apprentice Trainee Legal Administrator in the Commercial Litigation Team. I was only 18 years old and had never worked in an office before and this was my first "proper" job.
As part of the Apprenticeship, I studied Business Administration at Eastleigh College one day per week. During college days, I learnt basic office skills that I could apply to my job such as office etiquette and telephone techniques. For most of the people on the course, it was also their first job in an office. We would all share our experiences and with the help of our tutor, find solutions to any problems we had encountered.
It was the first time the Commercial Litigation team in Southampton had an Apprentice so it was a new experience for everyone, the team was very supportive and encouraging. At first, I undertook basic administrative duties such as filing, photocopying, diary management and telephone calls. As I began to progress in my role, I moved on to creating letters and I had a lot more client contact and I handled a lot of secretarial work for the paralegals/trainees in my team.. This gave me a really good grounding and I learnt so many valuable skills in my first year of working.
In September 2014, I finished my Business Administration Apprenticeship and I was given the opportunity to be one of the first Apprentices to move on to an Advanced Legal Apprenticeship ("ALA"). I was promoted to a Trainee Legal Executive within my team and I began studying for my CILEx exams. The ALA required me to attend Highbury College one day a week which enabled me to have guidance and support from a tutor. I began my CILEx qualification here and the ALA counted towards a third of the Level 3 CILEx qualification.
During this time, I began working mainly for the Interventions Team assisting with the closure of law firms. I was thoroughly involved and got to attend interventions, communicate with clients of the firms that had closed down, write detailed attendance notes, letters and emails. I also assisted other members of the Commercial Litigation team with professional negligence cases. I hope in the near future to have my own case load.
In March 2015, I completed my ALA and was offered a permanent contract at Blake Morgan as a Trainee Legal Executive. I have now nearly completed my Level 3 CILEx qualification and have begun studying for my Level 6 exams. I aim to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive in 2019.
The route I took into law was not traditional and not going to university was a bit of gamble but through my own hard work and the continued support of the staff at Blake Morgan , I can safely say I made the right decision in beginning my career as an Apprentice.