Meet One of DCB Legal’s Solicitor Apprentices, Lauren Weston!

07th April 2022

Tell us about yourself…

I love doing DIY and I’m very close to finishing the renovation on my home that I bought in 2019 with my partner. This includes everything from the plumbing and electrics in the bathroom to moving 16 tonnes of mud from the garden!

I really enjoy being outside in nature and being busy all the time. I hate to sit still!

What is the apprenticeship that you’re doing?

I am doing the Solicitor Graduate Apprenticeship (SQE1&2). It lasts roughly 28 months and is studied on a part-time, distanced learning basis, which is great for me as I did my degree through distance learning through the Open University.

There are collectively 7/8 modules that I will have to study to sit my exams next year – these are broken down into units on a weekly basis. It is very intense, and there is a lot of reading to be done prior to being able to complete the tasks you are set.

I undertake weekly tests, but these are in the same format as the exams, so I will be used to seeing the style of questions well before I sit the exam. There is roughly 9-10 hours worth of studying a week (I’d say), and the university expects you to complete 7.5 hours on your study day.

The SQE 1 is purely ‘Single Best Answer Questions’, and the exams are based on law that a solicitor ought to know without doing research – so more memory focused! The SQE 2 is the practical based exam, which relates to key legal skills rather than knowledge!

It’s very interesting; there are topics that I haven’t studied since my degree (and I’m not in that area of practice) so it’s good to be able to pick those back up and apply the law with more detail. It’s also an intense course, and there’s going to be a lot of late nights studying but the reward will be worth the time and effort put in!

DCB Legal's Solicitor Apprentice, Lauren

How has DCB Legal supported you through your apprenticeship?

Not only does DCB Legal fund the apprenticeship and the weekly study day, but I also have Ellen who is my supervisor. She oversees the work I’m doing and completing, and it’s someone I can go to should I feel stressed or need any help. As well as Ellen, I know that whoever I spoke to within the company would assist me if they could as everyone here at DCB Legal is so supportive. I’m certain that I could find someone who could help if I needed it!

I also have the option to take extra time off around exams should I need it.

It also helps that there are others studying, regardless of whether it is via the apprenticeship or LPC, so we can bounce ideas off each other and discuss should any of us be stuck on anything!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about doing an apprenticeship?

Just go for it – it may be 4, 5, 6, or even 7 years – just go for it. If you want to succeed, you’ll put the work and effort in.

I did think at first “am I too old for an apprenticeship?”. In my head when I hear the term apprenticeship, I picture a young 16-year-old fresh out of high school, but then I thought to myself, I’m still going to be close to 30 whether I do an apprenticeship or not so I may as well be close to 30 and a qualified Solicitor rather than close to 30 and still ‘too embarrassed’ about going back to university!

You also think of apprenticeships for the more hands-on jobs, such as builders, plumbers, and electricians, rather than the more academic areas. It’s great that apprenticeships are becoming more available to all industries. Not only do I get to learn, but I also get to apply what I’ve learnt in practice.

If an apprenticeship is available to you in your chosen industry – go for it!

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