Experiences of an Apprentice Solicitor

Many people choose to study law for many different reasons; for me it has always been something that I wanted to do. Throughout my education I tailored my studies to fit a legal career. The immediate struggle for us wannabe solicitors is in obtaining a training contract – a two-year traineeship with a law firm. Therefore, I was extremely pleased to be offered a training contract with D R Brewster solicitors, a firm which boasts an impressive local reputation. Even though my homeland is at the other end of Northern Ireland – in a little fishing village called Portavogie – on the Ards Peninsula, I was more than happy to make the move to the charming town of Limavady.

I have been made to feel very welcome and by the end of my second month I really feel like one of the team. The office definitely had the right mix of fun and professionalism. After all, who says that practising the law can’t be fun? Some days have to be livened up more than others, but you can always count on Mr Brewster to do something to have the office in hysterics.

At first I found being a trainee an overwhelming and intense experience, but I soon came to realise that this is how I first felt being a student. It is not until you have a reasonable grasp of what it is that is required from you that you find your comfort zone and begin to improve.

Since starting my training contract I have noticed that the best way to improve is to be thrown in “at the deep” end as it were and interact with clients. It is all very well and good to understand Legal Theory and have a grounding on what the law states but most of the real learning comes from seeing Solicitors and Barristers interacting with clients and engaging with Judges in the various courts.  I have certainly been given the opportunity at D. R Brewster to get out and about.

I have attended counsel on numerous occasions, from Londonderry to Coleraine and the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. Getting more first-hand experience of the Court System is always something they I wanted from a training contract and I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity. I have attended a police interview, a looked after child (LAC) review and a youth conference, a very important Judicial Review hearing and also reviews and hearings in the Family Care Centre. Very few apprentices could claim to have witnessed all that within the first two months of their apprenticeship!

I very much look forward to what the next few months have in store at D R Brewster until I have to attend the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in January  where I will have to hit the books once again!

Joshua David McKee LL.B MSSc

  • 17 Nov, 2015
  • drbrewster

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