Gemma Clark – Apprentice Paralegal

You’ll have progressed in your career a lot more than someone who just came out of university with no real-world experience.

Gemma Clark, Apprentice Paralegal

Why did you choose an apprenticeship over university?

The conventional route for getting into law was very daunting to me because it seemed very competitive and expensive. I was lucky enough to hear about the benefits of an apprenticeship from my sister, who got an accounting apprenticeship. I’m glad I listened to her, schools put so much emphasis on going to university and don’t tell you how great apprenticeships are.

An apprenticeship was perfect as I got on-the-job training instead of just learning out of a text book. I liked the fact I could learn from very experienced people who could pass their knowledge on to me.

The university route is very expensive. If you choose an apprenticeship, you get paid so can do really fun things and not have to worry about debt.

I believe an apprenticeship gives you a step up in life. You’ll have progressed in your career a lot more than someone who just came out of university with no real-world experience. You can also start saving for important things, like a house.

Some people talk about the freedom of university, but you can still move out with an apprenticeship and get that same independence.

Why did you choose Irwin Mitchell

I chose Irwin Mitchell because their company values are similar to mine. They put a lot of effort into becoming a more sustainable business. The Irwin Mitchell Charities Foundation supports lots of different charities, which is really important. We also get two days we can use per year to volunteer and give back to our community.

I also liked the fact Irwin Mitchell is a big company so I can network with lots of different people.

Why did you choose your particular apprenticeship?

After studying law at A level I knew it was something I wanted to go into. I looked at getting into law through university but it just seemed so expensive and I really wanted to start earning some money.

I started looking at legal apprenticeships instead. When I came across this apprenticeship and looked more into Irwin Mitchell I decided to apply. The area of law sounded interesting to me and is something I wanted to learn more about.

What do you like about the apprenticeship?

I started alongside 24 other apprentices which is quite rare when doing an apprenticeship. It’s been really nice because you never feel alone and we all talk about our issues and ask questions on our group chat.

Our apprentice manager is great. I really like that I can go to him with a problem and he will do his best to help. I also like the fact that I get a study day to really focus on the studying side of things.

My apprenticeship coach from the training provider is very good at giving feedback which massively helps me improve. We have regular catch ups about the work I’m doing on my apprenticeship.

What do you get up to in your role day to day?

I work in the tax, trusts and estates team. My job role is very varied so no two days are the same. I help a lot with probates which involves calling up financial institutions, sitting on client calls, collecting information about their assets etc.

I’ve recently drafted my first codicil which is something I’ll be doing more of, as well as drafting wills.

What training and support are you given?

When I joined, I had training to explain how to use our systems and the basics of the job. It’s great that we get this broad training as it’s something that may be useful to know for the future.

My training within the team is all on the job training. If someone sets me a task I’ve never done before, they’ll explain how to do it and then give me feedback once I’ve done it.

Why would you encourage others to consider an apprenticeship at Irwin Mitchell?

I was supported from the day I got my job offer from Irwin Mitchell. I would definitely encourage anyone to apply for this apprenticeship if you’re looking to kick-start your career in law.

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