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Solicitor degree apprenticeship Earn a law degree and qualify as a solicitor with no student debt

Our solicitor degree apprenticeship is an alternative to university, and those student loans and fees! The programme is for aspiring solicitors with a passion for law who have completed, or are in the process of completing, their A-levels.

Are you a good fit?

We are looking for a specific type of individual who will fit in well with our ethos and culture. The Weightmans solicitor apprenticeship will be an intense path, so we are looking for those who are passionate about law and committed to a career as a solicitor. You will need to show that you are a resilient individual, with the drive and determination to succeed for our clients.

You will need to have a strong academic background to undergo the learning aspect of the programme. Using a contextual recruitment system named Rare, we can identify high performing candidates by putting grades into context, acknowledging candidate academics and social background.

Whilst we are looking for candidates who have obtained or are predicted 128 UCAS points (or equivalent), if you have narrowly missed out on these grades, we would still encourage you to apply. We will judge each application on its own merits and so this grade criteria may be adjusted based on personal circumstances. Please contact our early careers team via email at earlycareers@weightmans.com for further information.

What is included in the Weightmans solicitor degree apprenticeship?

As you progress with your apprenticeship you will build a portfolio of evidence of the tasks completed in your role and the experience gained whilst working in legal teams within the business. You will be learning on the job with a robust support network including a Weightmans supervisor and a dedicated buddy. You will have the opportunity to gain experience in a range of departments covering different areas of law during the six-year programme, with the potential for the programme to be tailored to your requirements and career interests.

You will complete your part-time study with BPP University Law School and upon successful completion, you will be a qualified solicitor with an LLB degree in Law and Legal Practice. View the full BPP course outline. One day each week will be dedicated to your learning and studies to ensure that you can maintain a good work/life balance.

We want our future lawyers to be both technically excellent and to have the skills necessary to understand our clients' businesses and our own. Therefore, you will also complete our bespoke learning and development programme throughout the six years, which has been designed to develop your core professional and business skills. You will cover areas including digital literacy, marketing, change management, law as a business and project management, in a varied programme which will help to prepare you for your career as a solicitor and enable you to provide the best service to our clients.

Programme structure

  • Stage 1 – years 1 and 2

    • Apprenticeship study includes: English legal system, contract law, tort or land law, client care, legal research and public law.
    • Your day to day job will be: two placements in two different legal teams where you will learn about our business practices and handle legal tasks.
    • We will also train you in: how a law firm works, personal effectiveness, finance, Microsoft Office and time management.
  • Stage 2 – years 3 and 4

    • Apprenticeship study includes: criminal law, tort or land law, company law, trusts law, professional conduct, advocacy and negotiation.
    • Your day to day job will be: two further legal placements and the opportunity to work within a business services team such as finance, IT or marketing.
    • We will also train you in: understanding our clients, project management, pricing, presentation skills and negotiation.
  • Stage 3 – years 5 and 6

    • Apprenticeship study includes: property law & practice, dispute resolution, wills & administration of estates, criminal law & practice. You will complete your Solicitor Qualifying Exams in year 6.
    • Your day to day job will be: completing more complex work in two final placements and make a decision of where you would like to qualify as a solicitor.
    • We will also train you in: business development, problem solving, decision making, horizon scanning and design thinking.

Why choose Weightmans?

Here at Weightmans, people are an integral part of our culture and business, and your success is our success. We have great flexible working practices for ensuring a mindful and considerate working culture and as such we are signatories of the Mindful Business Charter.

In many of our offices, we have a unique and open office space, supported by our agile working approach for a great work-life balance. With a focus on learning and development of our people, we are proud to have consistently high trainee solicitor retention rates.

We want our apprentices to qualify as solicitors who possess a range of transferable business skills, which enable them to not only understand our business but also be sound advisors to our clients.

Our bespoke learning and development programme has been designed to enhance these skills and alongside this, during the six years, you will have the opportunity to gain experience in our non-legal teams, this could be anything from finance to our innovation team. We believe this will help you to become a more well-rounded legal professional by providing a unique opportunity to understand how all aspects of a law firm work.

“Weightmans is fully committed to investing in its people through their Apprenticeship Academy. As the firm’s first ever Legal Apprentice, I was nervous about taking this new route rather than the traditional university route but with the second to none commitment, support and quality training I received, I know that I made the right decision to opt for a legal apprenticeship.”
Jordan Coulton Legal Executive at Weightmans and England’s first higher legal apprentice

As much as we work hard, we play hard too! Having an appropriate work/life balance is something we value for all our people. Our social calendar is always full, from theatre visits and quizzes to office parties. Each of our offices has an active social committee who are always looking for new members to get involved. We encourage our apprentices to keep in touch as a national cohort too, with national training days and events.

We pride ourselves in our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) work and support a number of deserving charities, both nationally and local to our offices, including Zoe’s Place, Francis House, Simon on the Streets and many more. As part of our commitment, all staff receive two days of paid CSR leave each year, and each office has a local committee who are always looking for new members, and this may be something you would like to be a part of once you join us.

As a Weightmans employee, you will also be entitled to our excellent staff benefits which include:

  • 28 days' holiday
  • Healthcare cover
  • Pension plan
  • Travel loan scheme
  • Employee care scheme
  • Discounted gym membership
  • Dental care scheme

Meet us to find out more

If you have any queries, please feel free to get in touch by email via earlycareers@weightmans.com. We will be attending and hosting a number of events in Autumn 2022 if you would like to come along and find out more about the programme. Further details regarding these events are listed below.

Law fairs & careers fairs

Wednesday 5 October — BPP University Fair (online)
Thursday 6 October — UK University and Apprentice Search (Leeds)
Tuesday 11 October — Legal Cheek Careers Fair (online)
Wednesday 12 & Thursday 13 October — National Apprenticeship Show North-West (Manchester BEC Arena)
Thursday 3 November — UK University and Apprentice Search (Liverpool — Anfield Stadium)

To attend, please contact the university or organisation directly.

Open evenings

Monday 7 November 2022 — Weightmans Liverpool office (5.30-7pm)
Monday 14 November 2022 — Weightmans Manchester office (5.30-7pm) — Only a couple of places remaining
Tuesday 15 November 2022 — Weightmans Birmingham office (4-5.30pm) — Fully booked. Please contact us if you wish to be added to the reserve list
Thursday 17 November 2022 — Weightmans Newcastle office (4-5.30pm) — Only a couple of places remaining
Monday 21 November 2022 — Weightmans London office (4-5.30pm) — Fully booked. Please contact us if you wish to be added to the reserve list
Tuesday 22 November 2022 — Weightmans Leeds office (4-5.30pm) — Fully booked. Please contact us if you wish to be added to the reserve list

Places at our open evenings are allocated on a first come, first served basis, and priority will be given to those who are eligible to apply for our roles now i.e. year 13 or equivalent onwards. You are welcome to bring parents, guardians or teachers. Please email earlycareers@weightmans.com providing the following information:

  • Name
  • Contact number
  • Current stage of education (e.g. second year of law degree or final year of history degree)
  • The role which you are interested in
  • The office and date you would like to attend

How to apply

Applications have now closed for our September 2023 intake. Applications will reopen in Autumn 2023 for a September 2024 start.

Our application process consists of 4 stages:

Stage 1 — Written application

At this stage, we will look at your academic grades and your answer to an open question. This question is designed to check your understanding of how a law firm, and Weightmans, works. We will also assess structure, depth, punctuation and grammar. The quality of your answer will determine if you progress to the next stage, therefore we suggest you spend some time on this and proofread before submitting it. We will review all written submissions individually, in a blind marking process. Please note that the deadline for application submissions is Thursday 1 December 2022 at 12noon, and we are unable to accept applications after this date.

Stage 2 — HIPO-I interactive online assessment

If you are successful at the written application stage, you will then be invited to complete an online assessment called the HIPO-I. This assessment has been designed to test verbal and numerical reasoning along with some situational judgement questions to assess if our values align, you will then be asked to complete a video interview question.

Stage 3 — Virtual Interview

If you are successful at the HIPO-I assessment, you will be invited to attend a virtual interview with a member of HR and a Partner or Principal Associate from the Firm. The interview will be conducted via Zoom and will include a presentation. Virtual interviews will take place w/c Monday 9 January 2023 and w/c Monday 16 January 2023.

Stage 4 — Assessment centre

If you are successful at the virtual interview stage, you will be invited to attend an assessment centre. This will consist of two parts: a group exercise and a written exercise.  Before you attend assessment centre, you will be given the opportunity to attend a one-2-one coaching call with a member of our early careers team. This is not an assessed meeting and is an opportunity for the team to answer any questions you may have, and we will walk you through the day, giving you some tips on how best to prepare. You will also be provided with a written brief so that you can be prepared for the day. Assessment centres will take place w/c Monday 13 February 2023 and w/c Monday 20 February 2023.

We welcome you to contact us if you have any queries regarding this process.

Legal insights programme

Are you in Year 12 onwards and not yet studied law at undergraduate level? If so, we are excited to announce the launch of our brand-new legal insights programme. Our aim is to provide students with an insight into our law firm, the legal career pathways available and to introduce you to members of the firm to discover what they do here at Weightmans and how a law firm works.