Tom Reeves: My apprenticeship experience
Tom Reeves, a solicitor apprentice at Weightmans, discusses his journey so far
If you had told me 9 months ago that I would be in the position I am now, I would have found it impossible to believe. Up until January 2021, I was completely focused on going to university, having never even considered the option of doing a legal apprenticeship. My college tutors, although supportive, encouraged me to attend university. Apprenticeships were rarely discussed, highlighting the undeserved stigma that they often receive; a stigma that I hope myself and my fellow apprentices can help to break and challenge. I decided to conduct my own research into the different routes and options that were available to me, as an alternative to the traditional route, and when I came across the apprenticeship Weightmans were offering, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to have the best of both worlds; the chance to study and work simultaneously was one not to be missed.
My first four months in my team have been varied and exciting. Jumping from education to a workplace environment has been a challenge, but one I have relished with the help of my team. My tasks have included contacting the Court, drafting applications, liaising with care homes about a variety of our client’s needs and drafting letters. I have also undertaken several ongoing projects, including sending applications to open new bank accounts for our clients, and updating our safeguarding checklists. Keeping in daily contact with my team has helped me make the step up from college to working in a national law firm, and I am extremely grateful for the support I have received.
I have also taken part in various CSR activities. In my second week, I did the Birmingham Legal Walk, a 10k walk around Birmingham raising money for our charities: Lets Feed Brum and Birmingham Dogs Home. I have also taken the lead on our office’s blood donation project, liaising with the head of our CSR to help arrange this. Earlier this month I started tutoring via Action Tutoring, a volunteer organisation that helps deliver education to children who need it most. It has been a pleasure to take part in this, tutoring Year 7 Maths, and I am looking forward to continuing tutoring for the remainder of their school term.
Outside of work, I attended the British Wills and Probate Awards in October. This was an amazing opportunity to celebrate the team’s success, and to gain in insight into the amazing work law firms all around the country do. To attend such an event in my first month was a real privilege, and I enjoyed celebrating the firm being named “Highly Commended” in the National Law Firm category, with my colleagues. I am also part of the Birmingham Trainee Solicitor Society along with my fellow apprentices and have attended various events including the Annual Winter Ball in November.
Even though I have only just started my Weightmans career, it is already clear to me that this one of the friendliest places to work. From a partner saying hello as you pass in the office, to always knowing where to turn if you have a problem, the welcome that myself and my cohort have received has been a key factor in settling in. I am looking forward to continuing my Court of Protection seat and experiencing other areas of the business during my 6 year apprenticeship.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Daniel Sneddon – Tom Reeves' Supervisor
Tom joined us in the Court of Protection team in September 2021, and through his energy and hard work has already proved to be an asset. He is bright and enthusiastic and happy to engage with all team members.
Tom has engaged with tasks at various levels as he has outlined in his blog, and as with the other apprentices, is balancing work with learning - which I know from personal experience requires considerable commitment. Coming straight from education into a very different environment demands flexibility and a willingness to adapt and learn quickly, which Tom has displayed.
Hopefully the practical grounding he is receiving is linking in with his studies, and will continue to do so. Tom has been keen to understand as much as possible about this area of law and is showing a real desire to work well with the rest of the team in order to support our vulnerable client base. In addition to this, Tom is confident enough to bring a fresh pair of eyes and his own perspective to things, and to share ideas he has once he has understood our existing processes and structure.
We look forward to supporting Tom’s continued development over the remaining time he has with the team.