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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
National Apprenticeship week this year runs from 8th – 14th February 2021 and aims to shine a light on the work being done by both employers and Apprentices themselves across the country. Over the past year, Brethertons have been lucky enough to have a number of Apprentices join us across our 3 sites and Legal Services teams and are already starting to make a big impact in the firm and it has been lovely to see them grow and develop so much already. The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is “Build the Future”, and it is fair to say that our Apprentices are supporting Brethertons with building its’ future as a firm and Brethertons are supporting our Apprentices to build their future careers.
We wanted to showcase some of our current Apprenticeship cohort that we have to get to know them a bit better and to celebrate their successes so far.
Blog 1: Samantha Laing:
"I decided to become an apprentice at 49…
I have worked as a nurse for 30 years, having held a variety of roles, both hands on and managerial, in both acute and rehabilitation settings, I have also been office based doing assessments on behalf of the DWP.
Most recently, I have spent the pandemic working full time in the General Critical Care unit of Coventry and Warwickshire University Hospital. Which has taken its toll, physically, mentally and emotionally.
I developed an interest in law, family law specifically when I was going through a case of my own 14 years ago, not in this area, so no, Brethertons were not representing me, or my ex-husband. I decided to study law at that time, but circumstances changed and I was unable to do so.
So, whilst looking at the government site for apprenticeships, I came across the advertisements for positions within Brethertons.
Much soul searching went on, as I love being a nurse, but, the role has taken its pound of flesh, and I was looking for a new challenge, hence looking at the apprenticeships site in the first place.
I first researched the company, checking on the web-site and reading blog posts from employees, then I searched further afield and found online reviews from customers. I also asked friends who live in the area about their knowledge of the company. On the whole, the feedback was very positive.
I then had to find out if 49 was too old to be considered for an apprenticeship, so, followed a series of enquiries with Heart of England Training, who assured me that although there are financial incentives for companies to employ teenage apprentices, there is no upper age limit.
So, I applied.
This is a whole new learning curve for me… Peppermint seems to be a whole new world for me, and although I have basics in Word, outlook and teams, by no means am I used to using them all the time. The team have been very patient with me, and answer even the most banal of questions with good humour. I look forward to becoming an integral part of the family team here.
Interesting fact about me,
I have lived in Munchengladbach in Germany, Gent in Belgium and Shanghai in China.
I speak haltingly conversational French and Flemish, as I am half Belgian.
I prefer Rugby to football."
Blog 2: Anna Daley:
"During my first week at Brethertons I learned a lot since I have never worked in an office before. I am in the Property Management department at the moment but eventually I will assist all of the departments. On the first day I went on a tour of the building and so far I can close files, sort the post and upload ID evidence to Peppermint.
Everyone has been really friendly and helpful and I look forward to meeting more people.
Fact about me: I have a niece and a nephew."
Blog 3: Jake Reed:
"I joined Bretherton’s after completing my law degree at Oxford Brookes University. In my first 3 months working as an apprentice legal assistant, I have gained valuable experience which could not be taught in a classroom.
Bretherton’s as a firm has been extremely supportive and it is clear that they are eager to increase my responsibilities as my skillset increases, so there are always new ways for me to support the fee earners in the firm. Additionally, Bretherton’s being a medium sized law firm has provided the opportunity to work alongside partners and associates in the firm which has allowed me to gain a better understanding of how cases are handled.
To conclude I have greatly enjoyed my first 3 months working for Bretherton’s and look forward to gaining more experiences in the firm.
Blog 4: Katie Nightingale:
"Hello! I’m Katie and I’m a Legal Assistant apprentice working in the Children & Domestic Violence team. I’ve been at Brethertons since the beginning of December 2020 and I work closely with Kim Lehal, Jemma Bryans, and Monique Wagner amongst others on a daily basis to help keep things running smoothly (or so I’d like to think!)
My day usually begins with ensuring that all new emails and important documents are saved to Peppermint so that everyone in my team has access to them whenever they need. I then carry out general administrative tasks, such as opening new client matters, making calls to courts, updating calendars, and allocating Legal Aid fees. It’s been a steep and sudden learning curve, having never done a job like this previously, but no two days are the same – one day I’m sending off court bundles, the next I’m liaising with clients, and I recently learned how to carry out EV checks and prep cases for billing.
I then check if I have any new tasks to complete for my Business Administration Apprenticeship coursework and participate in training sessions and meetings with my assessor in order to learn more about how the organisation works and how my role fits in at Brethertons. It’s been challenging yet exciting to expand my knowledge of family law in such an immersive way, and I’m eager to learn more in such a supportive and welcoming environment!"
Blog 5: Lewis Middleton:
"I started my journey at Bretherton’s as an apprentice 3 months ago, after completing my A levels in 2020. On my first day as an apprentice, I would not have thought I would be sat here today with a detailed understanding of conveyancing that has gradually built up day-by-day. My subtle growth in knowledge has come from the fantastic team around me! Especially Leo who has definitely ‘shown me the ropes’ of conveyancing and made me very confident in my job role by giving me more responsibilities, progressing my development very quickly.
There is a real opportunity progress your legal career here and Bretherton’s will support you every step of the way. You can see the natural progression first-hand everyday with previous apprentices teaching me, some of which have since moved into different areas of the firm.
This apprenticeship with Bretherton’s has already taught me to take risks, asks questions and the best way to learn is from experiences. With the help of Heart of England working alongside Bretherton’s, it gives you the opportunity to build up your own portfolio. I am continuing to enjoy my time here at Bretherton’s and I look forward to progressing my legal career further.
Blog 6: Liv Romain:
"My names Olivia but I go by Liv. I joined Brethertons in 2019 knowing very little about conveyancing! However, my team quickly helped me understand what goes on and how things are done.
I started by assisting another legal assistant in the Bicester Conveyancing team, I have now moved onto supporting the solicitors in my team. I learnt the correct documents for letters to go out to clients and I am still learning about new documents now. I can email and help clients with some queries they may have which I did not know how to do professionally before starting at Brethertons.
My apprenticeship was for business level 2 and with that I had many assignments I needed to complete. I also had to do maths and ICT. I have not always been best at maths.
I was surprised with myself at how I was able to complete assignments and exams with the workload as my team was very busy however I have passed my maths exam and completed my business level 2 course but due to COVID-19 I have not ben able to do my ICT exam yet.
I am happy with the progression I have made in my year as an apprentice and can’t wait to see what the future brings.
Fact about me-