Can you really qualify as a lawyer without having to go down the traditional route?
Alternative pathways to qualifying as a lawyer are gaining popularity as more people look for ways to enter the legal profession without the traditional route of law school…
There are lots of alternative roles such as becoming a paralegal or legal secretary within a law firm but with the likes of CILEx and CLC qualifications turning heads as a great alternative to the LPC… is there really another route that could simplify the process for so many youngsters dreaming of a career in law?
This week, we’re chatting with Holly Moore, founder of ‘thatlawblog’ and the first in-house solicitor apprentice in the UK working at ITV. As part of her 6-year apprenticeship, she spent 6 months as a secondee at a city law firm, in their intellectual property litigation team. Holly is now a Legal Advisor at ITV, in the brand protection team. She is also a Junior Board Member at The O Shaped Lawyer.
𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧?
You can catch Rob and Holly talking about:
- The structure of the apprenticeship and why this worked for Holly
- Differences between working in-house and in private practice
- Common misconceptions about legal apprenticeships
- Top 3 tips when applying for an apprenticeship
- Opportunities arising from becoming an apprentice solicitor
- Holly’s inspiration for starting ‘thatlawblog’
Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Learn about solicitor apprenticeships and the route to qualifying as a solicitor.
- Hear about the misconceptions surrounding legal apprenticeships.
- The experience of studying whilst training as a solicitor.
- The O Shaped Lawyer
- The Law Society of England and Wales
- Gain exclusive benefits and bonus content by signing up on Legally Speaking Podcast’s Patreon page!
Holly’s background and career journey:
- Holly started her apprenticeship at ITV in September 2016 at 18 years old.
- Holly became the first solicitor apprentice at both ITV and the in-house world as part of the first ever cohort of solicitor apprentices.
- Holly previously completed work experience in both solicitor and barrister roles while in school.
- At college she took English Literature, Psychology, and Law as A-levels.
- Holly chose the solicitor apprenticeship route over full-time university because she felt that going to university would leave her feeling “stuck” without connections in the legal industry.
- This choice was also influenced by the introduction of the apprenticeship levy by the government, which made solicitor apprenticeships available for the first time in 2016.
- 6 years later Holly is a qualified lawyer through this route.
Structure of the solicitor apprenticeship:
- The solicitor apprenticeship is a 6-year course, which is the same amount of time it takes to qualify as a solicitor through the traditional route of completing a degree, LPC, and training contract.
- The traditional route does not always happen in a linear fashion and can take longer due to taking a gap year or not securing a training contract immediately.
- The solicitor apprenticeship is structured in a way that allows the individual to work and study at the same time.
- Holly spent the first 4 years working at ITV and completing a part-time Law degree, while also rotating through different legal departments within the company.
- Holly spent the final 2 years studying for the SQE exams and rotating through different seats at ITV.
- She completed a secondment in private practice as a way to gain a well-rounded experience before qualification.
What departments Holly worked in and what she enjoyed most?:
- Holly enjoyed all of her seats during her solicitor apprenticeship.
- Each 1 allowed her to learn different skills and work with different people.
- During her apprenticeship, she spent a year in commercial marketing legal at ITV; a year in studios production where she worked on some of her favourite shows; a year in global distribution which was focused on licensing and sales; 2 years in commissioning, where she worked on agreements for the development and commissioning of shows for ITV; and a year in the brand protection team, which focused on intellectual property for ITV globally.
- The seats were not regular training contract periods and were based on business needs and personal preferences.
- The brand protection team was her favourite and where she ultimately qualified after finishing her apprenticeship.
Holly’s experience working in private practice:
- Holly found the experience of transitioning from an in-house trainee to a private practice trainee to be interesting, as there were many similarities and differences between the 2.
- Holly found her technical and industry knowledge, as well as prior experience in intellectual property, helped her during the secondment.
- It also gave her a good opportunity to compare the 2 and identify ways in which the in-house and private practice teams could work better together.
- Holly explains secondments and trainee swaps can help bridge the gap between the 2 and improve collaboration.
Differences between working in-house and in private practice:
- Holly found some aspects of the work were similar between her experience as an in-house trainee and a private practice trainee, but other aspects were quite different.
- Holly found being taken out of a business and being a support service to a law firm where the lawyers are the main event was a shock to the system.
- Holly struggled with not being able to immerse herself in an industry and business, as they were working across different clients and industries in the law firm.
- Holly found it difficult not being very close to the clients as she was used to working with internal clients every day, and having a sense of familiarity with the business.
- She enjoyed the experience of quickly switching between different industries and gaining knowledge about different businesses.
- Holly found the time recording system to be manageable, as she is organised.
- She found it challenging to work in such a huge team, and found the structure and management of the team to be different from her experience in-house.
People considering the solicitor apprenticeship route:
- Holly chose the solicitor apprenticeship route for several reasons.
- Firstly, she was not comfortable with the idea of taking on university debt, as she is a first-generation university student and didn’t have anyone to gain experiences from.
- Secondly, the financial aspect of the apprenticeship was a major factor for her, as ITV pays for everything, including her salary and study fees – which was a huge benefit for someone from a working-class background.
- Holly also liked the idea of doing something different, as this was a new route to qualification.
- She thought it could be a good way to gain experience without needing connections, which is often seen as a requirement to enter the legal profession.
- Holly thought this route would be perfect for her, as she could make it what she wanted it to be and not have to rely on external factors.
- You have 6 years of work experience behind you, and that experience is invaluable.
- It’s not just about the salary, but the experience you gain and the connections you make.
- The apprenticeship route is not second grade.
- It is an alternative route to becoming a solicitor that offers different benefits and opportunities.
- It is important to have different options available for people who may not be able to afford university or may not want to go through the traditional route.
- Holly thinks this is why the apprenticeship route is becoming more popular and widely accepted in the legal profession.
Holly’s 3 tips for applying to apprenticeships:
- Holly’s main advice for someone considering a solicitor apprenticeship would be to thoroughly research the program and the company you are applying to.
- Tailor your application to each specific opportunity, and be clear about your motivations for choosing this route.
- Do not copy and paste your answers.
- Show your motivation and dedication through any part-time jobs, volunteering, or other experiences you have had.
- The interview is often the easiest part, so take your time on the application.
- Make sure you are applying to places you truly want to work.
- Don not let misconceptions about apprenticeships hold you back.
- Remember it is a great way to get hands-on experience, no university debt, and a salary while you’re learning.
Opportunities Holly has had as a solicitor apprentice:
- Being a solicitor apprentice has provided Holly the opportunity to gain a wide range of experience through working in different teams and industries.
- It has allowed Holly to grow both professionally and personally.
- It has provided Holly opportunities for networking and mentoring.
- It has allowed Holly to share her experience and help others make informed decisions about their careers.
- The financial benefits of the apprenticeship route and the lack of university debt are also significant advantages.
- Overall, for Holly, the solicitor apprenticeship has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
- The SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Exam) is a new regulatory process in the UK that aims to standardise the qualifications and training of solicitors.
- It is a 2-part exam covering both legal knowledge and practical skills.
- It has replaced the traditional legal education route of attending law school followed by completing a training contract.
- The SQE is known to be very challenging and it requires a lot of preparation and hard work.
- The first part, SQE 1, is a multiple-choice test covering 14 areas of law.
- The second part, SQE 2, is a practical skills test that includes drafting, interviewing, legal research, and writing.
- Some students choose to prepare for SQE with the help of a course provider such as Barbri.
- Holly describes the SQE as being difficult and intense, but mentions the experience helped her to refine her multiple-choice exam techniques, and enhance her practical skills.
- Holly has had a really positive experience with using social media to share her journey and help others who are considering a similar path.
- Her passion is helping others and making a positive impact.
- Holly has been able to use her experience to create a valuable resource for others.
- She has been able to connect with other legal professionals through social media and formed a supportive community of like-minded individuals.
- Holly’s decision to start a blog and share her journey has been a successful one.
Holly’s proudest achievement to date:
- Holly’s proudest achievement to date is qualifying as a solicitor, as it was the culmination of 6 years of hard work.
- Holly’s other accomplishments and opportunities have come as a result of her solicitor apprenticeship – such as working with Barbri, the Department of Education, and The Law Society.
Holly’s meeting with the President of The Law Society of England and Wales:
- It was a valuable and meaningful experience for Holly to have the opportunity to share her experiences and perspectives with the President of the Law Society and other solicitor apprentices.
- Holly highlights the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the legal profession and how the solicitor apprenticeship route can play a role in promoting it.
Learning about alternative routes:
- It is important for young people to have access to information about all the different routes available to them.
- Young people should not feel pressured into choosing a certain path because it’s what others are doing or what they think is expected of them.
- Apprenticeships, for example, can be a great alternative to traditional university education and can provide valuable hands-on experience and opportunities for career growth.
- It is important for career advisors and educators to provide information about all the options available to students and to help them explore what path might be the best fit for them.
The Social Mobility Business Partnership:
- Holly has been involved with the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) for a number of years and have taken on various roles within the organisation.
- She has been involved in organising work experience for young people who may not have had many opportunities in the past.
- Holly has helped guide them through the experience, providing them with information and tools to help them make informed decisions about their careers.
- Holly has also been involved in the ITV section of the SMBP, providing students with work experience days, giving them talks and helping them see what a career in the industry can look like.
- Holly has a strong passion for helping young people from diverse backgrounds and giving them the opportunity to succeed in their chosen profession.
The O Shaped Lawyer:
- Holly has been actively involved in promoting the apprenticeship route and alternative paths to becoming a solicitor.
- The O Shaped Lawyer focuses on developing soft skills and becoming a well-rounded professional.
- Holly is passionate about helping young people become informed about the different career options available to them and to help them make informed decisions about their future.
- Holly believes soft skills are an important aspect of being a successful lawyer and is actively involved in promoting the development of these skills.
Holly’s future plans:
- Holly has a lot of different goals and aspirations for her future career – both in terms of her role as an in-house intellectual property lawyer.
- Holly is open to new opportunities and willing to continue learning and growing in her field – whether that be through continuing her education or taking on new projects and initiatives.
Holly’s advice for apprenticeships and the SQE:
- Do not be afraid to reach out to people who are currently on the route that you’re considering.
- They can provide valuable insight and advice.
- They can help to give you a realistic idea of what to expect.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it be from a mentor, a teacher or a career counsellor.
- They are there to support you and help you make the best decision for you.
- Remember, it’s your career and your future, and it’s important to take the time to make the right decision for you.
5 powerful quotes from this episode:
- “Think about what would make you happier, and choose that”.
- “Look at every option before you make the right decision for you…”.
- “So really look into all of your routes, and think about what it is you want to do, and what interests you”.
- “So do your research, really look into where you’re applying to and make different applications for each place”.
- “Have clear in your head what the reason is that you want to do this, and don’t apply somewhere that you don’t think you want to work’.
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To learning more about the exciting world of law, Robert Hanna and the Legally Speaking Podcast Team.
00:08 Rob Hanna:
Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. You are now listening to Season 6 of the show. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I am delighted to be joined by the wonderful Holly Moore. Holly was the first in-house solicitor apprentice in the UK, working at ITV. As part of her 6-year apprenticeship, she spent 6 months as a secondee at a city law firm, in their intellectual property litigation team. Holly is now a Legal Advisor at ITV, in the brand protection team. She is also a Junior Board Member at The O Shaped Lawyer. Holly is a strong advocate for international pathways to qualifying into the legal profession – sharing her journey on her super impressive legal blog, ‘thatlawblog’. So a very warm welcome Holly.
00:56 Holly Moore:
Hi, thank you for having me.
00:59 Rob Hanna:
Oh, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. And before we dive into all your amazing projects, experiences and all the good value your bringing to the legal community, we do have a little customary question here, on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series Suits, in terms of its reality, if you’ve seen it?
01:22 Holly Moore:
I’m gonna say 4.
01:24 Rob Hanna:
01:25 Holly Moore:
It’s my experience, not very realistic apart from the long hours and lots of research work.
01:33 Rob Hanna:
There you go. You’ve justified your 4 and we’re gonna move swiftly on. So to begin with Holly, would you mind telling us a bit about your background and your career journey to date?
01:43 Holly Moore:
Yes. So I was the very first solicitor apprentice both in ITV and in the in-house world. And I was in the first ever cohort of solicitor apprentices. So that was in 2016. And it all kind of feels like fate, because when I was at school, kind of all the timelines just lined up for me to allow this to happen. And kind of to get from where I was to where I am now, in school, I went for some work experience. And I did both solicitors and barristers work experience. So I wanted to get a feel for both passions, you know, see if I was interested in either or both, because quite a lot of my teachers at school told me I was good at History, I was good at English, maybe have a look at Law and see if I’d like to do that, which I did. So I went on to college and did my A-Levels and I did English Literature, Psychology and Law. Following my first year of college, I then started you know, everyone starts looking at UCAS, at uni application, and what they’re going to do afterwards, and I think full time uni just never really appealed to me. And there are a lot of reasons why I chose the solicitor apprenticeship route, which I’m sure we’ll come on to later. But that was definitely 1 of them. So I started looking into other way that I could qualify as a solicitor or that I could get into the legal industry in your, you know, getting a foot in the door, I didn’t have any connections, I didn’t know anybody. And I felt like I would go to university, get my degree and be a bit stuck, which quite a few people do. And you know, I talked to a lot of people now from my blog who are in the same position. So I started looking at apprenticeship and luckily enough 20, that was 2015, and 2016 was the first year that solicitor apprenticeships were actually introduced, following the apprenticeship levy by the government. So I kind of read up on them and thought this is literally the best thing that could ever happen for someone like me, applied to every single 1 that I find, and luckily got the job at ITV. So I started there in September 2016, 18 years old, fresh out of college, as the first in-house solicitor apprentice in the UK. And then 6 years later, I’m a qualified lawyer and 1 of the first qualify through this route.
03:40 Rob Hanna:
And congratulations, I think that’s just a beautiful story. And I love everything about that. But let’s, as you say, let’s dive into that a bit more because you know, you were this first in-house solicitor apprentice in the UK, now Legal Advisor at ITV, I’m sure you pinch yourself every time when you hear that. So can you explain more about the structure?
03:59 Holly Moore:
Yes, absolutely. So it’s a 6 year course which sounds very long, but when you break it down, it’s exactly the same amount of time that the traditional route takes to qualify as a solicitor. And that’s if you do everything 1 after the other. So you do a degree, LPC, training contract, if that was the traditional route, which we all know for a lot of people, that’s not always the, you know, it doesn’t always happen like that. Some people take a year out, they might take a gap year, you might not get a training contract for 2, 3, 4 cycles, and you might take longer to study. So, it was sort of the shortest period that you do to qualify as a solicitor. And the way that the solicitor apprenticeship was broken up is that you were working and studying at the same time. So with the new SQE route, which I’m sure we’re also going to talk about, we structured it in a way that it was the first 4 years was my Law degree. So I worked at ITV and did 4 years of a Law degree and at the same time, and it was 4 instead of 3 because I did part time, because working full time and studying full time just, that would have drove me crazy. So that was the first 4 years. And all of that time I was moving around ITV’s different legal departments. And then the final 2 years, sort of acts as your training contract period. So, during that time you study for your SQE, and take the SQE exams. And during that time, I still rotated around seats at ITV and also did a secondment in private practice, which wasn’t actually required, but was something that I wanted to do before I qualified to make sure that I had, you know, a well-rounded experience.
05:23 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, and it sounds like you definitely did have a super rounded experience. And you touched on it there in terms of legal departments. But which departments have you worked in and which did you most enjoy?
05:34 Holly Moore:
It’s a very good question, a really difficult question actually. I enjoyed every single 1 of my seats, I really did. I took different skills from each of them. I got to learn from different people, each of them. But the seats that I actually did, so I did my first year in commercial marketing legal at ITV. And just to mention as well they weren’t the kind of regular training contract seat periods. So you know, usually you do 4 6 months, whereas mine was down to business need, team lead, and also myself saying I want to go in this team, I want to experience this. So it was all a bit, it was random, some of them and the lengths and things like that. So I did a year in commercial and then I went and did another year in studios production. So that is where all of the content is made. And you do things like talent agreements, location agreements, and you get allocated shows to work on. So I got to work on some of my favourite shows in that team. That was, that has to be up there, 1 of my favourite. It was so varied and so fun. And then my third year I went on to do global distribution, which was licensing out formats and bringing in format. So that was very contract heavy. That was really interesting as well and very sales focused and business focus. And, and from there I went on to commissioning at ITV. So that was, you know, people come to us and say, I’ve got a really great idea for a show. And then the legal people get involved, and we write up all the contracts or development agreements, so to ask people to develop a pilot for a show, or to write a script for example, and deliver that to us, to see if we want to take it forward. And then eventually commissioning agreements, so actually commissioning a show to be made, to eventually appear on ITV. So that was also really exciting. I was there for nearly 2 years in that team. Because business need was such that so many formats were coming in, so many ideas, the workload was so high that, that they needed someone who knew what they were doing to sort of stay in the team. And then my current manager actually poached me from that team and insisted that I go and work for her for a little bit. So this was, I think, my fifth year, I joined the brand protection team. And at that time the brand protection team was just becoming developed, so it was me and my manager. And that was it. And that was a really great position for me to be in because I hadn’t experienced that yet, I’d always been within big teams. And now I’d gone to sort of a small development team, and really got to work closely with a very senior member of the team. So brand protection focuses on IP, all forms of intellectual property for ITV globally, so not a small job, I can tell you. I spent a year in that team, and then went on my secondment and that was in intellectual property for 6 months, and then came back and finished my apprenticeship, also in the brand protection team. And if we’re going to talk about favourites, it obviously has to be the brand protection team, because that’s now where I’ve qualified after finishing my apprenticeship.
08:17 Rob Hanna:
Oh, well, thank you so much for giving such a comprehensive overview there and some of your takeaways and some of your experiences. It sounds like a wonderful kind of journey that you’ve been on and getting all of these different aspects, and, you know, again, things that you’re watching on TV, probably during your childhood, now you’re sort of watching and working on which is super super cool. So as part of your apprenticeship, you also spent 6 months as a secondee at a city firm. So what were your experiences like working and seeing what it’s like in private practice?
08:42 Holly Moore:
Yeah, they were really interesting. It was, it was an interesting experience for me, to go from an in-house trainee to a private practice trainee, there are so many parallels between the 2, and I don’t think I anticipated it being as different as it was. I think having that training in-house really helped me when it came to going on this secondment and being a trainee for 6 months in a private practice team, rather than an in-house team. You know, I had a lot of technical knowledge, I had a lot of industry knowledge and you know, prior experience in IP, so that really helped me. But it was a really great way to kind of compare the 2 and not only compare the 2, but actually think, what can we do better as in-house lawyers to help private practice lawyers give us the best service. And also what can you be doing in private practice to help us as in-house lawyers and bridge the gap between the 2, because sometimes there is a bit of a gap. And I think that a lot of things could be improved by kind of secondments and trainee swaps and things like that. So that was how it worked with us. We did a trainee swap and it was a really great experience for everyone.
09:41 Rob Hanna:
I love that and I like that idea of the trainees swap as well. So maybe people listening in, obviously, you know, they’re gonna be excited about hearing ITV, you know, large corporate, and you know, you work in-house at obviously, a organisation now opposed to a city law firm. So, how different is it in terms of working in-house versus private practice? You know, what are some of the differentiators if people might be considering not sure whether training there or here?
10:05 Holly Moore:
It’s very different, it’s really different. In my experience, I mean, some things are similar. So I would actually say the work itself is quite similar. So the work I didn’t find the biggest shock to the system, to be honest, because I thought I’ve done things like this before, you know, I’ve done similar things, I’ve seen this, you know, I know how to communicate with certain people. But the things that shocked me that I didn’t think would were, being taken out of a business and being essentially a support service to a business and going into a law firm where the lawyers are the main event, you know, you are the main people there, and you work for all different clients. And that was something that I actually quite struggled with was not being able to immerse myself in an industry and in your, you know, the business that you’re working for and your 1 client. And with IP obviously, every business has IP. So I was working across, you know, media industry, the furniture industry, pharma, all sorts. So there was, while that was an amazing experience to be able to quickly switch between different industries and actually gain a lot of knowledge, it was hard for me coming through, coming from the background that I’d already been somewhere for 4 years, and I felt like I knew everything about the business, then being taken out of that and put in somewhere where I knew a little about every business. So I think that was something that, it was, it was also a positive and a negative for me because I liked being immersed in the business, but at the same time, it’s good to have all of these different experiences within different industries. But I think not being very close to the clients is something that I struggled with, because I get calls from my internal clients every day. And I’ve worked with them for such a long time. So I think that was, that was something that was very different. And then obviously, there’s the time recording, which actually, very controversial opinion, did not bother me in the slightest. So many people, you know, slate it to the ground, they hate it, I did not mind it at all. I think I’m inherently a very organised person. So having the clock on my screen, where I’d click into each thing that I was doing, see how long I’d spent on it and record that time, actually, I didn’t mind whatsoever. So that’s something I think that I took away that I didn’t think I was going to. And obviously working in such a huge, huge team, in-house teams there, you know, individually, quite small at ITV, we have over 100 lawyers, there’s a lot of lawyers, but actually the teams themselves are smaller, and the IP team, where I was actually had a huge team. So there was over 100 lawyers just in the IP team. So that was crazy as well to try and figure out how to manage that, how to manoeuvre that, what the kind of structure of the team was, and yeah, it was very different. Very different.
12:32 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, I guess it’s good in a way, because you get to see different things so early on, and you can pick and choose what you like. And I guess that leads nicely on to, you know, the solicitor apprenticeship route really appealed to you, as opposed to that traditional 1, you know, why? You know, give us your sort of top reasons why, again, for people who might be considering your route.
12:51 Holly Moore:
So there was so many reasons why I chose this route. And I think all of them actually have come to bear. So they, you know, I feel gratified that this is the correct route for me now, having finished it. But at the time, you know, I was comparing the 2, I was comparing apprenticeship versus university, and I mean full time university. So when I looked at full time uni, I was like, okay, I’m gonna have this much university debt. There’s nobody in my family that had gone to university before. I’m a first-generation university student. So I didn’t have anyone to ask about it. I didn’t have anyone whose experiences I could gain from, or that could sort of help me through that process. So I think that sort of didn’t eliminate it for me, but made it a lot more difficult. And then obviously, there’s financial reasons. So looking at a solicitor apprenticeship, I have absolutely no debt at the end, your business that you work for pays for everything, they pay for your salary, which is, you know, amazing to be earning a salary from such a young age, they pay for all of your study fees, which is obviously amazing. I think that’s 1 of the biggest benefits of taking this route, of course, is the financial side, you know. I’m working-class background, you know, my family didn’t necessarily have enough money to support me while I was at university. And that was obviously a factor as well looking into that. And I thought to myself, why not do something different, if this is brand new, this is, you know, a brand new route to qualification. Maybe I wouldn’t even qualify if I go through the university route, because there are so many people going through that route, to then get to the, get to the end of your degree and not have a job, not have a training contract, then have to do the LPC which costs crazy money as well. It’s, there was so many things that added up for me that I thought why not try this, try something different. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. But, I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer, it was just that the way of me getting there, I was gonna get there somehow, but this was the route. I think as soon as I saw it, I was like, this is perfect, because I can get experience as well. Something that people talk about a lot is, you have to have connections to get into the legal world, you have to have this, you have to have this, and I didn’t necessarily have any of that. So I thought this route, no one can take anything from me in that way. I can make it what I want to make it.
15:03 Rob Hanna:
Yeah. And boy, have you done so and congratulations once again. And I love that you’ve been documenting it along the way. And I guess what are some of the main or common misconceptions about apprentices?
15:15 Holly Moore:
I think a really common misconception is that they are kind of second grade to the traditional route. That has not been my experience. Everyone who I’ve met has not been their experience either. And if anything it might be another controversial opinion, but if anything, I think that this route is so rich with experience, with academics, it has everything. It has everything that all of these, you know, big law firms, big in-house corporates, everything that they want you will have, who else can qualify with 6 years of work experience behind them, around different teams, in private practice and in-house, with no university debt, and you know, be the youngest that you could possibly be being a lawyer and have all of that experience behind you. I just couldn’t see what university, full time university could give me that this couldn’t and you know, some people do prefer to go to university, so I don’t think that this is for everyone. And I’ve been very clear on that. I think that it’s certain people suit certain groups. So it’s important to have these alternatives for everybody. But I think that’s a massive misconception that this is second grade route to the traditional route. And I think our misconceptions are, you know, apprentices treated badly, don’t get good work. My work that I’m so interested in, I think some of that is a product being in-house. In-house is constantly busy. We are constantly having new things come in, all of the teams are busy, we never really have downtime. So by necessity, I was given things that are probably above my, you know, grade, above my ability, but I was given them and said, oh can you have a go at that. So my experience has been way and above what I would have expected for someone of my level in every seat. And the amount of trust and independence that you’re given is amazing. And obviously that depends on you know, where you are, and where you go. But my experience has not been that I’ve been given, you know, admin work, low level work, treated as a second grade member of the team, that has never been my experience. And I suppose the third one would be financial, again, in terms of salary. So I think a lot of people think that apprentices are paid really badly, which isn’t the case. And regardless if you go to full time university, you’re not going to be getting a salary, with a apprenticeship you’re getting the salary, so anything is good. And by the time you get to your sort of training period, your last 2 years should be on what trainees are on. So it doesn’t put you at any disadvantage. If anything, it might put you at an advantage because all of your experience.
17:40 Rob Hanna:
I think very compelling reasons folks, so it’s something to seriously think about. And when people are thinking about it, they’re gonna need some tips for standing out. So what would be your top 3 tips when applying to apprenticeships?
17:52 Holly Moore:
My main 1 that I tell everybody, it’s my first thing I tell everyone, do your research. You can pick out and now being on the other side, you know, I’ve been part of the recruitment process now, over the last year for about 3 or 4 roles, within the business, and we can see a copy pasted answer from a mile off. So do your research, really look into where you’re applying to and make different applications for each place. I cannot stress it enough. Do not copy paste your answers, do not leave other business names in your application and really work out actually, why is it that you want to do this. You know, what are your reasons. Because I know my reasons, but yours might be totally different. And so I think it’s really important to think about, you know, why this route? Why law? You know, if your reason is for financial reasons, maybe don’t say because I can earn a lot of money. Think about, you know, why is it that you want to take this route specifically, because I think that’s what they’re looking for, they’re looking for commitment, they’re looking for potential. And don’t worry I think if you don’t have a lot of experience. When you’re 18, people aren’t expecting you to have a lot of experience. A part time job can bring so many transferable skills to your applications, volunteering work, again, shows your motivation, shows your dedication, and shows that you’re a good person. So anything like that, that you can put on your applications will make you stand out. And will make you know, a light bulb go in the recruiters head and think, okay, that they’ve, you know, got motivation. They know what they’re doing. They know what they want. Let’s get them in for an interview. And I always think the interview actually is the easiest part. Because you can just make it into a conversation and you can really talk to these people about why you want to be there. It’s the application that’s the hardest bit. So take your time with it. And don’t rush your answers I think. Do your research. Have clear in your head what the reason is that you want to do this, and don’t apply somewhere that you don’t think you want to work. Don’t just apply somewhere for the sake of it.
19:56 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, really, really great points there. And I love that you say don’t rush as well, you know, take your time. You know, it’s so important. Like don’t just copy paste and send out loads and hope for the best. It’s much better to really dive in and research as you say, and really put a good quality compelling application together rather than loads of halfhearted applications, because that’s going to actually increase your rejections, which obviously, they are not going to be a great result for you. So let’s talk about some of your wider market commentary, because in your article with the Law Society Gazette, you stated “you have had countless amazing opportunities and been challenged and supported in a way that would not have been possible had solicitor apprenticeships not been implemented”. So can you tell us a little bit more about some of the opportunities that you’ve had?
20:41 Holly Moore:
There are too many to even go into. I mean, the last 6 years has really been a roller coaster to be honest. It’s 1 thing after another. I mean, just having the opportunity to work in-house, to work so closely with so many people, and have so much experience to work in so many different teams and be able to really create a role that was for me and that I wanted and to create your own brand. I think this has really given me the opportunity to grow as a person, to grow as a lawyer and to learn from so many people. I cannot underestimate that enough. I mean, the people that I’ve learned from are all so different, but they’ve all had a massive impact on my career. And just the opportunity to work alongside them and to learn from them, is such a huge 1 for me. And I think like outside of work, just the opportunity to be able to network with people that I would have thought way out of my league, you know, the President of the Law Society, going to the Law Society and speaking at some events about solicitor apprenticeships, really promoting those, speaking to partners at law firms, helping law firms set up solicitor apprenticeships, and mentoring people coming through the route like, there are so many things that I’ve done, that I would never have thought that I could be doing 6 years ago, you know, I thought I’d just do it, and that I’d qualify as a solicitor, and that’d be it. But it’s not it, because there’s so many other things, so many other opportunities that have come out of this, and just being able to kind of share my experience to help people and to help make their own decision, even if that’s not a solicitor apprenticeship, but to know about them and have all of your options available, to be able to make a real informed decision about your steps. And even if you’re a career changer, I’ve spoke to so many people who are in, you know, their 30s 40s that have said, I’m going to do a solicitor apprenticeship because I’ve trained and qualified in it, but now I want to be a solicitor and this is a great way for me to do it and get experienced. And I think that’s absolutely incredible for people to be able to do that.
22:42 Rob Hanna:
I think it’s, it’s a game changer in many respects. And I love that you’re 1 of the, the trailblazers and pioneers with all of this. And as with that you were part of the first cohort to take the new solicitors qualifying exams. So yes, it’s come around to the SQE. What were your experiences of taking the exams? And how did you prepare, prepare, if I can get my words out, for them alongside work?
23:06 Holly Moore:
The SQE, it was crazy. It was, it was difficult. And I haven’t, you know, I’ve been very open, my experience on my Instagram, and kind of across my socials about that. It was really really hard 2 years for me. Being the first, you know, within the first round of students to hit the SQE think it was a really hard thing to do, because we didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know what was expected of us. We didn’t know. There was so many unknown. There was no one we could ask. There was no one we go to, which has obviously been my experience throughout the apprenticeship. But, with a degree, a degree is a degree, regardless whether you do it while you’re working or while you’re not, the same kind of things apply. Whereas the SQE was so new that the only people we could ask were the people who had created it. They weren’t going to tell us how to take it and how to do well. So it was, it was a real learning curve. And it was a real, it was a hard time actually because I wanted to do the best that I could do. I felt a lot of pressure to do the best that I could do. And because I’d done, you know, I’d done well in my degree, I think people assume that you’re going to do really well. And I thought you know that’s not necessarily the case. And you never want to get ahead of yourself with things like this. In terms of prep I prepped with Barbri. So they were part of the apprenticeship course. I prepped with them. So I didn’t actually get a choice in who I prepped with, but I am so happy and so glad that Barbri were, you know, the ones that prepped me for this, because I cannot speak highly of them, you know more highly of them. They, I think they did the absolute best that they could. And I think they continue to do the best that they can with the SQE prep. The SQE 1 obviously is a massive multiple choice exam. So that took 40 weeks of prep, and covered all 14, I think 13 or 14 areas of law. It covered mock exams, it covered, you know, sets of mock questions, loads of activities, loads of reading, but I think the main revision technique, I could, you know, advise anyone on taking SQE 1 and passing would be to practice the questions. These questions are so different from degree questions. You know, no one does a degree in multiple choice exams. So, to go from you know, essay and problem writing, which we’re all used to, to just multiple choice exams, and also having answers where you’ve got 5 answers, 2 or 3 of them could be correct. You’re looking at them thinking, I don’t know which 1 this is because 3 of these could be right, to really practice and, you know refine that technique of taking that exam. So that was the experience that I had for SQE 1 one and then SQE 2 was actually very quickly after SQE 1. So, I took the first set in November, took SQE 2 in April, the following April. So I did a 12 week course for SQE 2. So I kept all of my knowledge from SQE 1 and applied it to SQE 2, spent the 12 weeks learning how to pass the practical exams. So I had the interviewing, drafting, writing, legal research, things like that. So there was, it was extremely intense. If I could describe it in 1 word, it would be intense.
26:04 Rob Hanna:
Well, we like the word intense and some people describe me as intense, so, I can, I can link to that. Time for a short break from the show. Are you looking for a way to get your firm working more efficiently and profitably, while ensuring a better work life balance for your team? Well, if you haven’t considered our sponsor Clio, I’m here to strongly recommend that you do. I absolutely love working with Clio. Not only is it the world’s leading legal practice management and legal client relationship management software, it also has a really solid core mission, to transform the legal experience for all. Something I personally support. What sets Clio apart for me, it’s their dedication to customer success and support. There are lots of legal software’s out there, but I know from talking to Clio users that their support offering is miles ahead of the rest with their 24-5 availability by email, in app chat and over the phone. Yes, you can actually call in and speak to someone. Clio is also the G2 Crowd leader in legal practice management in comparison to 130 legal practice management software’s and has been for the last 14 consecutive quarters. G2 Crowd is the world’s leading business solutions review website. You can check Clio’s full list of features and pricing at www dot Clio dot com forward slash Legally dash Speaking. That’s www dot C L I O dot forward slash Legally dash Speaking. Now back to the show. And you touched on social media. And you know, it’s something that I’m super passionate about as well. And in 2020, you started That Law Blog that I mentioned in the introduction on Instagram, and you’ve amassed over 11,000 followers. So what inspired you to start your blog?
28:07 Holly Moore:
You know what, I, I think just 1 day, I thought, I’m going to start a blog and start sharing my journey. If no one follows it, no problem. Not, you know, I started it purely to be able to share my journey to maybe help people, because I was getting a lot of questions, you know, off the back of some articles that I’ve done, some interviews, and I had a lot of questions on LinkedIn, I had a lot of people asking me my email address and things like that. And I thought if I can put this all in 1 place and 1 platform and actually put a load of information on there, that can be a resource in itself for people, that, you know, they can have their questions answered without even having to ask me, because the questions are already there. And I think the turning point for me to actually have the confidence to be able to do that was finishing my degree, because I’d focused for years on my degree, I graduated with a first and I thought you know what, I am going to do it because I might have information that might help people. And even if it doesn’t, it might just help someone. So it’s worth doing. So I started it, had no idea what I was doing. And I think the legal community actually at that time was quite small still. And since then, there’s just been a massive uptake in legal Instagrams, people, all different backgrounds, all different routes. And I love following the other legal Instagrammers as much as I love doing my own, because I’m learning from them every day as well. And we’ve made such an amazing community and like having podcasts like this, being able to speak about people’s experiences, give your opinion like that, I think it’s so helpful for people coming through this route because I didn’t really have anything like that to look at, when I was making these decisions. So I think it just makes me happy that we’re able to do this to potentially help a lot of people make decisions on their careers.
29:46 Rob Hanna:
And you’re absolutely right and you know, people who follow the show, you know, we’re all about careers, you know, legal careers advice and trying to help people and you do a tremendous job with all of your content. So thank you for all that you do and you know sticking with legal careers, you know you started your legal career you’ve worked with the Law Society Gazette, Barbri and Get Jump, Get the Jump rather, what’s been your proudest achievement to date?
30:08 Holly Moore:
Such a hard 1. It’s such a hard 1 because I think, I honestly think my proudest achievement to date is simply qualifying as a solicitor. With everything that’s happened, and you know, the last 6 years, I did my final degree exams through a pandemic, I studied SQE, the first ever sitting of SQE, convinced myself I’d failed both exams. You know, I don’t say it very much, but I’ve worked so hard to be able to qualify as a solicitor, and it never seemed real to me. So all of this other stuff, you know, working Barbri is incredible. Being able to work with the Department of Education is amazing. The Law Society, like it’s all extremely surreal for me, it doesn’t feel like it should be me in that position. There’s a lot of imposter syndrome and things like that, but I think everything became real when I got that certificate, when they said, you know, you’re admitted as a solicitor. And that was the whole 6 years, it was all for that. To be able to say, you know, I’ve worked as hard as I’ve done it, I’ve got the role that I wanted, I’m an IP lawyer, I do a job that I love, and I think that’s, that’s probably my proudest achievement. And all of that other stuff has just helped me to get there. And it’s now amazing that I have more time away from studying, to focus on these other projects and these passion projects that I have to working with Barbri, working on my Instagram, writing up articles, doing things like this, and I’m so pleased that I’m able to do that now.
31:32 Rob Hanna:
And yeah, you do fantastic work. And I know you’re also a strong advocate for social mobility and alternative pathways to qualifying within the profession. And you touched on this before, but in June, you met with the President of the Law Society of England and Wales discussing your goals and opinions. And can you explain more about that meeting?
31:53 Holly Moore:
Yeah, that was probably 1 of my most surreal moments. And 1 of my most nerve wracking moments, actually, as you know, as, as a solicitor apprentice at the time, I was a couple of weeks away from getting my results for SQE 2. So I was on edge anyway and this just made it even worse. But it was amazing. So I think the President, the current President of the Law Society Stephanie Boyce, she has taken a real interest in solicitor apprenticeships and in social mobility of course, and diversity in the legal profession. And she’s done some amazing work on that front. And she met with myself and I think 6 or 7 other solicitor apprentices all at different points in our journeys, all from very different backgrounds, and all with different opinions on the route, which was incredible, and I learned a lot from the meeting. So we sat and we all spoke about our experiences. She spoke about, you know, what she thought of the, of the route and what they’re going to do move forward for the and with the solicitor profession. And it was amazing really to feel heard by the very top of the profession, and to feel as though it was a real, you know, it was a real alternative route. And it wasn’t the second route, but a route alongside training contract. So a lot came out of it. And I think I learned a lot from all of the other people and from her and it was, yeah, it was an amazing day.
33:05 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, and just another great experience that, you know, you’ve managed to notch up as part of this legal journey of yours, which continues to go from strength to strength. So why do you think there’s a significant need for young people to learn about alternative routes?
33:18 Holly Moore:
I think, you know, we go to college, and I’ve heard so many people talk about this, we go to college, we go to sixth form, and all that is pushed at you is university, full time university. It’s UCAS applications, it makes the colleges look good, it gets there, you know, percentages of students that have gone to uni. And that isn’t necessarily the best route for everybody. There are so many routes into professions, into careers, you don’t even have to do an apprenticeship, you could just start as an entry level in an entry level role. You might go on to an apprenticeship in 2 or 3 years, you might not, you might work your way up that way. There’s so many different ways of doing things that why should everyone be pushed through 1 route that isn’t for them. And I think that was, that was what I found when I was at college was that my teachers, my career’s advisers were pushing towards university applications, because that’s what everyone else was doing. And I knew that that wasn’t me. I didn’t even apply to university in the end because I knew that it was either this or nothing. This was what I wanted to do. And it’s so important for young people to know what their options are, and to have information on all of those because actually, ultimately, you might pick none of them. But having that information allows you to pick none of them knowing that none of them for you, rather than doing something that you think is the right thing because it’s what people have told you is the right thing. And then years later discovering that you could have done something else that would be way more suited to you, your learning type, you as a person and where you want to be, which is what I’m getting now is a lot of people messaging me saying, I wish I’d have known about this 2 years ago, I wish that someone would have told me, I wish that you had your blog, you know, over 2 years ago, because I would have chosen this, I would have tried to do this. And it’s, it’s important for young people feel as though they have options and to not feel as though it’s 1 thing or nothing, because it really isn’t.
35:05 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, no really, really well said. And we absolutely support that, particularly here on the show and making sure people have more access and knowledge and understanding so they can make better informed decision. So you are also part of the Social Mobility Business Partnership. But can you tell us more about your role there?
35:22 Holly Moore:
Yes. So I’ve been involved with them ever since I joined ITV when I was 18. So I joined ITV and SMBP is a charity and they put on work experience every year for lots of different clusters around the UK. So there’s, you know, London cluster, Manchester, Birmingham, Norwich, Glasgow, they’re, you know, they’re all over. They put on work experience for people who otherwise wouldn’t have it. You know, people who don’t have any connection, don’t have a lot of opportunities in their area perhaps. So through colleges and schools, we get these people in, these young people who have a passion for certain professions, they go into businesses, and we give them work experience. And it’s something for them to put on their CV and experience that they have to make informed decision. So we’ll teach them about all alternative routes, all paths to whichever profession and they can make their own choice going forward. And then there’s an alumni network that they can also sign up to after and further, you know, mentoring and things like that. So it’s really amazing. I’ve watched it grow over the last 6 years into this huge thing and at the beginning, I’ve hold quite a few different roles within the SMBP. So I was cluster head for a couple of years at Manchester, which means that I organised the entire work experience and went up there and kind of guided students through the work experience in Manchester, which was incredible experience, and you really get to see how much it affects them and how much it helps. And now I work in the ITV section of it. So we offer work experience, days of work experience every year for these students, bring them into the offices or remote as we did during the pandemic and give them lots of talks, we give them lots of tools and things like that, and, and help them to kind of see what careers in this profession can look like. And then they also go to law firms and loads of other places that they can really get a well rounded experience. So it’s really amazing, and every year, it kind of affirms to me that this is such a great thing to be doing, and to kind of give back and help people and everyone is really on board with it. Love it.
37:21 Rob Hanna:
Yeah. And I love that you you do that. And you give back because obviously you’ve achieved a tremendous amount of success, but you’re not greedy with it, and you want to help and give back. And I think that’s 1 of the most beautiful things we could all do in this world. And, you know, sticking with that you’re also a board member, a Junior Board Member at The O Shaped Lawyer. So what is the O Shaped Lawyer all about? And what does it mean to be part of the Board?
37:41 Holly Moore:
Busy, busy girl. I like to fill all of my time, it seems. So O Shaped is basically about becoming a well rounded person, a well rounded lawyer, a well rounded professional. So focusing on those soft skills that aren’t always focused on, you know, outside of academics, outside of technical skills and things like that. Working on things like communication, commercial awareness, you know, business acumen, there’s so many other skills that we need to have as junior lawyers working our way up the profession. And they aren’t always pushed within businesses, within law firms. And I think O Shaped is trying to combat that, by, you know, giving out courses, given out talks and things to help people to become more well rounded, and have these skills that aren’t always pushed. So obviously I’m a massive advocate for that being in-house and knowing how much these soft skills really play into my role. I would actually say that soft skills are more appreciated than technical skills in-house, because you need to have, you know, you’re working everyday with non-lawyers, and you have to be able to translate what you’re doing into their language. And they need to be able to translate what they’re doing into your language. So being able to work with these people and really push these other skills is such a huge thing, and it’s something I’m massively on board with. So being a part of the board is great, because we get to, you know, talk to the main board, and talk between ourselves, and it’s all made up of junior members of the profession from all different backgrounds again, so we are able to kind of debate with each other, to think about different ways that we can improve on the profession going forward, and really make it a more kind of inclusive and well rounded profession as a whole.
39:28 Rob Hanna:
Yeah, and I love what it all stands for. And I’m a massive advocate for it, because you’re absolutely right. You know, having the technical skills as a lawyer is a given, having the soft skills is fundamentally important, not just in the legal profession, but in any business. So I think it’s really important you shine a light and highlight that and these things. So, you know Holly, you’ve been on an amazing journey, and we’re just getting started. What are your future plans? What do you, what, what does the future look like for you in terms of your legal journey?
39:52 Holly Moore:
This is a funny thing. I mean, I’ve been saying for years and years, you know, this is I’ve been aiming for this as my end point, qualifying as a solicitor, but actually, this is the start point of your whole career. So I’m now actually trying to get into the mindset of that, the, you know, this isn’t the end. It’s the end of the apprenticeship. It’s the end of you know, studying for now. But this is actually the start of my career. So I need to start thinking about where am I going to go, what am I going to do. So obviously I’ve qualified as an intellectual property lawyer. I’ve remained in-house so I made that choice a few months before I qualified. I wanted to, 1 stay in-house and 2 stay at ITV. I love it where I work. I love my job. So, I think in my future, I see ITV. I mean, I would never say never to anything, because I always think I give everything a chance and want to try everything. But I can see myself staying in-house very long term, if not forever with my career, but there’s so many things that I want to experience as well. So I want to obviously continue with my legal blog and grow that and hopefully influence and help a lot more people, to make these decisions and see wherever that takes me. There’s a lot of things that I’ve been talking about with a lot of people that I can’t talk about, but there’s you know, a lot of projects outside happening, to, you know, raise awareness and social mobility, diversity, all of those agendas and help people that way. And my manager keeps taking the, making, making jokes at me, will say about potentially studying again, because I’m a massive nerd, and I can never stay away from studying for too long. So we’ve been talking about how that worked, and continuing to study while I work since I’ve already done it for 6 years, so why not continue. And about my kind of career development going forward, you know, where do I want to be in 5 years, that I haven’t 100% figured out. But where I am now, I think there’s a lot for me to learn still, there’s a lot of challenges. Where I am though, I think we’ll see.
41:47 Rob Hanna:
We will see, and I’m super excited to see how it all unfolds. But finally, before we look to wrap up, what advice would you give to those looking to take the apprenticeship route and or the SQE?
41:59 Holly Moore:
Do your research into both the SQE and solicitor apprenticeships. They’re still relatively new, but there is so much information out there, if you go and look for it and hunt it down, not only on my blog on lots of other people’s and just generally, I mean, Google searches, Google goes a long way. So do your research. Also, really think about your options. Look at every option before you make the right decision for you, just because I took this apprenticeship and it worked me, that doesn’t mean you have to, it doesn’t mean it’s the best route. For me it was. But for someone else, they might want to go to university full time and that might be the route for them. There is nothing wrong with that. So really look into all of your routes, and and think about what it is you want to do, and what interests you. And what makes you happy. At the end of the day, I think that’s the main thing. Think about what would make you happier, and choose that 1.
42:50 Rob Hanna:
I love it. I love it, how you sort of finish up on on happiness. That’s so so important. You know, we’re not here for a huge amount of time, so it’s important that we are happy. So if our listeners would like to learn more, which I’m sure they will after today about the solicitor apprentice route or That Law Blog, where can they find out more?
43:07 Holly Moore:
So you can follow That Law Blog on Instagram. Holly Moore on LinkedIn, you can add me as a connection. We’d love to connect with many of you as possible. And that’s it.
43:18 Rob Hanna:
Awesome. Well, I am sure people are definitely gonna be reaching out to you, following today’s discussion. I’ve absolutely loved having you on the show Holly, learning about your journey. It’s truly inspirational and how much education you’ve bought people about these alternative routes to the law. So from all of us on the show, wishing you lots of continued success with your career, but for now, over and out.
43:41 Holly Moore:
Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.
43:51 Rob Hanna:
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you liked the content here, why not check out our world leading content and collaboration hub, the Legally Speaking Club over on Discord goes to our website www dot Legally Speaking Podcast dot com for the link to join our community there. Over and out.