As Level 7 solicitor apprenticeships are growing in popularity, breaking 'old-fashioned' stigmas as an alternative route into a career in law, securing a role as a solicitor apprentice is increasingly competitive. This article will talk you through what you can do to ensure that you submit a strong application and perform well in your interview, based on my personal experience as a solicitor apprentice, from pre-application to the final interview stage.

Applying for your solicitor apprenticeship

Pre-application stage

It is important that you dedicate some time to conduct some research before completing the application form. Below is a list of areas that you should look into prior to starting your application for the solicitor apprenticeship:

The solicitor apprenticeship programme and its structure

At WBD, the solicitor apprenticeship is a six-year programme, whereby upon completion, you become a fully qualified solicitor with a nationally recognised law degree.

Rather than going to university and completing a training contract, the apprenticeship route enables individuals to qualify as a solicitor, with the additional benefit of earning whilst learning and gaining valuable experience in the law firm.

Solicitor apprentices are employed on a full-time basis (35-hour contract) and attend university on a part-time basis.

At Womble Bond Dickinson, you will have one dedicated study day for university, and for the remaining four days you will work as an apprentice at the firm.

The roles and responsibilities of a solicitor apprentice

To learn what life is like for solicitor apprentices at Womble Bond Dickinson, read our blogs and watch our videos on the apprenticeships page, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to learn more.

The skills and experience required for the role

The firm

Do your research on our firm to demonstrate that you have thoughtfully considered your application. This includes information on the firm's sectors, clients, targets, values, culture, employee networks and any awards and accolades. Demonstrating great commercial awareness of the legal market and wider economic client is also important to showcase.

Stay up to date and attend current events 

Attend apprenticeship open evenings for more insight into the programme. Make yourself stand out and ask questions – it will give you something to write about in your application.

Consider completing the WBD Forage programme

WBD Forage is the firm's new virtual work experience programme available to students and potential applicants.

It is comprised of four different modules to support students with:

  1. Identifying roles in a law firm
  2. Writing a personal statement
  3. Insight into the nature of legal tasks
  4. Preparing a business development pitch

The WBD Forage work experience programme can be completed in your own time, receiving a certificate at the end, can also be added to your CV and is something to write about in your application or talk about in your interview

Application form

Once you've completed the research and preparation set out above, this will help you fully understand and provide the best answers possible in your the application form. Although the application process can vary from year to year, here are a few tips to help:

  • First and foremost, conduct any research you can (as set out above) beforehand.
  • Keep the date of the deadline in mind and mark it in your diary or calendar – and make sure you complete your application in time.
  • Take the time to complete the form to the best of your ability – carefully consider the question and your answer and do not rush.
  • Stick to the word limit – keep it concise and relevant to the question. Anything beyond the word limit will not count.
  • Be accurate – insert correct information and use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Ask a family or friend to read your application to you and proof-read your form before submitting.


Although the interview process set out below is based from my own experience, and yours may be different to mine, this will provide you with good insight into the expectation and conduct of interviews for early talent legal careers.

The thought of undergoing an interview may be daunting - and especially for those who do not have much employment history or interview experience - going into the process blindly can be even more intimidating. However, in my experience, the reality of an interview has always been much better than I expected.

The purpose of the interview is for your potential employer to get to know you, but remember that this goes both ways -it is as much of an interview for them as it is for you. You also need to know whether they are the right employer for you and the working environment is one that you will excel in.

Stage one – assessment centre day

Successful applicants will receive an email congratulating them on their submission, inviting them to the first stage interview.

My first stage interview comprised of three components:

Group prioritisation task

The ability to work well with others is integral when working in a law firm - both within your team/department and with external clients - so this task assesses your team-working skills.

Alongside this, this task will assess your ability to manage your time and priorities in a sensible and efficient manner to measure essential organisational skills.

Written exercise

The written exercise is conducted in traditional exam conditions. During the exercise, you are given an unseen question to answer against the clock - whilst ensuring that your spelling, punctuation and grammar is accurate.

Speed interview

Unlike the conventional approach to an interview, my first interview was very much like speed dating. The speed interview consisted of each candidate rotating seats with different members of the firm: ranging from partners, trainee solicitors and HR representatives every five minutes - and having a 'conversation' on a chosen topic or question.

Stage two – work placement

For those who are successful in the first stage interview and demonstrate the competence, desired qualities and attributes of what it takes to be a solicitor apprentice - you are then invited to take part in the second stage interview.

Three-day work placement

At WBD, the second stage interview consists of a three-day work placement. Essentially, this enacts the typical day/week in the life of a solicitor apprentice.

In my interview, across the three days I spent a day each with the Planning & Infrastructure, Commercial and Operational Property departments. On each of the days, I was supervised by a member of the team and was given a number of tasks to undertake and submit as part of the overall assessment of my performance and employability as a solicitor apprentice.

I really enjoyed this experience, as it was a great opportunity for me to gain insight into the various departments and the type of work I'd carry out as a solicitor apprentice.

Partner interview

During my three-day work placement, I was also scheduled to have an hour-long interview with one of the Planning & Infrastructure partners and a HR representative.

Interview tips

  • Practice makes perfect – ask a family or friend to ask you interview-like questions and analyse your approach
  • Research – as with the preparation for the application form, revisit your research to impress the interviewers with your knowledge
  • Make it count – it takes seven seconds to create a first impression, so make sure you create a positive one
  • Dress to impress – you want to show that you are serious about this opportunity, so make sure you dressed smart and presentable at your interview
  • Be confident and remain positive throughout – you have nothing to lose and only so much to gain
  • Take care of your wellbeing – get enough sleep the night before and have something to eat and drink before the interview.
  • And lastly, be yourself in the interview - and do your absolute best.

This blog is written by Amela Kasemi, first-year solicitor apprentice in the Planning & Infrastructure team in Bristol at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. 

Amela Kasemi