A newly-qualified solicitor from international law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has become one of the first apprentices in the North East region to qualify via the Solicitor Apprenticeship route.

Ellie Gadsby, who is based at the firm's Newcastle office, recently passed her six-year apprenticeship having joined the programme in September 2017. As part of the programme, Ellie combined part time academic study with work-based learning which allowed her to earn a law degree and postgraduate qualification without the debt of a student loan.

Commenting on the programme, Ellie said:

"The Solicitor Apprenticeship is so important for social inclusion, because it helps to break down barriers to becoming a solicitor by people who may not think they can access the profession otherwise.

The programme allows successful candidates to combine both work and study whilst earning a salary, racking up no student debt and gaining six years of invaluable work experience by the point you reach qualification. It is a new and innovative way to becoming a solicitor and I am very proud to say that I am in the first cohort in the North East to qualify through this programme."

During her apprenticeship, Ellie has gained valuable experience working in several teams across the firm, spending four years in the Leasehold Disputes team, one year in the Property Litigation team, six months in the Agriculture, Farm and Estates team, four months in the Commercial Disputes team and an eight week secondment working in-house at Atom Bank.

"Moving teams allowed me to increase my knowledge in a range of legal practice areas, build relationships throughout the firm and gain a better understanding of how our firm works as a whole," Ellie said.

"I have now qualified into the Agriculture, Farms and Estates team – I spent six months in the team as a trainee and really enjoyed the range and quality of work that team deal with.

"It's great to work with well-established clients and alongside other professionals (be that agents, accountants or other solicitors) to achieve a common goal. I have grown in confidence throughout the Apprenticeship and I feel well equipped for starting my new job as a qualified solicitor."

Nigel Emmerson, Partner and Head of WBD's Newcastle office, commented:

"The Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme is an opportunity to nurture fresh talent from an untapped pool of aspiring lawyers and it means that skilful people are not lost to other sectors purely because of the cost.

We take pride in developing home grown talent as part of this trailblazing programme, which helps to make sure we have a continued pipeline of exceptional and talented people. Huge congratulations to Ellie for becoming one of the first solicitors to qualify though the programme."

Click here for more information on WBD's Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme.

At Womble Bond Dickinson, social mobility is an important part of our responsible business programme. The firm has developed a range of programmes and initiatives, including our Solicitor Apprenticeship, designed to opening up new routes into the legal profession and improving social mobility for people who want to pursue a career in law. To learn more about social mobility at WBD, click here.

Ellie Gadsby


Ellie Gadsby, Solicitor at Womble Bond Dickinson