At HF, our commitment to social mobility isn’t just a talking point – it’s who we are. We promote non-traditional paths into law and believe that investing in our people’s development delivers shared success. We’re not your typical law firm. We’re a team of passionate, driven individuals on a mission to make a difference. For over 50 years, we’ve been dedicated to providing award-winning legal solutions, promoting home-grown talent, and investing in our people’s professional development. Last year, we held several Apprentice Open evenings alongside our Graduate Open Days and took on our largest cohort of apprentices to date. This year, our open evening will be held in March, hopefully with the same rate of success.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we’re showcasing the incredible journeys of our apprentices. Hear, in their own words, brief glimpses into their journeys:
Sam Fieldhouse, Solicitor Apprentice
I came to the apprenticeship route into law by attending an apprenticeship fair. HF were there and potential apprentices were given tasks and observed by many law firms.
HF offered me an interview which was successful and I enrolled onto the Level 4 Paralegal course and began working initially in the post-room and call handling centre.
That gave me a good initial insight into how the firm worked. I then moved into a First Notification of Loss (FNOL) team on what was at that time the claimant side of the business. My role involved taking instructions from claimants and setting up their claims on our internal computer system.
From there I moved teams and became a legal assistant, helping with drafting, chasing outstanding documents, curating bundles etc. I passed my Level 4 Paralegal apprenticeship and in 2019 moved on to the Level 7 Solicitor Apprenticeship on the defendant side of the business. I began assisting and then took on my own case load dealing with causation concerns. In 2021 I was nominated for “Young Fraud Investigator of the year”.
I’ve recently moved teams to work on defendant fraud issues and I’m due to earn my Law degree via the Level 7 Solicitor Apprenticeship this year. I will then sit the SQE exams and will hopefully qualify as a solicitor in 2026.
Undertaking an apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to gain valuable experience from an early age and work towards my necessary professional qualification, all while being paid a wage. I would not have had the same luxury if I chose the more traditional route of obtaining my law degree directly after stepping out of college.
Vaishali Mistry, Causation Champion
I started my career at HF in 2014 via the Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship route in its very early stages.
I chose to look into apprenticeships at the same time as applying for university as I wanted to see if there was a no-debt option for pursuing law. Luckily, I found one and began my (now 10 year!) career.
I passed the Paralegal Apprenticeship in 2016 and worked my way up in the HF Counter-Fraud Department to Causation Champion in 2019 before beginning the Level 7 Solicitor Apprenticeship which allows me to qualify.
I’m currently in year 5 of 6 and, all being well, will qualify next year! I want to continue progressing my career with HF and further into the future would consider working at the CPS. I highly recommend qualifying via the apprenticeship route – I’ve gained invaluable skills and knowledge all whilst being paid and having no student debt.
Joe Swinnerton, Solicitor Apprentice
Enrolling on the Solicitor Apprenticeship route with HF way back in 2019 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Since taking on this role, I’ve had constant opportunities to improve and challenge myself. A brief stint assisting colleagues led to my very first case, which quickly snowballed into working increasingly complex cases, with some immensely satisfying outcomes for clients and a boost to my motivation.
The route provides a unique blend of practical “hands-on” experience and academic learning. Working in HF’s Counter-Fraud team gave me a valuable insight into the legal profession from day one, gaining first-hand knowledge of the intricacies, demands and nuances of legal practice. Taking the LLB alongside, offers a structured and comprehensive framework, which complements day-to-day practice with developing valuable transferable skills.
That hands-on approach, unique to apprenticeships, has provided me with invaluable exposure to the key skills which form essential components of any lawyer’s skillset, such as developing strong relationships with (excellent!) colleagues and clients, legal drafting, negotiating (often learning to disagree agreeably) and advocacy.
In the immediate future, I plan to take a much keener interest in the advocacy component and to keep doing what I love, fine tuning those skills imperative for any lawyer, and focusing on the impending SQE exams and qualification on the horizon.
The apprenticeship route is rightly lauded as a financially sustainable option, and while those financial benefits are clear, I’d say the practical experience, skills and knowledge gained are something money can’t buy.
Interested in a law firm that’s different? Keep an eye on our website for upcoming open evenings and vacancies.
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