Aspiring Chelmsford solicitor named Apprentice of the Year 2017

We are pleased to announce that a legal apprentice in our Chelmsford office has beaten 90 other candidates to win her category in the BPP Apprentice of the Year Awards 2017.

Laura Birks was named Apprentice of the Year in the Level 5 and above category by BPP, the organisation that provides the professional education for her legal apprenticeship. The award recognised Laura’s commitment to training, her excellent exam results and her career aspirations. Laura will receive her award at the Guildhall in London on 3 May.

Laura applied to our two-year legal apprenticeship programme in 2014, a year after completing her A-Levels at Moulsham High School Sixth Form and following a year’s experience working as a legal assistant in a local law firm.

She successfully completed the advanced level apprenticeship in civil litigation with us last year and is now in the first year of a six-year solicitor apprenticeship, which we introduced in 2016 in conjunction with BPP. Upon successful completion, Laura will be a qualified solicitor with a law degree from BPP University. The scheme is backed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We were one of the first UK law firms to offer a legal apprenticeship when we launched our programme in 2012 and we have so far recruited 35 school-leavers through this route. We became one of the first UK firms to offer the new solicitor apprenticeship route and have put six of our apprentices, including Laura, on to the scheme.

I take enormous pride in winning this award. It’s recognition of hard work and determination. University isn’t for everyone and I’m glad I took the apprenticeship route to start my legal career. Due to the quality of our training, Kennedys has trust and faith in its apprentices and I work on challenging and interesting cases. I go to court and attend client meetings, so I am getting the experience that helps me to put the theory I am studying into practice. And I’m being paid to learn too, which puts me ahead of my peers who went to university.

Laura Birks, Legal Apprentice, Chelmsford

I am very proud of our apprenticeship scheme and it continues to go from strength to strength. We open our doors to talent wherever we can. We introduced our apprenticeship scheme in 2012 to diversify our talent and to give bright school-leavers the opportunity to get into law without having to go to university.

Some young people can’t afford university fees and some people prefer a more hands on approach to university. Laura’s achievements are testimony that this scheme has been very successful and I’m delighted to see her and five others go further forward to our solicitor apprenticeship. Laura has made a valuable contribution to our Chelmsford office and I congratulate her on that.

Nick Thomas, Senior Partner at Kennedys

Our commitment to apprenticeships was recognised earlier this month at the Apprenticeships4England Awards, when we were highly commended by the judges in the Apprentice Employer 750-4,999 employees category.

Apprenticeship opportunities are available in our offices in London, Chelmsford, Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Taunton. Further details about the scheme can be found in the legal apprenticeships section of our careers page.