An apprentice’s perspective: Muhammad Merali

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, we caught up with some of our apprentices, past and present, so that they can share their stories and experiences of their apprenticeship journeys at Kennedys.

Our award-winning UK legal apprenticeship programme, launched in 2012, sees us actively recruiting from schools and colleges, welcoming people to the firm from the age of 18. Partner Jeremy Riley outlines how the apprentice programme has positively impacted Kennedys by diversifying the workforce. He says: “It has been really rewarding to see how our apprentices have flourished and become an integral part of the team. The apprentice programme has opened us up to being able to recruit some real talent, at an early stage of their careers, which we may have missed out on if we focused solely on university graduates. The apprentices are also our future partners, which is great to see.”

In the latest instalment of our apprentice interviews we spoke to Muhammad Merali, a Legal Apprentice based in our London office.

“As the legal profession is evolving faster day by day, it is important to recognise opportunities which have the potential to give you a competitive advantage. The legal apprenticeship offered by Kennedys outlines a route which does exactly this. Leaving me with no student debt and the extra six to seven years of work experience is, in itself, priceless,” says Muhammad, commenting on why he decided to undertake an apprenticeship.

I have seen first-hand that Kennedys is dedicated to the development of its apprentices and invests more than just money into its people.

Muhammad Merali, Legal Apprentice

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Muhammad works in our insurance division, within the firm’s professional liability practice, and he has particularly enjoyed visiting courts for hearings and trials. “It is great to see work undertaken by Solicitors come to fruition, argued by a Barrister and before a Judge. Visits such as these require preparation such as filing documents, adhering to legal processes and liaising with different parties, which makes this more enjoyable due to the ability to implement legal and practical knowledge learnt during my apprenticeship,” says Muhammad.

Upon successful completion of the first two years of his apprenticeship scheme Muhammad will be awarded with a ‘Level 3 Certificate of Higher Education in Legal Services’ - the equivalent of a first year of an undergraduate law degree. “If the option arises, I hope to carry on the next four to five years and, if successful, attain the LLB and fully qualify as a Solicitor,” Muhammad states.

Speaking on the opportunities stemming from the apprenticeship, Muhammad says: “The work Kennedys does heavily revolves around the insurance market, which gives me the chance to work on a wide-range of cases with an array of different types of insured clients. It will also aid in building fundamental connections at the start of my career. After the completion of the apprenticeship, I may also be offered the opportunity to stay on at Kennedys to practice as a qualified fee-earner.”

Describing his experience of the legal apprenticeship at Kennedys as “intense, exciting and awesome,” Muhammed also outlined what his advice would be to anyone considering a legal apprenticeship. He comments: “With no student debt, years of on-the-job experience and the ability to start earning from the offset, it is a package difficult to fault. However, this apprenticeship requires time, dedication, hard work and, most importantly, a genuine interest in studying and practicing law. As an apprentice your time will quickly fill up with study and work tasks, compared to the traditional university route. In many ways the apprenticeship is more intense and requires greater motivation.”

This year’s theme for National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Look Beyond’, encouraging parents, teachers, employers and young people to celebrate the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, apprentices and communities.

Last year at The School Leaver Awards, Kennedys won the ‘Best Degree Apprenticeship’ award and we are a former two-time winner of the ‘Top Employer in Law’ - at the same awards.

For more information about what it is like to work at Kennedys, click here.

Kennedys Careers - Capturing the Greatness