Q&A with Kennedys Legal Apprentice, and BPP Apprentice of the Year (Level 5+) winner, Laura Birks

Legal apprentice, Laura Birks, has had plenty to celebrate in 2017 already, having won the BPP Apprentice of the Year (Level 5+) Award. BPP Professional Apprenticeships caught up with the 22-year-old award-winner from Kennedys law firm to ask Chelmsford-based Laura all about her success.

Laura, congratulations! How does it feel to be crowned Apprentice of the Year (Level 5+)?
I feel very honoured as I know there would have been a lot of other strong applications to compete with. The fact that the judges found my entry to be worthy of winning is something to be proud of. I didn’t really know what to say when I found out I had won! Trying to contain my excitement and enthusiasm whilst in an open plan office was difficult to say the least! I want to use this award to help me promote everything to do with legal apprenticeships too because they are another great way for students to get into law.

What did your family, friends, and employers all think about your award win?
Everyone has been so pleased for me. I’ve received so many congratulatory messages and I shared my win on my social media pages, so I’ve had some amazing responses. All my friends were particularly impressed that I had won considering I only recently started my apprenticeship scheme. Kennedys also shared my win online and I was asked to attend the prestigious TARGETJobs awards in Mayfair as a guest for BPP on March 30th, 2017.

How does winning a BPP Apprentice of the Year award help towards your career goals?
I’m working hard to qualify as a solicitor and I think part of why I achieved the BPP Apprentice of the Year award was my reference to how, in my first piece of coursework, I secured a first class grade. It is my goal to excel in every piece of coursework and exam going forward, and winning this award has motivated me even more to achieve the best possible results. I have a lot to live up to now with the title ‘Apprentice of the Year’ in my category.

What are your career goals?
I’d like to achieve a first class LLB degree through BPP, achieving the highest possible grades. I will commit myself to the apprenticeship side of the scheme, building upon my solicitor portfolio, and I will be a fully-qualified solicitor by the time I am 27. I would like to then progress through the managerial roles and take on more responsibilities.

How long have you been with Kennedys?
Since September 2014, I’m based in its Chelmsford office. When I first started, I was assisting paralegals on small claims and low value work. After six months I began assisting a senior associate on some of her higher value matters. The senior associate I was assisting became a partner in May 2016 and I have been assisting her on very high value cases too. I get quite a lot of responsibility with the tasks I am given. I also have my own case load which helps seeing what day-to-day solicitor life is like.

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