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60 seconds with Alex Lawrence: A paralegal’s pursuit of becoming a solicitor

In a world where learning shows no bounds, the notion that academia ends with school has never felt so outdated. Today, exploring new horizons and building a career that truly inspires and fulfils you is actively encouraged by many. Alex Lawrence, paralegal at Trenches Law, stands as an inspiring example that it’s never too late to pivot.

Like Lisa Hearn, our finance manager, Alex is now undertaking an apprenticeship alongside his full-time role. His ambition to become a solicitor will see him garner key insights and rack up precious hours of on-the-job experience, before being awarded with an official qualification at the end of the process.


Redefining what it means to pursue a career in the legal field, he shares more about his upcoming plans in our quickfire Q&A…


1. You first joined Trenches in April 2021. Can you tell us about your initial career aspirations when you started out?

Having clocked up 12 years’ experience working in law firms, I’d developed a good grasp on the legal landscape throughout my career. But in the pandemic, I was unfortunately made redundant. It was during this time that I came across Trenches Law. Despite lacking telecoms-specific insight, I was pleased to be welcomed on board as a wayleave officer, before becoming a paralegal.


2. What inspired you to pursue a solicitor’s apprentice, after already working as a paralegal?

I’ve experienced a varied scope of work at Trenches — including understanding the ins and outs of the wayleave process and the common hurdles faced by telecoms operators, local authorities and landowners. In my personal development plan, I expressed a keen interest to progress my role further. And, following a series of one-to-ones with my manager, I was offered a position that would enable me to do just that.


3. How did you choose your area of specialisation? 

I don’t have a specialisation within my apprenticeship, so to speak. However, there are some avenues that really pique my interest (I’ll get to those further down the Q&A!).


4. It’s early days, but what are your expectations and anticipations for the scheme?

I’m very aware that the scheme is working positively, based on general reviews and experiences shared by others. As well as gaining more knowledge and insight into other areas of law, I’m hoping that the practical, hands-on training will set me up for future scenarios with clients.


5. And what are you most excited for, looking ahead?

The combination of being able to gain a professional qualification while learning ‘on the job’ — both of which I’m excited to put to use to support Trenches’ continued growth. I’m also keen to expand into other areas of expertise, such as property law — this is something I’ve always been interested in.


6. Talk us through the preparations you’d made, in anticipation of your role:

The passion and interest was already there, so it was more a case of building up the variety of work I’d undertaken. So that’s what I did in transitioning from wayleave officer to paralegal.


7. How do you plan to balance the apprenticeship with your day-to-day duties at Trenches?

A conditional part of the apprenticeship is to commit to 20% of study per week. Trenches, as an employer, has been very supportive of the process — not only encouraging me to ‘go for it’, but enabling me to study during work time rather than out of hours. It’s a good balance!


8. And how will your colleagues at Trenches support you throughout the journey?

Echoing the above, they’ve just been really on board. It’s refreshing to have such a solid team behind me, and feel like I can afford the time to spend on my professional development without feeling guilty. I also received a number of really nice personal statements to support my application, which were all a privilege to read.


9. What specific goals or milestone have you set for yourself, both in the short and long term?

The course is six years, so a relatively large commitment. In that sense, being able to say I’ve completed the apprenticeship and earned the qualification is a huge accomplishment in itself. With steady development along the way, I’m hoping I’ll be able to apply my learnings and ‘give back’ to Trenches.


10. Finally, what does the future look like for you, once you’ve achieved your solicitor’s qualification?

I’d love to be employed by Trenches as a solicitor, by 2029. Watch this space!


Thanks Alex! We’re wishing you all the best on your exciting journey ahead. If you want to catch updates about Alex’s learnings and progress, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter)

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