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National Apprenticeship Week Q&A: Tom Connell


To mark National Apprenticeship Week, we’re putting some of our Harrison Drury legal apprentices in the spotlight through a series of Q&As.

Next up is Tom Connell. Since joining Harrison Drury in 2021 Tom has worked in our Clitheroe and Preston offices working in commercial property team. Tom has completed his Level 3 CILEX Paralegal Apprenticeship and is currently studying his Solicitor Apprenticeship at BPP Law School in Manchester.

What made you choose an apprenticeship?

I knew that the traditional university route wasn’t for me, I wanted to gain practical experience where I could apply what I learnt from my studies directly to my day job.

Choosing an apprenticeship is the best thing I have ever done. It’s an excellent route into a career as a solicitor and has allowed me to establish a solid foundation that will enable me to develop a successful future in the legal sector.

What are the advantages of taking the apprentice route?

It has provided me with an excellent pathway to qualifying as a solicitor, while gaining experience working at a law firm with a fantastic reputation.

What attracted you to Harrison Drury?

The variety of different services the firm provides means I can experience a range of training across different sectors.

Its focus on people, as well as being surrounded by experienced and supportive colleagues has helped me to progress and develop my career.

What made you choose a career in law?

I’ve been interested in law from a young age and decided to study it at college. I went on to complete an extended practice qualification in accessing justice in the English legal system. I thoroughly enjoyed my course, and it made me want to pursue a career in law.

How has Harrison Drury supported you through your apprenticeship?

Every day I gain hands-on experience and am surrounded by supportive colleagues who go above and beyond to help me improve my knowledge – I’m learning more and more every day.

What do you enjoy most about working at Harrison Drury? 

It’s all about the people. I enjoy working alongside experienced colleagues and having such a supportive supervisor who invests her time in my development, whether that is personal, work or study related.

Earning a salary also gives me the chance to enjoy holidays and weekends, along with regular work social events, which means I get to have a good social life.

What has been the most important lesson you have learnt at Harrison Drury?

I’ve learnt about the importance of teamwork and having a supportive network by your side at all times.

How do you manage your time between learning and client work?

As part of my apprenticeship scheme, the firm allocates one study day a week, which allows me to reflect on the previous few days of work and spend time learning.

What common challenges do you face day-to-day and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is having to balance my workload in the office with exams and coursework.

However, with my designated study day and helpful supportive colleagues, I have managed to establish a good work/life balance.

What would your advice be to someone considering an apprenticeship?

If you are at high school or college, make use of your career advisors to discuss what is out there. Research the different paths into your chosen field to find what is best for you.

Having work experience also makes you a stronger candidate when applying for legal apprenticeship programs.

Interested in finding out more about becoming a legal apprentice? Our apprenticeships page has more details about the opportunities at Harrison Drury.

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