By: 5 February 2024
Breaking stereotypes: a non-traditional path to becoming a solicitor

Carl Popple is a first year solicitor apprentice in the MOJLA judiciary, coroners and access to justice team at the Government Legal Department, based in Leeds.

I’ve been a civil servant for 12 years, starting as a court usher for HM Courts and Tribunals Service at Bradford crown court before moving to the Ministry of Defence. In September 2023, I took the leap to join the Government Legal Department as an apprentice.

The apprenticeship caught my eye from a civil service jobs alert email. I hadn’t heard of the solicitor apprenticeship scheme before – I thought that the ideal candidate was more likely to be a student coming out of high school rather than someone who hasn’t been in an academic environment for 15 years. That made me feel old!

But as I read the details, I found that GLD would provide an opportunity to work in the legal sector full-time and that I’d be given time off to study for a law degree at no cost to myself. Seeing this an opportunity to finally become a solicitor, I decided I would give it a go.

The judiciary coroners and access to justice team have been great and made me feel really welcome. With colleagues here in Leeds, across in Manchester and down in London, we have a widespread team.

I’ve felt able to contribute to the work of my team by taking part in meetings with policy clients, conferences with counsel and reviewing submissions. It’s been great getting involved in cases and matters that have a real-life impact. This has meant that I can discuss the topics I’m studying with people in my team and apply it to the cases that I’ve been working on. It’s helped my understanding of the topics and makes me feel more confident with the work that I have been set.

I’m looking forward to a long career with GLD and completing the apprenticeship.

Image: Carl Popple, solicitor apprentice at the Government Legal Department.
Emma Cockings
Emma is the junior editor for Yorkshire Legal News.