To mark the second anniversary of the Joanna Hughes Solicitor Apprenticeships we have brought together four of the places where you can hear Joanna speak about apprenticeships and more. (The four recordings below are in reverse date order, starting with the most recent.)

Dr Sally Penni MBE

1. Women in the Law UK Talking Law Podcast interview with Dr Sally Penni MBE, February 2024 (audio)

Talking Law with Dr Sally Penni MBE: Joanna Hughes on Apple Podcasts

In this podcast Joanna and Dr Sally Penni MBE discuss why solicitor apprenticeships are an attractive route into the law for employees and employers alike, and why Joanna is so passionate about them.

Sally, as well as being the host of the Talking Law Podcast, is a practising barrister at Kenworthy’s Chambers, Founder and Chair of Women in the Law UK, TEDx Speaker, Bencher at Gray’s Inn and author of 16 books. Other Talking Law Podcast interviewees include the current Attorney General, Cherie Blair, David Lammy and Dr Sandie Okoro OBE.

Some of the things that are discussed in addition to solicitor apprenticeships:


  • Socio-economic diversity in the legal profession
  • The City Century collaboration of City of London law firms on solicitor apprenticeships – a group of 50+ law firms that invest in this initiative to identify, attract, recruit, onboard, educate, network, develop and qualify significant numbers of talented and committed solicitor apprentices
  • How entrants into the legal profession should not feel that they need to conform to a dominant culture
  • People who inspire Joanna and how she relaxes

2. Festival of Apprenticeships in National Apprenticeship Week, February 2024

Bing Videos

Jo recording the Festival of Apprenticeships video

In this video Joanna speaks for the first seven minutes about the features and benefits of solicitor apprenticeships, and where to find opportunities. The second seven minutes is the main event – two Year 1 solicitor apprentices at DLA Piper speaking about their experiences so far. She also speaks about the salary of solicitor apprenticeships, a topic that isn’t discussed enough.

Some of the things that are discussed in addition to solicitor apprenticeships:

  • Paralegal apprenticeships and the CILEX route to qualification
  • Joanna’s role as judge in the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards and Patron of the Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance
  • Joanna’s role as judge in the UK Social Mobility Awards and the Apprenticeship Guide
  • Joanna’s role on the UCAS Apprenticeship Stakeholder Group
Challenging University

In Joanna’s uplifting conversation with Toni Kent, keynote speaker, event host, stand-up artist,  podcaster and writer, they discuss: where Joanna’s passion for solicitor apprenticeships comes from; why she gave up practising law to promote the solicitor apprenticeship route; why solicitor apprenticeships are vital in expanding access to top legal careers; how working with professional outreach into schools is key to ensure as many young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds as possible hear about the opportunities offered by solicitor apprenticeships; and how solicitor apprenticeships benefit individuals and law firms alike; and how solicitor apprentices are essentially exactly the same as the original trainee solicitor role – just younger – bringing diversity of thought and innovative spirit to the legal profession.

Some of the things that are discussed in addition to solicitor apprenticeships:

  • Joanna’s memories of her secondary school, Westbourne Comprehensive in Ipswich
  • The importance of careers education in schools, especially for those without networks
  • Why Joanna has always been aware of her lack of social and cultural capital compared to her friends and peers who were brought up in middle class backgrounds, and why 93% Club is important in this regard
  • How it is exhausting trying to assimilate to a dominant culture and why it shouldn’t be necessary (referencing work of The Bridge Group and Dr Louise Ashley)

4. The Big Assembly in National Apprenticeship Week, February 2023

Bing Videos

Joanna Hughes speaking at The Big Assembly

In this two-minute video recorded for school pupils, Joanna ‘busts’ three myths about solicitor apprenticeships.

The three myths

  • Myth #1: the solicitor apprenticeship route does not have same prestige as the more traditional route to becoming a solicitor – Joanna talks about how she knows from conversations with the biggest law firms that there is absolutely the same prestige attached to the solicitor apprenticeship route. Indeed, there are lots of benefits of solicitor apprenticeships for employers as well as the employee apprentices. To take three examples: (1) diversifying their legal talent, including by age which brings innovation and diversity of thought; (2) opening up interesting conversations with clients; (3) use of the Apprenticeship Levy.
      • Myth #2: You won’t have the same opportunities to become a qualified solicitor at the law firm where you train – many of the biggest law firms have also signed a pledge to guarantee that is the case. And more importantly, Joanna hear from law firms and their clients about how exceptionally well solicitor apprentices perform and on qualification they will have four years more experience that traditional route trainee solicitors at the point of qualification.
      • Myth #3: City law firm London office opportunities are only open to those who live in Londonseveral of the London law firms are working hard to make sure that their opportunities are advertised to students outside London through specialist organizations who work with schools. Law firms are also thinking carefully about what help they need to provide for example advice on where to live and a small sign-on payment to cover the first month of rent. City law firms really are keen to attract talent from across the country – significant efforts are being, and will be, put into this.

      Book a call with Joanna if you would like some advice