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A starting plan for a career in law

July 17, 2018

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Pursuing a career in law is a worthwhile endeavour, but you need to plan your journey accordingly. Medical negligence lawyer group Tilly Bailey & Irvine Law Firm have put together this guide for anyone looking for a starting point for getting into law.


Your choice of A-Levels

Keep in mind that, at A-Level stage, you do not need to take law. In fact, universities and potential employers will treat it the same as any other A-Level on your application form and so it should only be chosen if you have a particular interest in the subject.

But you should choose subjects that show best that you can deal with and thrive in challenging professions such as law.

To this end, pick A-Levels that you are sure to display high grades in and are interested in. They should also enable you to work on the skills that you need to be successful in the law industry, such as developing your analytical, communication and research skills — English, history, maths, and science are all great subjects for this.

Remember that courses like General Studies and Critical Thinking are excluded in many universities' entry requirements, so treat these as additional rather than core.

Also, it is worth noting that the following universities require law applicants to take a National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT):

·         University of Bristol

·         Durham University

·         University of Glasgow

·         King’s College London

·         University of Nottingham

·         University of Oxford

·         SOAS University of London

·         UCL Faculty of Laws

The LNAT is useful for both the university and the students; the university is able to see if the candidate can cope with the demands of a law degree programme, and the candidate can see for themselves if law is a feasible route for them.
 

A law degree, a non-law degree, or an apprenticeship?

With your A-Levels achieved, you have a few options open to you in terms of reaching a career in law.

The most obvious choice is to study a degree in law. This is specifically designed to educate you on the areas of law that you are most likely to come across once you’re a qualified lawyer and settled into your dream job.You will also be taught useful skills to enhance your knowledge regarding critical thinking, analytical skills, logical reasoning, and problem solving.

But a law degree is not the only option. An alternative option is to study something that you have a passion for and that you’re confident will result in you achieving high grades, before completing a one-year conversion course. Otherwise known as a GDL — short for graduate diploma in law — this course condenses what’s taught in a three-year law degree into a single year.

If you don't want to go down the degree route, you could also look into paralegal and articled apprenticeships, which are becoming popular. Deemed advanced level apprenticeships and introduced in 2014, these school leaver schemes often lead to basic law qualifications being achieved through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and can result in a full-time job being secured as a paralegal.


On-the-job training requirements

To become a solicitor or barrister, you need more than your A-Levels, degree, or apprenticeship. This is because on-the-job training will be a requirement.

If becoming a barrister is your goal, and you have your degree or GDL, the next stage is the Bar professional training course (BPTC), and then a one-year pupillage at a barristers' chambers. Qualify from this and you’ll become a tenant and be aiming eventually to become a QC — short for Queen’s Counsel.

If you are seeking to be a solicitor, you need to complete the postgraduate course called the 'Legal Practice Course' (LPC) after getting your GDL or degree. Once you’ve completed the LPC, you’ll go through a two-year training contract at a law firm. You’ll be known as a trainee solicitor at this point, though upon qualifying, you will work to be an associate and then have the end goal of eventually becoming a partner.


Which job is for you?

Of course, becoming a solicitor or barrister are only two options in law. There are many other roles within law that you can look into. See which of these appeals most to you…


Legal Executive
Legal executives are trained to the same level as solicitors but specialise in one area of law.

Expected salary
Between £15,000 and £28,000 when a starter, increasing to between £35,000 and £55,000 when experienced and up to £100,000 once highly experienced.

Jobs available*
Indeed currently has 5,183 jobs related to the search ‘Legal Executive’ — check them out here.


Barrister
A barrister (also known as an advocate in Scotland) provides specialist and specific advice while representing organisations and individuals in courts and tribunals.

Expected salary
Between £12,000 and £45,000 when a starter, increasing to between £30,000 and £200,000 when experienced and up to £250,000 once highly experienced. Take note that the salary will vary depending on the type of work carried out, the firm you work for and the location of a job. Employed barristers also generally earn less than those who work in a private practice and can pay their own overheads.

Jobs available*
Indeed currently has 509 jobs related to the search ‘Barrister’ — check them out here.


Paralegal
A paralegal undertakes research and prepares legal documents. They also have the responsibility of providing their clients with legal advice.

Expected salary
Between £14,000 and £25,000 when a starter, increasing to between £30,000 and £40,000 when experienced and to £40,000 or more once highly experienced.

Jobs available*
Indeed currently has 4,177 jobs related to the search ‘Paralegal’ — check them out here.


Licensed Conveyancer
Licensed conveyancers are property lawyers. They will be in charge of dealing with all the paperwork and finances which are required to buy and sell property or land across England and Wales.

Expected salary
Between £16,000 and £20,000 when a starter, increasing to between £25,000 and £40,000 when experienced and up to £60,000 once highly experienced and a partner.

Jobs available*
Indeed currently has 736 jobs related to the search ‘Licensed Conveyancer’ — check them out here.


Solicitor
A solicitor provides clients with expert support and legal advice. Clients can be individuals, groups, or companies.

Expected salary
Between £25,000 and £40,000 when a starter, increasing to between £40,000 and £90,000 when experienced and to £100,000 or more once highly experienced. Take note that the salary will vary depending on the type of work carried out and the location of a job.

Jobs available*
Indeed currently has 13,757 jobs related to the search ‘Solicitor’ — check them out here.


*Jobs available logged as of February 27th, 2018.

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