Perhaps you are already studying law, or are at university reading another subject and planning a conversion course? Maybe you’re at school and thinking about your university studies or even the apprenticeship route to legal qualification. What do you know about a legal career and what do you need to know?
Are you really good at arguing? Do you love acting? Has everyone always told you that a career as a barrister is for you? Does that sound a lot better than being a dusty old solicitor sitting in an office all day? Actually it can be much harder than you might imagine to identify the differences between being a solicitor and a barrister.
Do you know what skills you need to be a lawyer?
How would you spend your day as a solicitor or a barrister?
Does this appeal to you and do you have the right skills?
If you want to become a lawyer you are looking at quite a big commitment in terms of the length of the qualification process and possibly also in terms of your student debt. You’ll want to know that you will actually like doing the job at the end of the day. If meticulous attention to detail is not really “your thing” that might be a bit of problem. Don’t let yourself just be seduced by the prestige of being a professional, be sure that you will enjoy the work. There’s a lot to be said for Confucius wisdom:
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Should you study law or not?
People often ask whether the better route to legal qualification is via a law degree or a degree in another subject. If you ask professional lawyers then the answer you will get will depend on their own background. Now I qualified as a solicitor after reading law, so I think that’s a much better approach. I think I benefited from an in depth study of a wide range of legal subjects. Those who did not study law argue for the balance that comes from immersing themselves in a different subject. The most important thing is probably to study the area you think you will most enjoy. You will do best if you are really engaged with your subject and succeeding academically is important if you want to become a lawyer. It is a competitive profession and it certainly helps if you are able to graduate with a 2.1.
How do you go about getting qualified after a degree?
The process can seem daunting so here are some clips which explain how the process “works”. It’s helpful to understand what you might be letting yourself in for if you want to get qualified.
Here are some tips on how you might go about navigating your course to getting a training contract.
It’s never too early to start working on developing the skills employers are looking for. Even the paper round you did when you were 14 might be relevant. Getting up early and going out in all weathers will have developed your resilience, you’ll be able to show a good work ethic. You have probably dealt with grumpy customers cross because their papers were late or damp….it’s all going to help you to get a job!
What if professional law isn’t for you after all?
You don’t have to be a lawyer! Not even if you are studying law at university! Law is a semi vocational degree and you will find that it is widely respected by employers who will value the analytical and logical skills that legal study develops. You are likely to find yourself highly sought after in a range of careers. Recent graduates from Warwick have gone off to become accountants, teachers, charity workers, regulators, company secretaries and area managers at Aldi. It’s an exciting list. Make sure that you look around at a range of options before settling for a law career.
Still interested? Then check out the Warwick Law Careers blog for more posts.