Legal Eagles Thin On The Ground?

Aspiring to be a solicitor or barrister is usually something which comes from childhood. Television programmes and the media always seem to stereotype solicitors as rich and clever – something which many people would like to be. However, legal recruitment isn’t as straight forward as that, and there’s much more to a career in law than becoming a solicitor or a barrister.

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Historically, the legal profession has been viewed to be extremely prestigious. Usually, roles would stereotypically be held by influential wealthy people. However, as times have changed, the legal sector has opened up and more and more roles are available. Of course the traditional roles of solicitor and barrister still exist. However, the profession is more accessible now than ever.

In order to qualify to become a solicitor or barrister, it takes years of study. It is still advisable to study for a law degree, at a good solid university. These are usually referred to as ‘red brick’ universities. Following the completion of an undergraduate degree, post graduate qualifications should be taken which cover legal practice.

If a student has graduated in a non-law subject, then it is possible to study for a law conversion course before taking the Legal Practice Course.

Once completed, the student is free to seek a training contract to complete his or her training.
Although this seems a long and arduous process, it often pays off with a good solid legal career.
Where such a route is not attractive, there are roles within the legal sector which do not require such a strong academic background. Unlike Accountancy and Tax professions, it is not possible to sit professional qualifications in legal practice without having a degree. This should not put off a potential candidate to the legal profession.

Legal studies are particularly expensive, partly to do with the nature of the subject being studied and the staff required to give the level of training required. Many students cannot do this unsponsored.  The best way to get sponsorship is to work for a law firm. Starting off as a school leaver, training in a practice in terms of admin, bits of research and potentially as a paralegal can lead to a firm’s sponsorship for a strong candidate. Although the studies have to come at a later stage, this can be more attractive than racking up debt and then trying to secure a position. Whichever route you choose, a legal career can be both exciting and rewarding.

Article written by Darren Parkes, legal recruitment specialist.

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