When you think about law as a career, it may conjure up images of intense television drama scenes of court room conflicts between angry white-wigged barristers and stern judges banging their gavels. However, in reality law is a hugely varied sector that profoundly impacts nearly every aspect of daily life.
The law industry isn’t just about barristers and solicitors as stereotype depicts. There’s also a huge variety of other professions under the law umbrella – from legal secretaries, paralegals, lecturers and court clerks, or even legal compliance professionals, HR officers and those involved in International Developments, there really are a countless number of opportunities to suit anybody.
Though getting into a law career may be pretty tough –it is an incredibly popular sector and so there can be a huge amount of competition, this is for a good reason. The law industry is incredibly stimulating; not only is constantly evolving in response to our modern lifestyle, but it’s extremely complex and potentially highly lucrative.
Whether you’re interested in working for a flashy corporate firm in a high-rise in the City, or a smaller local firm helping settle people settle their estates, there are plenty of choices out there in the law industry. It’s not all about being stuck behind a desk either, you could find yourself at court, people’s homes or even visiting clients overseas.
To become a solicitor in England and Wales you have to complete a Legal Practice Course (LPC), followed by a training contract with a law firm. To become a barrister, you must undertake the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), followed by a one-year training period called a pupillage. Some legal careers do not always require further study.
What options can I take for a career in law?
Work experience is a vital part of pursuing a career in law. Practical experience in the law industry will help you decide what is the correct path for you, as well as potentially opening doors and providing an essential boost to your CV. Some form of work experience is available at all levels, whether you’re still taking your GCSE’s and interested in a few hours a week in a local firm, or you’re looking for a placement year as part of your degree course. Work experience in business administration is also useful as this is much less competitive to access and provides much of the same skills as needed for a law career.
Unsure about what a work placement could involve? You should’ve asked!
Apprenticeships in the law industry are targeted at a range of different qualification levels, from the equivalent of A-Levels, all the way up to a master’s degree equivalent. There are three broad levels: legal administration and support, paralegal or solicitor, but as well as this you could also choose to undertake a specialist pathway to qualify as a chartered legal executive. Each can be taken as a stand-alone apprenticeship or can be linked in order to progress between roles.
No matter which path you choose, an apprenticeship in the law industry will give you hands-on experience from the first day to really kick start your career. You’ll spend most of your time in the workplace alongside experience colleagues and the rest of your time studying towards your qualification, all while being paid a salary. Quite a few legal firms are also willing to sponsor apprentices all the way from a Level 3 qualification, all the way through to becoming a full-blown solicitor – this is a great opportunity in such a competitive industry. Here are some law apprenticeships to consider:
- Level 3 – Paralegal
- Level 4 – Paraplanner
- Level 6 – Chartered legal executive
- Level 7 – Solicitor
Want to know what apprenticeships are all about? We have you covered!
Law courses at university range from LLB degrees that provide the skills and knowledge required to practice in law, to BA/BSc degrees that focus on law as an academic subject. It is possible to study law alongside other subjects, such as law, business or criminology, to specialise your studies if you have a particular interest or career in mind. You should consider whether you wish to pursue an LLB degree as this will exempt you from the need to complete a Gradate Diploma in Law which non-law graduates need to complete to practice law as a career.
No matter if you choose to pursue an LLB degree or not, your studies will give you all the theoretical knowledge of the law industry and beyond which you’ll be able to apply to your career in the future. It is advisable to look for a course that involves a placement year. Work experience is often required by employers so the more you’re able to get, the more opportunities you may find are opened to you. Here are some possible law degrees for you to consider.
- Law LLB (Hons)
- Business Law LLB (Hons)
- Criminology with Law BA (Hons)
- Law, Philosophy and Ethics BA (Hons)
- Business and Law BA (Hons)
- Criminology and Criminal Justine BA (Hons)
- Business Management with Law BSc (Hons)
Want to find out what University could offer you? We have your back!
A degree in law creates many opportunities for you after university, even beyond the legal profession. However, if you’re interested in pursuing practising law as a graduate you’ll be required to go onto further study and vocational training. To become a solicitor in England and Wales you have to complete a Legal Practice Course (LPC), followed by a training contract with a law firm. To become a barrister, you must undertake the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), followed by a one-year training period called a pupillage.
Some employers offer graduate schemes which pay for their recruits to undergo this training whilst paying them a salary – this is a great opportunity if you wish to pursue either of these roles. However, some legal careers do not always require further study. For example, to become a paralegal you are able to pursue this with a law degree or equivalent but may need to undergo further training as required by your employer.
Want to know what graduate jobs are all about? We can help!
Unfortunately, to work in most roles in the law industry a specific legal qualification is often necessary. It may be possible to move from your current career path with enough experience, but most employers require some basic qualifications in order to employ a candidate due to legal obligations and the many, many laws that govern the industry.
Your dream law career is out there – start searching!