So you want to be a lawyer?

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  • I am 11 and am dying to be a lawyer and this site has really helped!! x Thanks x

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  • To all teenagers:

    1. Learn to spell, punctuate and respect the English language. If you can't spell or proof-read you will NEVER get a job as a lawyer.

    2. If you are struggling to get a B in any subject at GCSE or A Level, consider ILEX. This is a way of becoming a solicitor whilst working at a firm and attending night school. You get there eventually and you don't have to have the best grades at school nor pay out a huge amount of money in tuition fees to get there.

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  • I am in my mid-thirties and work as a senior NHS nurse – a job that I love. However, I have always been fascinated by the law, esp. criminal law, and having spent a good few months late last year on a jury for a large trial, this has confirmed that it is time to seriously look at changing career and working towards becoming a barrister.

    I have a 2:1 (BSc Nursing Practice – although I’m perfectly aware this unfortunately will not count) and a MSc from Imperial. However, my A Level results are shocking. Regrettably now, I was too busy partying during sixth form.

    My questions are:
    Should I retake my A’Levels, work really hard to get A’s, and then consider a LLB (Birkbeck) or the GDL (University of Law).
    Alternatively, I’ve been offered funding for a LLM in Medical Law and Ethics – this would be over 2 years, and then I could consider the GDL?
    Note I will continue to work full time during either the LLM or A Levels – I believe this to be feasible, I did the same during my MSc. But, either option would mean that after completion, I will be 40.

    I would be incredibly grateful for any advice to increase my chance of success (if it indeed is possible). I know that the law is incredibly competitive, and my age is against me. But, I am not afraid of hard work and giving the time required to achieve my goal. It is very liberating to have that moment that finally you can acknowledge what it really is that you really would like to do.
    I would be very glad to hear from any of you who may be able to offer some good (and honest) advice. Importantly be honest. Thank you in advance! Best, K.

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  • This is a great insight to the ways of lawyers and solicitors. I don't think many people would know that you don't actually have to go to University now to become a lawyer. I wonder if there is much of a difference in public perception - if they'd rather have one who DID go to University?

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  • Hi, i'm currently studying for my GCSEs and I have been considering becoming a lawyer. However, I am only 16 and not sure whether becoming a barrister, solicitor or law in general is the best career path for me. Law has been something in the back of my mind for a long time now with it coming forward due to my interest in "Suits." Thus my question is what is the real life day to day work of a lawyer, how do you know if its for you and finally which is the best way to choosing between solicitor or barrister? (Can't you be a bit of both?)


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  • Hi Vinay,

    Being "a bit of both" barrister and solicitor is still unusual but you might want to Google the term "solicitor advocate" which is the closest you can currently get to a mix of the two professions.

    "What is the real life day to day work of a lawyer?" This is a difficult question to answer in brief especially as different types of lawyer do very different things. For example: a corporate solicitor, a criminal solicitor and a litigation solicitor all have very different working days.

    Read our practice area features (access them through this page for a taster of what different types of lawyers do on a daily basis)

  • I have just firmed Sussex university to study Psychology with Neuroscience. I am aware this is not a redbrick university but I was wondering if this would affect my chances of getting into a top law firm? I'm hoping to get 3As at a level, in French, history and biology. If I managed to achieve a 1st at university would I still be held back because of my university choice? For some reason Sussex has dropped a lot of places on the league table these past two years.

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  • I'm currently focusing on getting on a business admin course,then followed by studying CILEX then degrees as I really want to become a solicitor and would appreciate any advice to get the work experience needed and to sell myself as this is what I really want to do. Thanks

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  • Could anyone give me advice on how to train as a lawyer with a schizophrenia diagnosis? Would it be possible to be open about having mental health problems?

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  • Truth be told that getting into the Legal profession is going to be an up-hill battle, even more so if you don't have any connections in this world dominated by nepotism. No high street firm will entertain giving you work experience, trying to get work experience for some of the larger firms requires filling in an application form that is basically an application for a training contract. I got straight A's at A-level, a first at undergraduate, choose to do the GDL after having a few years of professional experience and a highly successful career and companies don't want to touch me with a barge poll. Why? I have no idea. I've volunteered at CAB, emailed 100s of firms about work experience and all that comes back is....'Unfortunately we don't offer work experience at this office'.
    My advice.....don't bother going into the legal profession unless you have connections, because without you'll get absolutely nowhere and fast! If you do then you'll probably end up as a paralegal, having spent thousands on a legal education to train you as a solicitor. Put in perspective, for every job, at least 300 law students are after it.

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  • To Kate - follow your dreams. I work with a lot of firms and they are very very interested in people with previous careers, you have more depth than a fresh straight from university individual. I would think if you want to get there quicker, then take the GDL route. Of course then there is the LPC both at a cost of £10-12k. I would advise seeking a training contract first and studying full time, often firms will sponsor individuals if they're due to start a training contract with you - bare in mind applications are generally two years' prior to commencement.

    To Vinlay - I love suits, but I wouldn't say it's an accurate insite to the legal world. Law is not that glamorous, you will spend a lot more time in the books. Yes it highlights the 'sell your soul' hours of work that are required to be a top corporate lawyer, but I don't believe it's a realistic representation of the legal world.

    To Fed up LPC student - I really feel sorry for those with a passion who want to study law, I think that the providers of the LPC should be realistic with those they allow to complete the qualification - as such only allow people who have already secured a training contract to complete it. It's not fair to allow people to pay £12,000 to do a course and lead them to believe that this will ensure they get a job as a paralegal upon completion. The harsh truth is it doesn't. I do say NEVER give up your dream, with determination you will succeed, you always knew law was going to be competitive and you need to dig your heels in and keep trying. In a previous role, I have placed candidates in HR admin roles, reception roles and legal admin roles (who had their 1st/2:1 and commendation at LPC and no luck of a job), at law firms and they were able to demonstrate their abilities and were eventually offered opportunities - seek other routes! There's a company in London called Accuetrainee, they provide mixed training contracts for excellent people who are struggling to gain contracts. They work with law firms who have a need for trainees in certain areas, so you still complete your seats but it may be at different firms and they have a 100% success rate of candidates having a job at the end of it.

    I hope this helps :)


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