How to Become a Lawyer
After the careers fair Aston Bond attended it became clear to us that many students wanted to know how to become a lawyer and the different ways of doing so. There are many different routes you can take to become a solicitor/barrister and we outline below the most popular ones.
Choosing Your GCSE’s/A-Levels:
Firstly, when picking GCSEs it is best to go with something that you enjoy the most and are great at. This will ensure that you get the best grades to allow you to take your A-Level qualifications. If you know you definitely want to get into to Law, there are a couple ‘preferred’ subjects to take in A-Level (although it is not mandatory). English is a key subject; it will be a huge part of working within Law. History is also a subject which is often suggested, as the learning process of past events is similar to how you study the history of Law. And of course you can take an A-Level in Law, although if you are planning on doing a degree in Law this is not necessarily recommended. A-level Law would be more beneficial to those who intend on taking a degree in another subject except law (as further detailed below).
University: Law Degree:
The most common route to becoming a lawyer/barrister is to do a degree in Law at university. A degree in Law takes 3 years to complete. Once your 3 years have finished there are 2 different options, both a year long, depending on if you want to become a Lawyer or a Barrister. A Legal Practice Course (LPC) is what you study if you want to become a Lawyer. The other option is a Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) which will help you to become a barrister. Once you have finished either of these year-long courses you will have your degree and are ready to find a training contract (or pupillage if you are intending on becoming a barrister). This can be quite difficult at it is a very competitive industry. Something which will really help you secure one of these positions is work experience, and as much of it as you can get. A summer internship for a law firm would also be worthwhile considering. A Training contract is a 2 year long process in which you will experience all different types of Law to help you decide which area you want to specialise in. Here you will gain hands-on experience but you will work directly under a supervisor who will teach you and check your work. When these 2 years are up (and upon completion of a short exam which you take whilst still undertaking your training contract) you will be a qualified solicitor/barrister.
University: Conversion Course
Surprisingly, you don’t have to study Law at university to get into the industry. Although it is the more direct route there is a different option if you are looking to attend University but have other interests. It is possible to undertake a degree in anything you like, but at the end of it you take a year-long ‘Conversion’ course in Law before going forward with your LPC or BPTC. The process is the same from here onwards and in total it takes an extra year compared to the direct law degree route. The benefit of choosing to do this is that you will end up with affectively 2 degrees rather than just one. Also, if you know the type of Law you want to get into you can study an area which would be beneficial for that type of law. For example if you were to study Human Rights this would relate to Public Law, the same way in which studying Business would help with getting into Corporate Law. Indeed, a degree in another subject is often highly regarded and those with a scientific or technical background find that they would do well to study these subject and then ultimately could become a more specialised solicitor in that field.
As of 2016, the government have introduced brand new apprenticeship schemes in Law. This is an entirely new and different route into the world of Law. With hands-on experience from the get go this would be beneficial for someone that is better at learning in a working environment and wants to earn a wage at the same time. To become an apprentice you must have the following qualifications: 5 GCSEs, including Mathematics & English – Grade C or above (or equivalent) and also 3 A levels (or equivalent) – minimum grade C. The apprenticeship route takes 5 to 6 years. This may be reduced if exemptions from training are applicable. However, as apprenticeships are fairly new and the number of firms offering this is currently low, competition is likely to be high.
There are a few other ways to become a lawyer but these are the most popular choices. There are many different options for all different types of people but one thing we would suggest is gaining as much work experience as possible. This shows that you have a keen interest and enthusiasm within the industry and will help gain placements into university and the workplace.
If you would like to gain some work experience at Aston Bond, email your CV and Cover Letter stating dates of interest to email@example.com and we will get in touch with successful candidates. We are currently accepting applications for work experience for Autumn 2017 onwards.