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How realistic are their chances?

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    My friend is thinking about going into law, having just got a 2:1 in history from a redbrick uni. She has AAA at A level, one of which was Law. However her GCSE grades were pretty average and she also has no law experience. I do think she would make a good lawyer as she is intelligent and pretty well-read, however is her seemingly late interest in the career path going to be a hindrance compared to all the law students who have been accumulating law experience for years? I know it is ridiculously competitive field, though to be honest what isn't nowadays, so if someone who knows more about the profession could pass some judgement that would be great to pass on to her!
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    Hi, I don't think her GCSE's will be a hindrance at all. You only have to meet certain criteria at A level and degree level, and she certainly meets those.

    As to work experience, that differs from firm to firm. Tell her to see if she can get hold of anything, high street, shadowing, contacting friend's parents in the profession etc. I was in the position when I started that I literally knew nobody in the profession, so I shot off several speculative applications in the area and managed to get a weeks work in a commercial firm in Newcastle, and that helped me secure my first vacation scheme (NB I've now done three vac schemes, so it is difficult to land that TC I have to say) Firms certainly don't expect you to have done vacation schemes though, as they recognise how difficult they are to secure. But I'd definitely recommend some work experience in the legal profession. That said, any other employment, like in a supermarket or receptionist work, for example might combat this if she has any, if she makes efforts to attend firm open days, presentations and law fairs.

    All I would advise is for her to give it a shot this year, and if it doesn't work out, try and get some legal work experience and try again next year when she's in a better position. You'll never know if you don't try I guess.
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    How are you doing about getting a training contract? The implication I'm getting is that if you go down the law route you end up spending a lot of money and not getting much coming in for quite a long while so it seems like a massive financial risk! I'm guessing no firms will pay you for work experience?
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    GCSE's :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
    How are you doing about getting a training contract? The implication I'm getting is that if you go down the law route you end up spending a lot of money and not getting much coming in for quite a long while so it seems like a massive financial risk! I'm guessing no firms will pay you for work experience?
    Not for work experience (though it is only for a few days! what do you expect?) you do get paid at least £250 a week on vacation scheme. That said if your friend truly wants a career in law, the money shouldn't be an issue. I'd have gladly worked for free on my vac scheme for the chance of a TC.
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    (Original post by Rosey2)
    Not for work experience (though it is only for a few days! what do you expect?) you do get paid at least £250 a week on vacation scheme. That said if your friend truly wants a career in law, the money shouldn't be an issue. I'd have gladly worked for free on my vac scheme for the chance of a TC.
    It's this sort of attitude which makes law such a damn hard profession to get into. Don't work for free or tell others to work for free. Someone with a law degree is worth more than that.
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    (Original post by andymt)
    It's this sort of attitude which makes law such a damn hard profession to get into. Don't work for free or tell others to work for free. Someone with a law degree is worth more than that.
    Eh? It's work experience we're talking about here - not working down the pits.
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    (Original post by andymt)
    It's this sort of attitude which makes law such a damn hard profession to get into. Don't work for free or tell others to work for free. Someone with a law degree is worth more than that.
    The two criticisms of free internships really don't apply to the law. In some industries interns are effectively doing jobs that would otherwise be done by paid staff.

    In chambers and law firms, that is really not true. They may get a client the odd cup of coffee but usually they spend virtually the whole of their time either observing a practising lawyer or reading papers to gain an understanding of what lawyers do.

    Secondly, although some positions are given out on the old boy network, there are usually enough posts that the vast majority of viable candidates are able to obtain some experience.

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