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Disadvantage of Law as a Possible Career.

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    Hi!
    I am strongly considering going into either Medicine or Law, though I need to decide between the two! Heh.

    I'm aware of the disadvantages of medicine e.g. long hours, etc. etc.
    but I'd like to balance this up by knowing the disadvantage of law.

    E.g. is unemployment of law graduates high? what's the supply vs. demand of lawyers? if i get a degree in english law, am i right in assuming im stuck to england if it comes to practising law?

    In short, give me all the crappy stuff about a career in law either as a barrister or a solictor. Thanks
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    What A Levels are you doing?
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    (Original post by Buzfvar)
    Hi!
    is unemployment of law graduates high? what's the supply vs. demand of lawyers?
    If you go to one of the top few unis for law then you are almost guaranteed a good legal career. But if you go to a not-so-good one then perhaps not.
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    (Original post by Buzfvar)
    Hi!
    I am strongly considering going into either Medicine or Law, though I need to decide between the two! Heh.

    I'm aware of the disadvantages of medicine e.g. long hours, etc. etc.
    but I'd like to balance this up by knowing the disadvantage of law.

    E.g. is unemployment of law graduates high? what's the supply vs. demand of lawyers? if i get a degree in english law, am i right in assuming im stuck to england if it comes to practising law?

    In short, give me all the crappy stuff about a career in law either as a barrister or a solictor. Thanks
    id go for medicine.It is worth it in the long run
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    (Original post by Alexander)
    If you go to one of the top few unis for law then you are almost guaranteed a good legal career. But if you go to a not-so-good one then perhaps not.


    Feel as though I have to be the one to issue a word or two of warning. That simply isn't true anymore. There is one critical difference between law/medicine, simply that getting into university assures you an access into a good career only for the latter.

    As for law, god no. MANY people with very good 2:1's from Oxbridge, LSE etc, that are frequently rejected without interviews at many places. Forget the guarantee, it doesn't exist. Actually, you may not even be guaranteed any legal career. For the top firms, it's something like 1000 applications, often for about 4/5 places. To stand a chance you have to go through university and do very many extra curricula activities. You will also need a hell of a lot of confidence in public speaking. This isn't meant to put you off at all, there's always room at the top. Just, if you're looking for stress free entry, then its going to have to be Medicine (as for job related stress, I'm sure Med is more than equal, of course!).
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    (Original post by Don)
    Feel as though I have to be the one to issue a word or two of warning. That simply isn't true anymore. There is one critical difference between law/medicine, simply that getting into university assures you an access into a good career only for the latter.

    As for law, god no. MANY people with very good 2:1's from Oxbridge, LSE etc, that are frequently rejected without interviews at many places. Forget the guarantee, it doesn't exist. Actually, you may not even be guaranteed any legal career. For the top firms, it's something like 1000 applications, often for about 4/5 places. To stand a chance you have to go through university and do very many extra curricula activities. You will also need a hell of a lot of confidence in public speaking. This isn't meant to put you off at all, there's always room at the top. Just, if you're looking for stress free entry, then its going to have to be Medicine (as for job related stress, I'm sure Med is more than equal, of course!).
    You don't have to start off in a magic circle firm though to earn a decent amount of money. And there are plenty of good "backroom" jobs which don't require any public speaking. And why should they be particularly-interested in extra-curric? Top law firms want people who are willing to devote their life to their job, not people who are off fund-raising or playing sports all the time.
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    (Original post by Alexander)
    You don't have to start off in a magic circle firm though to earn a decent amount of money. And there are plenty of good "backroom" jobs which don't require any public speaking. And why should they be particularly-interested in extra-curric? Top law firms want people who are willing to devote their life to their job, not people who are off fund-raising or playing sports all the time.
    When people talk of a 'good career' in law, they often refer to the 'magic circle' or thereabouts. Prior to starting university, people are not dreaming of 'backroom' jobs, unless they are extremely lacking in confidence. As for extra-curric, that wasn't a normative assessment on my part, I am not claiming they should, however, they do. I tell you in great confidence that unless you have done a great deal away from university, or you're at least able to make it seem as though you have, your chances of even getting an interview are zero. A certain ZERO, and that's even if you have top qualifications! When you have 1000 applications for a few places, employers are going to be very particular. In that scenario, the employer can and will specify absolutely anything/everything that they deem desirable. They will specify for the simple reason that they're likely to be confident in obtaining it from the colossal pile of applications.
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    Advantages of medicine:

    Once you graduate you have a guaranteed job for life, regardless of what happens people will always need doctors.

    Once you graduate you "hit the ground running". The NHS give you a salary and there is no messing about trying to get sponsorship for further training or applying for jobs. Infact I think the N.H.S. will even give you a few K per year towards your Uni life in sponsorship.

    If you go into surgery and become a Consultant you can earn an N.H.S. salary of 75K top bracket (at the moment). If you do some medical legal work ontop of this (private practice) the sky is the limit and I know of many surgeons who probably pull in double if not three times this in total taking into account N.H.S. and private work.
    The only issue relating to this is that the Government is trying to introduce "set fees" for medical legal work, if they succeed the days of charging £150 - 300 for a report are severley numbered.

    Eventually you get loads of holiday (something like 2 and a half months a year). I am not sure how much you get when you start out though.

    It's a kudos career (trust me, i'm a doctor etc...).


    Disadvantages of Medicine:

    It's a bloody hard and long degree. You must seriously consider if you have the academic ability in the right areas (i.e. science) before you undertake it.

    Once you qualify you will be working all hours godsend for the first few years, probably in A&E every other Saturday night dealing with drunks etc...

    Whilst it is an excellent degree it does not really develop your skills for anything else, for example I know some doctors that would be hopeless at anything but medicine!

    N.H.S. political infighting and issues relating to pay.



    Advantages of Law:

    It's a kudos career, Ally Mc Beal and all that .

    The average starting salary is £18K - £30K (location depending and still an excellent UK salary I hasten to add). If you do well you will eventually end up earning far more and movement up the pay scale is rapid. Apparantly you can expect to add £10 - 15K to the starting salary just three years into legal practice if you are with a good company and they are pleased with you.

    Law is a great degree in that once you have qualified you can pretty much do anything (except medicine or some other highly scientific / technical subject). Many companys will see your degree as being a major asset even if you choose not to persue a career in Law and go into business / something else.

    Assuming you do the Legal Pratice Course you will always have a "fall back" career in the event that you choose something else and it goes wrong.


    Disadvantages of Law:

    Whilst it is only a three year degree (unless you do a sandwich) should you wish to be a Lawyer you will then have to do the Legal Practice Course or the BAR followed by two years "probation" in a practice before you become a solicitor or Barrister. This in effect makes it a six year training period. Are you prepared to make this commitment?

    Should you choose the BAR (to be a Barrister) you are going to be self employed with no guarantee of work. The average C.P.S. Barrister earns just £20K-£30K per annum (they are currently considering suing to have this raised). A successful Barrister will earn loads and loads of cash however are you prepared to take the risk?

    The LPC/BAR course costs about £7K alone to do despite the fact that it is only one year long. You can try and get sponsorship from a company or take out (another) student loan.

    Every year about 6000 people graduate yet there are only about 4000 new jobs. If you do not have a high 2:2 or above you are wasting your time trying to go into legal practice.

    Unlike medicine there is no guarantee of a job at the end of the training.


    Summary:

    Both careers have their respective stregnths and weaknesses. I am opting for Law myself, mainly because I am not scientifically minded.
    You really have to think about what you want to do and where you want to be in ten / fifteen years time before embarking on either degree.

    In the short-term (or study period) I think that medicine is a better option as there is various financial help (I think) and you have a guaranteed job once you have qualified, however I feel that once you are in a job there is little to choose from between the two and I *think* that a successful Lawyer moves up the pay scale faster compared to his medical counterpart although in the long term they will both end up on similair salaries.
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    oh my god!! im having exactly the same problem!!! Med or law?? I cant decied what As levels to take because If I want to do med you have to take chem, maths etc... but for law its real different. At the moment I'm leaning towards the law side because I don't think I could handle the life:death thing of becoming a medic, and there are so many more options if things don't work out with law. But I still have know idea what to do next year. Its so stupid how you have to decide your future when you 16!
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    (Original post by Tania)
    oh my god!! im having exactly the same problem!!! Med or law?? I cant decied what As levels to take because If I want to do med you have to take chem, maths etc... but for law its real different. At the moment I'm leaning towards the law side because I don't think I could handle the life:death thing of becoming a medic, and there are so many more options if things don't work out with law. But I still have know idea what to do next year. Its so stupid how you have to decide your future when you 16!
    ditto.
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    (Original post by Tania)
    oh my god!! im having exactly the same problem!!! Med or law?? I cant decied what As levels to take because If I want to do med you have to take chem, maths etc... but for law its real different. At the moment I'm leaning towards the law side because I don't think I could handle the life:death thing of becoming a medic, and there are so many more options if things don't work out with law. But I still have know idea what to do next year. Its so stupid how you have to decide your future when you 16!
    True...true.

    Also in Law you can start your own company if you ever feel that you want to. If you do this and do well you can earn megabucks.

    If it enlightens you at all I am led to believe that Law is still very much a male dominated area whilst more and more women are going into medicine. This could reflect on the industry as a whole.

    I know that they go on about equal opportunities but I think that many law firms are still about boys with their fast cars etc...
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    (Original post by Don)
    When people talk of a 'good career' in law, they often refer to the 'magic circle' or thereabouts.
    Not really, my 38 year old uncle is a solicitor in Burnley and he earns £70,000 a year. He is very high up in the group, granted, but you can forge a good career out of the magic circle.
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    (Original post by Lord Huntroyde)
    Not really, my 38 year old uncle is a solicitor in Burnley and he earns £70,000 a year. He is very high up in the group, granted, but you can forge a good career out of the magic circle.


    Indeed, although I don't think you understood the quote. When people at university talk of a good career they're thinking of the magic circle. That doesn't mean 'good careers' do not exist elsewhere, it just means that people at university have Clifford Chance in mind, rather than becoming a Solicitor in Burnley.
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    (Original post by Don)
    Indeed, although I don't think you understood the quote. When people at university talk of a good career they're thinking of the magic circle. That doesn't mean 'good careers' do not exist elsewhere, it just means that people at university have Clifford Chance in mind, rather than becoming a Solicitor in Burnley.
    I don't think that is neccessarily true. You made it sound as though it would be difficult to get a job after graduating from a good university. That is not true, though you would be very unlikely to get a job at a magic circle firm.

    Alexander said "a good legal career". By this I don't think he meant just magic circle.
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    (Original post by Don)
    Feel as though I have to be the one to issue a word or two of warning. That simply isn't true anymore. There is one critical difference between law/medicine, simply that getting into university assures you an access into a good career only for the latter.

    As for law, god no. MANY people with very good 2:1's from Oxbridge, LSE etc, that are frequently rejected without interviews at many places. Forget the guarantee, it doesn't exist. Actually, you may not even be guaranteed any legal career. For the top firms, it's something like 1000 applications, often for about 4/5 places.
    im afraid that is rubbish...doing law at oxbridge at the VERY LEAST gurantees you a first round interview with the major law firms. I have been studying law at Oxford for only 6 weeks and I have already had a number of solicitors firms tell me they would love for me to apply to them/come for interview, etc etc. It is true that an Oxbridge degree no longer gurantees you are brilliant legal craeer, but it gives you a damn good chance of doing so. Your statistics for applications for law firms are slighlty out of proportion, at a medium sized firm (Oslwang) there are 2000 applications for 20 places...in the words of their head of recruitment when I asked him how competitive it was, "It's quite easy to filter out the weaker applicants".
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    (Original post by Lord Huntroyde)
    I don't think that is neccessarily true. You made it sound as though it would be difficult to get a job after graduating from a good university. That is not true, though you would be very unlikely to get a job at a magic circle firm.

    Alexander said "a good legal career". By this I don't think he meant just magic circle.
    law has one of the highest unemployment rates among graduates. it was in the telegraph education letters a couple of weeks ago... will look for a link for you.

    lou xxx
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    (Original post by lou p lou)
    law has one of the highest unemployment rates among graduates. it was in the telegraph education letters a couple of weeks ago... will look for a link for you.

    lou xxx
    Yes, but not really among the best universities, just many of the 'weaker' ones.
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    if you're seriously not commited to medicine and are thinking of law, then you probably don't have the commitment needed for a lifetime of medicine.
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    (Original post by Lord Huntroyde)
    Yes, but not really among the best universities, just many of the 'weaker' ones.
    Exactly -- there are many universities that are permanent denizens of the lower echelons of the league tables which offer law, and I should imagine that having graduated from one of those it wouldn't be easy to have a good legal career. However the idea is the someone with an Oxbridge 2.1 would have difficulty in getting a good job is a joke.
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    (Original post by tagzt)
    im afraid that is rubbish...doing law at oxbridge at the VERY LEAST gurantees you a first round interview with the major law firms. I have been studying law at Oxford for only 6 weeks and I have already had a number of solicitors firms tell me they would love for me to apply to them/come for interview, etc etc. It is true that an Oxbridge degree no longer gurantees you are brilliant legal craeer, but it gives you a damn good chance of doing so. Your statistics for applications for law firms are slighlty out of proportion, at a medium sized firm (Oslwang) there are 2000 applications for 20 places...in the words of their head of recruitment when I asked him how competitive it was, "It's quite easy to filter out the weaker applicants".

    hmm...I think that would depend on your degree classification. People from Oxbridge are often rejected without interview though, I've seen that on a lot of occasions, esp. in Investement Banking and the top handful of law firms. You should get an interviews if you apply to all/most of the major firms though. And 2000/20 for a medium level firm is a hell of a lot! Even if 1500 applications are weak and say 500 are straight A types it's still real tough. So you can imagine what it would be like right at the top. Perhaps you should look at the law faculty at Oxford and look at the % of people working/going to work in the top 5 firms, be interesting.
Updated: April 16, 2004
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