I already make 60k, is it worth doing law conversion? Watch

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DimaTae
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Hi guys, advice would be really appreciated,

I graduated from Oxford with a 2.1 in maths 6 years ago, and got a job as an actuary (works in insurance number crunching basically) and am now qualified after 15 hard exams, the prospects in the field are fairly good I could be earning about 100k in a few years.

However the work bores me to death, has no prestige (no one even knows what the hell an actuary is) and I really am more of a people's person, at school/college i used to be in all the debating societies etc

I want to eventually be a barrister if I were to do law, but I heard you require amazing academics and probably a first in uni degree. Also I'm pretty old now (27) and I really don't know if it would be worth it.
How long till I would be making the same amount of money as I do now.

Also would my work experience help or hinder me?
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hecandothatfromran
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Ok, I get it. Nobody liked my advice. To the OP, all the best.
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minifridge
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The fact that you're considering giving up a highly paid job to do something that makes you happier is admirable. If I were to be in your position, I would save quite a bit of money which would be used to support yourself through the course. Really, you seem as if you like to work hard and are genuinely interested in the course. However the course is REALLY intense and competitive. What would happen if you lost interest in this or turned out you prefer your old profession?

But, if you did... even if you weren't to succeed in completing the course or finding a job after it, you still have another degree and previous experience so you may have the option to go back to your current field of work.

It's a big decision and you're really going to have to weigh up the pros and cons. I'd like to give you some useful advice but I'm pretty inexperienced. Best of luck with whatever you choose to do

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jjarvis
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You understand their insurance market. Useful for practice in some fields. And 27 is fairly young. Find something you love. Don't stay in a job you're miserable in.

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DimaTae
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(Original post by hecandothatfromran)

As for the Barrister move, my sister's in the law profession (as a solicitor, though). I'm not gonna lie, It's a very quintessential role. The conventional way to this profession would've probably been much easier. However, a U-turn such as this would be difficult in your position. Even for you.

You really seem like a top top bloke.
Thanks for the advice, however I really don't see myself getting the job satisfaction I need in actuarial work. Day to day work will never be exciting, and I don't believe I have the ability to rise up to a high managerial role as an actuary.

I don't mind working hard from the bottom again, I just wonder whether people know the chance of success.
I know that there are way too many law students and compared to available positions for training etc
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Octohedral
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(Original post by DimaTae)
Thanks for the advice, however I really don't see myself getting the job satisfaction I need in actuarial work. Day to day work will never be exciting, and I don't believe I have the ability to rise up to a high managerial role as an actuary.

I don't mind working hard from the bottom again, I just wonder whether people know the chance of success.
I know that there are way too many law students and compared to available positions for training etc
I'm sorry to gatecrash your thread, but I'm basically you seven years ago. I'm doing maths at Oxford and am about to graduate with a projected 2:1. Would you strongly advise against actuarial work then?

Aside from that, I certainly think that you should follow any passions you might have now (excuse the cliche), or else you might regret it in the future. 27 is really not that old. I may be speaking as a naive 20 year old, but I think you should do it. I don't know about law specifically though.
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DimaTae
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(Original post by Octohedral)
I'm sorry to gatecrash your thread, but I'm basically you seven years ago. I'm doing maths at Oxford and am about to graduate with a projected 2:1. Would you strongly advise against actuarial work then?

Aside from that, I certainly think that you should follow any passions you might have now (excuse the cliche), or else you might regret it in the future. 27 is really not that old. I may be speaking as a naive 20 year old, but I think you should do it. I don't know about law specifically though.
hey, actuarial work definitely pays well and I personally find the exams interesting, especially the CTs where you meet black scholes/time series etc.
You can easily make up to 6 figures but nothing like a lawyer or banker could potentially
However the actual work is (as any work in insurance company) is just not that interesting.

The work is very low stress though, which is one of the big downsides of being a barrister.

Anyone in the legal profession care to give their input? I mean if you're a barrister just starting up and lose a couple of cases could that mean you are pretty much going to struggle for work in the future?
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hihihihihi
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£60k a year?
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hecandothatfromran
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(Original post by DimaTae)
Thanks for the advice, however I really don't see myself getting the job satisfaction I need in actuarial work. Day to day work will never be exciting, and I don't believe I have the ability to rise up to a high managerial role as an actuary.

I don't mind working hard from the bottom again, I just wonder whether people know the chance of success.
I know that there are way too many law students and compared to available positions for training etc
No problem!! That's a phenomenal attitude. I'll try my best to help you. If where only talking in terms of feasibility, It's certainly feasible. The most salient obstacle to consider is pupillage. In case you don't know, Pupillage is basically a contract that firms give to graduates that ensures a career path to a barrister/solicitor. A very useful thread that also shows the correlation between certain unis and probability of securing a pupillage/prestige is here.

I'd say for the application process as much work experiences as most would consider reasonable is imperative to secure a place at a sufficiently high-end institution (as shown in the link above). Your academic record would be huge incentive for unis to accept you. DON'T EVEN CONSIDER ANY INSTITUTION OTHER THAN THOSE! The prejudicial notion of law being very competitive is somewhat exaggerated (E.G a Bsc 2.1 from any of the top institutions as shown, would likely set you up well to become a barrister). Don't underestimate the difficulty, but you could be in a much worse starting position.

On a side note, I hope i can drop you some Q's some time about actuaries, maths an all that!

Hope i helped!

Edit: 30% of Barristers achieved 1st honours! in their respective degrees.
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jacketpotato
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If you genuinely hate your job, and you do not see it getting better, then move. There are a number of career switchers around your age who become trainees/pupils so it is not unusual.

However do think carefully about whether law is right for you. There are a world of options out there and you should consider them all.

Law is a very popular career these days and a lot of people have unrealistic expectations. Judge Judy or Ally McBeal it is not. You say you are a people person, and certainly you would have some contact with clients, but a lot of your work would be rather dry and technical and - dare I say it - boring. This is especially true for barristers who tend to have limited direct contact with the client. Becoming a lawyer because you think it has "prestige" is also a doubtful bad reason, I think. Of course there are plenty of good points to being a lawyer just think about your whole range of options.
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lar di da
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(Original post by DimaTae)
Hi guys, advice would be really appreciated,

I graduated from Oxford with a 2.1 in maths 6 years ago, and got a job as an actuary (works in insurance number crunching basically) and am now qualified after 15 hard exams, the prospects in the field are fairly good I could be earning about 100k in a few years.

However the work bores me to death, has no prestige (no one even knows what the hell an actuary is) and I really am more of a people's person, at school/college i used to be in all the debating societies etc

I want to eventually be a barrister if I were to do law, but I heard you require amazing academics and probably a first in uni degree. Also I'm pretty old now (27) and I really don't know if it would be worth it.
How long till I would be making the same amount of money as I do now.

Also would my work experience help or hinder me?
I say leave and make the jump. You're obviously smart coming from Oxford, especially for maths. So as well as being an actuary you're (from what you said) a good people's person. So basically the best combination. And I'm guessing you're going to put in the hard work and the work you'l be doing is a lot more interesting and different. Lets face it you dont want to be spending the next 30 years doing something you find boring and easy.

Money's not an issue, so do something that you'll like, find interesting, will be challenging and will also pay you more (in the long run). I think your background will help you out. I dont know about being a barrister though. that might be difficult...
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username1020490
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Why the Bar? What area of law?

An important point worth covering is probably that all the big major city commercial solicitors firms will do much the same work of the top commercial chambers, and with your work experience I think you'd be a very attractive candidate for them. Also if you were to apply for a training contract, they recruit two years in advance- which gives you the security you need (you'll know if you have a job before taking the plunge), and they'll be paying for your GDL/LPC.
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happyinthehaze
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hi

I would say, don't worry about your age - employers will appreciate the real-world and real-life experience you have. You only seem to be old to yourself subjectively, but you won't objectively to the people you will be applying to. So, don't let that be your deciding factor.

I would separate out your two criteria - do interesting work with people AND make 60K and ask yourself, how important is it for you to earn 60K? Is doing interesting work with people more important? Define 'interesting work' for yourself. Or is the 60K more important? This should inform how you want to proceed. Of course it's possible to earn pots of money in law, but there are plenty out there who don't including a lot of barristers.

Are you sure you want to be a barrister - why? Lots of barristers have little contact with the client (some none). Have you considered being a solicitor?

Think of what area of law - I do agree, your actuary experience will be very attractive for commercial city law firms - but do you think you want to do the kind of work they do? Will you end up in the same situation ie highly-paid but not doing the kind of work you find satisfying? Is kudos the thing?

Read up on what is happening in law-world - it's all changing - the criminal bar is disappearing - who knows how the world of the bar will change in the next five or ten years.

You need to tap up all your contacts, take a week's holiday and wangle some barrister-shadowing/law work experience and this will help you make a decision.

I think if you have a 2.1 from Oxford you will be a good bar candidate, but it is stupidly and pointlessly competitive - you have to have lots of work experience, have built wells in Africa, been captain of the netball team, worked for FRU, run your own property empire alongside your own online business while doing charity work etc ect, run the marathon in under three hours, Check out some of the profiles of the pupil barristers online at any chambers and ask yourself, is this me, or could it be?

good luck
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richie123
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Here is some info about how much you might expect to earn as a barrister. As you can see, in certain areas of practice it is possible, even probable, that you will never earn anywhere near £100k.

Your age is not a problem in itself.

The level of competition is extreme. Despite your excellent academics, you still might not have the indefinable qualities that chambers are looking for. I think you should talk to careers advisers (yes, even at age 27!) and any friends/acquaintances from the world of law about your prospects before you take the gamble of quitting a good career. Unless you literally can't last another day in your current job.
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RibenaRockstar
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There's a review coming out soon about the way in which legal professionals are trained so I'd wait until that comes out before you make your decision!

Also my friend's dad did a conversion course at 40 - so it's never too late!
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River85
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(Original post by hecandothatfromran)
I'd strongly advised against it. Such an audacious move at a relatively late period in your life would be throwing away an immense amount of hard work for negligible reasons.
27 is not old, or a relatively late period in a person's life. In the context of his working life, which he has 30 to 50 years left, he's barely graduated. He probably isn't even one quarter of the way through his working life.

In short, 27 is still young or at least relatively young.

I and many people you may not acknowledge, hold you as a person in high regard. Your a financial successful oxford graduate working a job i aspire to achieve and all this at age 27. Read that sentence back and that's all the self-pride/prestige you need.
With respect, one person on the Internet? That seems a bit arrogant. Who are you to say that your respect is all the prestige he needs? Surely that's a judgement only he can make?

The conventional way to this profession would've probably been much easier. However, a U-turn such as this would be difficult in your position. Even for you.
What makes you say this?

I don't think it's more difficult at all. He has a few years of successful employment behind him. It is quite common for people to change careers in their 30s and 40s.

That said, I still advise caution about chasing a career for its perceived "prestige". As for a role being more social, working as an actuary can be no less people-facing than working as a barrister - if you look for the right opportunities. There is currently an over-supply of GDL and LPC graduates.
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beastfromtheeast
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I am currently doing pupillage, and my strong advice would be, do not jack in your decent career to become a barrister. I admit that as a criminal pupil, my view of things is likely to be less rosy than other types of pupil, but much of what I say is of general application.

The problem with the bar is that you have to invest huge amounts of time and money before you know if you are ever going to get a pupillage or not. It would be one thing spending 2 years of your life and thousands of pounds doing the GDL and BPTC if you knew that you had a pupillage at the end of it. However, most pupils do not obtain pupillage until they are already on the BPTC. Given the odds of securing a pupillage, that is an enormous gamble.

As for when you make it to pupillage, your experience will be very dependent on the type of law you practise in. In crime however, I have found all the urban myths to be true. The money is truly horrendous, to the extent that I still live with my parents and could not possibly afford to move out. It is also long hours and high stress, and the future of the criminal bar is pretty bleak. If you want to do commercial law that is a different story entirely, but even there you still have the problem of the massive gamble, of not knowing whether you will get a pupillage until after the GDL / BPTC.

If I was in your situation, I would look at solicitor training contracts. They recruit further in advance, so you could start studying law after you know you will actually have a job at the end of it, thereby removing the massive element of risk inherent in training for the bar. With your background, city law firms would be very interested in you.

I really do apologise if this post appears overly negative. The bar obviously has many positives too. I'm just trying to tell you what I wish someone had told me a bit earlier!

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further.
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DimaTae
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(Original post by beastfromtheeast)
I am currently doing pupillage, and my strong advice would be, do not jack in your decent career to become a barrister. I admit that as a criminal pupil, my view of things is likely to be less rosy than other types of pupil, but much of what I say is of general application.

The problem with the bar is that you have to invest huge amounts of time and money before you know if you are ever going to get a pupillage or not. It would be one thing spending 2 years of your life and thousands of pounds doing the GDL and BPTC if you knew that you had a pupillage at the end of it. However, most pupils do not obtain pupillage until they are already on the BPTC. Given the odds of securing a pupillage, that is an enormous gamble.

As for when you make it to pupillage, your experience will be very dependent on the type of law you practise in. In crime however, I have found all the urban myths to be true. The money is truly horrendous, to the extent that I still live with my parents and could not possibly afford to move out. It is also long hours and high stress, and the future of the criminal bar is pretty bleak. If you want to do commercial law that is a different story entirely, but even there you still have the problem of the massive gamble, of not knowing whether you will get a pupillage until after the GDL / BPTC.

If I was in your situation, I would look at solicitor training contracts. They recruit further in advance, so you could start studying law after you know you will actually have a job at the end of it, thereby removing the massive element of risk inherent in training for the bar. With your background, city law firms would be very interested in you.

I really do apologise if this post appears overly negative. The bar obviously has many positives too. I'm just trying to tell you what I wish someone had told me a bit earlier!

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further.
Thanks that's very helpful, and your choice to do something you enjoy and not just for the money is very respectable,

I know getting pupillage is the biggest step but I didn't know solicitors recruited in advance, would it be possible to get pupillage before even starting a law conversion, as in 2 years in advance?


I admit I am pretty uninformed about the legal profession, and being a barrister just seemed to carry much more prestige as I mentioned in my first post, as well as the fact they get to argue their case in court
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username1020490
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(Original post by DimaTae)
Thanks that's very helpful, and your choice to do something you enjoy and not just for the money is very respectable,

I know getting pupillage is the biggest step but I didn't know solicitors recruited in advance, would it be possible to get pupillage before even starting a law conversion, as in 2 years in advance?


I admit I am pretty uninformed about the legal profession, and being a barrister just seemed to carry much more prestige as I mentioned in my first post, as well as the fact they get to argue their case in court
Chambers generally recruit a year in advance, so for example the vast majority of current pupillage gateway applications are for pupillages starting in September 2014. So in short you'd need to be in your GDL year before applying. Although some chambers even recruit slightly later than this e.g. 9 Stone Buildings is in September for the following September; or slightly earlier, particularly big chancery e.g. Wilberforce in February for September in 18 months time, you'd still need to be on your GDL.
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beastfromtheeast
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Yes indeed, as ajh 1990 said, you would need at the very least to be on the GDL before you could obtain a pupillage. I think approximately 30% or so of pupils obtained their pupillage whilst on the GDL/law degree, according to the latest statistics I read.

As for training contracts, big city firms recruit 2 years in advance. I think people are applying around about now for training contracts to start in September 2015. Smaller law firms recruit their trainees closer to the starting date. I'm not an expert on the solicitor route but I think that's the general picture.

Another option would be to qualify as a solicitor, and then once you are fully qualified, you could cross-qualify to the bar. I believe moving between the 2 branches of the profession (once fully qualified) is a fairly simple step involving one exam.
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