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Will my A-Levels hold me back from becoming a solicitor?

I have recently got my A-Level grades and they didn't turn out how I wanted. I achieved BBC overall and still got into university luckily due to my unconditional offer. I will be studying Law at the University of Reading but i'm worried about my future as a solicitor due to my A-levels. I'm also worried my poor A-level results will hold me back for the rest of my life in terms of finding jobs.

I may come out with ABC due a remark but doubt this will really make any impact

Can someone please help me and give me some advice? :confused:
(edited 9 years ago)

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Original post by anotherlawstudent
I have recently got my A-Level grades and they didn't turn out how I wanted. I achieved BBC overall and still got into university luckily due to my unconditional offer. I will be studying Law at the University of Reading but i'm worried about my future as a solicitor due to my A-levels. I'm also worried my poor A-level results will hold me back for the rest of my life in terms of finding jobs.

Can someone please help me and give me some advice? :confused:


First of all congratulations on getting into University!

As for your A-Level grades, if I'm to be brutally honest they probably won't cut it for most commercial law firms. Law firms tend to set A-level filters around the ABB mark. This could disadvantage you when applying to some of the big firms.

Don't be completely disheartened though. A lot of smaller firms (and some larger ones too such as Freshfields) care far more about what you achieve at University. If you do well and have a very very good application you may stand a good chance.

Remember also that law firms really couldn't care less about your A-level grades. The only reason they have filters is because they physically cannot looks at every application and need some means of reducing the number papers on their desks.

In short, whilst BBC isn't great and may disadvantage you, there is still a chance. If you get a very high 2.1 at University or a 1st and the build up a good CV and tailer your application to smaller firms without A-level filters there is a chance.

Don't want to give false hope either. It is INCREDIBLY competitive and very very hard to get a training contract even for people that meet the criteria let alone someone who doesn't.

Good Luck :smile:

EDIT: I'm talking about commercial law firms here btw
(edited 9 years ago)
As long as you're in Uni, and you pass the Solicitor training course (equivalent to BPTC for Barristers), you should be fine. It really depends on your specialised field - Criminal solicitors can work directly in Police Stations, others work as sole traders (or partnerships), others work for larger firms - this is where you may encounter problems. Take away the Police Station bit, and that's pretty much the whole choice you've got. If you wanted to work for a company, you may have your A Levels checked, but it'll vary.

Really, you should be fine - as long as your degree is good, you'll be able to become a solicitor with no problems! It really depends on your further career intentions.

Oh, and well done for both grades and for Uni! :-)


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Reply 3
Original post by Mattvr
As long as you're in Uni, and you pass the Solicitor training course (equivalent to BPTC for Barristers), you should be fine. It really depends on your specialised field - Criminal solicitors can work directly in Police Stations, others work as sole traders (or partnerships), others work for larger firms - this is where you may encounter problems. Take away the Police Station bit, and that's pretty much the whole choice you've got. If you wanted to work for a company, you may have your A Levels checked, but it'll vary.

Really, you should be fine - as long as your degree is good, you'll be able to become a solicitor with no problems! It really depends on your further career intentions.

Oh, and well done for both grades and for Uni! :-)


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As much as I see you encouraging him, I think you're being a tad optimistic and inaccurate.

He won't be a solicitor "no problems" because its just to competitive. Also passing the LPC is no promise of a job. Its also quite expensive to self fund :smile:

You are however right that criminal high Street firms are more likely to accept him but even that is no walk in the park
Is my best bet to re-take my a-levels and reject my university offer then? At least for a good chance...?

I really feel hopeless about my future :frown:
Original post by anotherlawstudent
Is my best bet to re-take my a-levels and reject my university offer then? At least for a good chance...?

I really feel hopeless about my future :frown:


Yes, you want AAB+ and study law at a top uni (I say this loosely preferably top 20 law rankings) with decent E/Cs, work experience, involved in relevant societies and a 2:1+ to be in with a 'good chance'. Good luck.
Would ABB be acceptable or AAB since i'm planning to resit some modules and not full exams.

thanks again for all the help!
Original post by anotherlawstudent
Would ABB be acceptable or AAB since i'm planning to resit some modules and not full exams.

thanks again for all the help!



ABB should be fine for most law firms bar the very top.
Reply 8
Yeah most firms are ABB but nowadays the very top ones are AAB
Don't feel hopeless!

It is true that most of the city-type firms need high A levels - it is not just as a filtering device, it is so that they have some evidence in someone who has not really ever worked in a professional environment, that they might have what it takes to be a commercial lawyer.

So, if you are bent on applying for firms who do specify AAB, then yes your A levels will bar you. Bear this in mind though:

- mitigating circs - do you have any? (Real ones)

- There are firms which don't employ with A level as a bar - look up Irwin Mitchell and the GLS or CPS for a start

- Some firms run 'blind' CV type competitions ie I think CC run one and Slaughter and May

- one of the attractions of getting a TC deal two years in advance is the firm pays for your GDL/LPC etc - do you need this to happen? If you do, then you need to factor it in

- If you don't need firms to pay for your GDL/LPC, then you can go the paralegal route - ie get a job as paralegal, then impress firm from within = TC or get job as paralegal, impress from within, part time LPC

- or look up Cilex (trainee solicitor site good for this) then you don't need TC

- make sure you get lots of legal experience. Whatever your A levels, you need to show law firms that you are committed to law

- put some distance between your studies and TC application process - gain some actual useful experience you can use to balance out your A level results

- make sure you get a decent degree! Try and get decent grades from now on in

- my A levels are worse than yours! I still get interviews etc although I am a career changer so have difference experience

- If you really want to qual, then you should be able to find a way, but don't expect to do it competing directly now with people who do have AAAAAAAAAAAAA at A level applying for TCs now, as without anything else to offer/mit circs you will find this a struggle

- it might feel bad now, but really, it will be fine!



Original post by anotherlawstudent
Is my best bet to re-take my a-levels and reject my university offer then? At least for a good chance...?

I really feel hopeless about my future :frown:
Reply 10
I can tell you from personal experience your chances of a corporate TC are really pretty low. Resitting modules is probably the best way to go to try and bring your marks up, but be aware that most law firms will ask you whether you have re-sat any A-level modules and why so have a convincing answer for why you did poorly first time out.

If you can't bring yourself to a BBB at least and achieve a 1st at university, you will have a very low chance of success. One of my friends got BCD A levels, still made it into a lower Russell group where he got 66% and a distinction (75%) on his LPC with good extra-currics, but he has never gotten a TC interview despite writing pretty decent TC apps.

You may have more success at West end/regional firms but there is no guarantee. I would suggest that whatever you do, if you are unable to secure a TC by the time you graduate then don't self-fund an LPC, paralegal for a year and try re-applying. If you are unsuccessful after 1 year, then I would honestly consider a career change.
Original post by Anonynous
Yes, you want AAB+ and study law at a top uni (I say this loosely preferably top 20 law rankings) with decent E/Cs, work experience, involved in relevant societies and a 2:1+ to be in with a 'good chance'. Good luck.


But..wouldn't some firms have filters as in achieved A levels in 2 years first time round?

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Original post by JTTTT
I can tell you from personal experience your chances of a corporate TC are really pretty low. Resitting modules is probably the best way to go to try and bring your marks up, but be aware that most law firms will ask you whether you have re-sat any A-level modules and why so have a convincing answer for why you did poorly first time out.

If you can't bring yourself to a BBB at least and achieve a 1st at university, you will have a very low chance of success. One of my friends got BCD A levels, still made it into a lower Russell group where he got 66% and a distinction (75%) on his LPC with good extra-currics, but he has never gotten a TC interview despite writing pretty decent TC apps.

You may have more success at West end/regional firms but there is no guarantee. I would suggest that whatever you do, if you are unable to secure a TC by the time you graduate then don't self-fund an LPC, paralegal for a year and try re-applying. If you are unsuccessful after 1 year, then I would honestly consider a career change.


BCD A levels! !!! I'm baffled!!! Completely shocked he got accepted into a Russell group uni ! Which one was it? Liverpool/Qmul?

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Original post by lozasaurus99
But..wouldn't some firms have filters as in achieved A levels in 2 years first time round?

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Yes, that is correct.
Original post by Anonynous
Yes, that is correct.


Then is there a point in retaking? Apart from the fact to look good on your cv and personal achievement?

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Original post by lozasaurus99
Then is there a point in retaking? Apart from the fact to look good on your cv and personal achievement?

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Yes better A levels is likely to improve your job prospects.
Yes. Unfortunately, most law firms apply lazy arbitrary filters (usually electronic) which they adhere to even if you have a CV which trumps someone with better A-levels. I would say: do some A-level resits if you can or carefully target firms which are less robotic about A-levels. Slaughter and May, for example, are less so if you demonstrate excellence at degree level.
Original post by Lady Comstock
Yes. Unfortunately, most law firms apply lazy arbitrary filters (usually electronic) which they adhere to even if you have a CV which trumps someone with better A-levels. I would say: do some A-level resits if you can or carefully target firms which are less robotic about A-levels. Slaughter and May, for example, are less so if you demonstrate excellence at degree level.


Oo thanks for very helpful advice :smile: though even if you went to a non Russell group & achieved a first ? they "target unis for the best graduates" or would it matter? Then if you did a relevant masters at a prestigious uni like ucl/lse/kings? Would your career prospects be enhanced even further?

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Reply 18
I got A* B and C even though they are not the exact same grades my grades have the same Ucas points as ABB thus would I be still be able to apply for those firms.
Some firms will be a bit stuck up by that’s only like 10%. It’s not just about books and grades

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