What exactly is the pathway to being a lawyer? Watch

muhammedk
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Hey guys!!!

I'm really unsure as to what to go into in the future and honestly am considering all my options. I'm currently in Year 12 studying Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Economics. For my GCSE's, I got 5 A*'s and 8 A's. I'm considering quite a few things: Law, Accountancy, Dentistry and even Medicine!

I just wanted to know from all you made it lawyers or soon to make it lawyers (!) just a few things:

1. What made you want to go into law?
2. What is 'law' exactly?
3. What's the pathway into becoming a lawyer?
4. Is it difficult to get into?
5. From your personal experience, would you recommend it?

Thanks guys!
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muhammedk
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(Original post by J-SP)
There are careers outside of being a lawyer but still within the legal profession, and careers within the"lawyer" profession are quite broad.

Generally speaking for most of them you have to exceptionally good with words, the written language and strong verbal communication. You need to be able to work with and get the best out of very different types of people. And you have to be pretty resilient and determined. Most careers in law are tough (long hours/tight deadlines etc) and the environment is one where you have to want to excel at everything you do.


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Sounds interesting.

How exactly do you get to being a lawyer or a solicitor? Say for example, you have a law degree - how then do you become a lawyer? From my brief understanding, I know you have to find a trainee contract and take your law exams? I know this is also possible without a degree in specifically law.

Thanks
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mrlufc3131
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(Original post by muhammedk)
Sounds interesting.

How exactly do you get to being a lawyer or a solicitor? Say for example, you have a law degree - how then do you become a lawyer? From my brief understanding, I know you have to find a trainee contract and take your law exams? I know this is also possible without a degree in specifically law.

Thanks
Just for the sake of clarity, solicitors are lawyers, rather than being distinct from 'lawyers'. The term 'lawyer' generally refers either a solicitor or a barrister. The route referred to be J-SP is that for a solicitor.
Barristers have to do, where appropriate, the GDL, and a different course (the BPTC), lasting one academic year, followed by a 1-year 'pupillage' at a chambers. Typically, therefore, the route is roughly one year quicker than the solicitor route. However, barristers often, and increasingly, seem to have done further study within law (and have usually studied law to begin with), so that's worth bearing in mind.
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by muhammedk)
1. What made you want to go into law?
2. What is 'law' exactly?
3. What's the pathway into becoming a lawyer?
4. Is it difficult to get into?
5. From your personal experience, would you recommend it?
Just to confirm from the outset that I am a barrister, so I'll be answering these questions from that angle.

1. I had an interest in being a barrister from an early age, before I had any practical knowledge or experience of the role. I did a few mini pupillages, which maintained my interest, but ultimately I was only ever on the path to being a barrister.

2. I'm not sure you even know what question you've asked there.

3. This has already been answered. Law degree or Non law degree followed by the GDL, then either the LPC or BPTC depending on whether you want to be a solicitor or barrister, then either a training contract (solicitor) or pupillage (barrister).

4. Yes. Law is certainly one of the more competitive industries to force your way in to. Statistically it is harder to become a barrister than it is a solicitor.

5. Being a barrister is not for the vast majority of people, and indeed it isn't for the majority of people who actually want to be barristers. It requires a wide set of skills, both intellectual and practical, and the lifestyle is also unusual even when compared to other self employed professions. That said, I enjoy my job a lot and get out of bed in the morning for it. I would certainly recommend it to those who would enjoy and who have reasonable prospects of actually becoming a barrister.

(Original post by mrlufc3131)
Just for the sake of clarity, solicitors are lawyers, rather than being distinct from 'lawyers'. The term 'lawyer' generally refers either a solicitor or a barrister. The route referred to be J-SP is that for a solicitor.
Barristers have to do, where appropriate, the GDL, and a different course (the BPTC), lasting one academic year, followed by a 1-year 'pupillage' at a chambers. Typically, therefore, the route is roughly one year quicker than the solicitor route. However, barristers often, and increasingly, seem to have done further study within law (and have usually studied law to begin with), so that's worth bearing in mind.
You are right to make the barrister/solicitor distinction, and are right about the information as to how to become a barrister, but the underlined sections need to be made expanded upon and/or corrected. First of all, whilst the path to being a barrister is technically one year shorter than that to becoming a solicitor, the bottle neck at the point of obtaining pupillage is a significant obstacle, and is far more of a problem than the equivalent difficulties obtaining a training contract. The vast majority of BPTC students will not obtain pupillage at all, and of those who do most will not do so straight out of the course, so painting the barrister route as the 'quicker' option is potentially misleading in practice.

Secondly, your assertions that barristers have often done further study within law and have usually studied law to begin is not helpful, even if it is statistically accurate (I don't know whether it is or not). The reason being that studying law or doing a different degree followed by the conversion is a choice that in and of itself makes no difference to your prospects of becoming a barrister, and the same applies to further study within law. I am a barrister and have an LLM, but the Masters might as well not have been on my CV when it came to obtaining pupillage, and certainly doesn't impact on my practice now.
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