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    Hi

    I'm wondering if anyone could please provide some input on whether law is the right field for me...

    I'm in my mid 20s and have wanted to study law for years. So, I've finally made the decision to go for it and am currently studying my a-levels.

    However, I'm seriously considering whether I am making a big mistake. Having lived with several lawyers whilst staying in London, and seeing how miserable they were with the hours and work, I'm wondering whether I am making a huge mistake. All I hear about the legal profession is doom and gloom. It's supposedly saturated and the working hours are horrific. This is the biggest caveat for me. I'm prepared to work hard but the idea of working until the early hours of the morning and/or weekends is not something I want to do in a career - even if I'm well compensated for it.

    So I love the subject - but don't love the supposed horrific hours that go with it! Is it like this in every field within the legal profession? Is there any area where you 'typically' work 9-6 / 45-50ish hours per week and still earn a decent living?

    Any input would be hugely appreciated!
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    You could still get a Law degreee but end up with a different career that is less stressful.
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    (Original post by SuperHuman98)
    You could still get a Law degreee but end up with a different career that is less stressful.
    Doesn't an LLB pigeonhole you career-wise? The only other professions I've thought of are paralegal, secretary and law clerk but the salary (in my opinion) doesn't sound too optimistic.
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    (Original post by gking22)
    Doesn't an LLB pigeonhole you career-wise? The only other professions I've thought of are paralegal, secretary and law clerk but the salary (in my opinion) doesn't sound too optimistic.
    I thought because of the skills you gain you can go into other careers such as journalism,teaching etc?
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    (Original post by gking22)
    Doesn't an LLB pigeonhole you career-wise? The only other professions I've thought of are paralegal, secretary and law clerk but the salary (in my opinion) doesn't sound too optimistic.
    Not at all. Plenty of people do law degrees and go onto do other things. You can do basically anything that doesn't require a particular degree specialism. So you don't need to commit to becoming a lawyer before signing up to study for a law degree.

    High street law might get you lower hours but the rewards will be lower than those available in the big firms, and the work will likely be less interesting (depending on what you're into ofc). It really depends what you're calling decent money. Mostly in city firms you'll be expected to do early hours or weekends sometimes, although how often that is required will depend on the firm and department. If you can get into private client work, as one example, you'll likely work relatively short hours.

    Basically I suggest you research the legal profession a little. Chambers student is a good resource for starters.
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    (Original post by gking22)
    Doesn't an LLB pigeonhole you career-wise? The only other professions I've thought of are paralegal, secretary and law clerk but the salary (in my opinion) doesn't sound too optimistic.
    Definitely won't be pigeon holed. LLB grads go into lots of different careers - the majority won't pursue a career in the legal sector.

    Plenty go into finance/banking and accountancy, a good number go into the civil service or other public sector. But I've recruited legal grads into HR and Marketing. Like most degree subjects, it won't limit you at all, if anything thousands of opportunities are open to you.


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    You could try boutique firms with good reps but small enough maybe to retain a work life balance.

    Government and local government will have completely different hours

    I think it's doable, or at least I hope so, but as always compromises.m
    But you may find you don't want to work for those firms anyway

    Research more! Like everyone says you can do a law degre and not decide just yet






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    (Original post by gking22)
    Hi

    I'm wondering if anyone could please provide some input on whether law is the right field for me...

    I'm in my mid 20s and have wanted to study law for years. So, I've finally made the decision to go for it and am currently studying my a-levels.

    However, I'm seriously considering whether I am making a big mistake. Having lived with several lawyers whilst staying in London, and seeing how miserable they were with the hours and work, I'm wondering whether I am making a huge mistake. All I hear about the legal profession is doom and gloom. It's supposedly saturated and the working hours are horrific. This is the biggest caveat for me. I'm prepared to work hard but the idea of working until the early hours of the morning and/or weekends is not something I want to do in a career - even if I'm well compensated for it.

    So I love the subject - but don't love the supposed horrific hours that go with it! Is it like this in every field within the legal profession? Is there any area where you 'typically' work 9-6 / 45-50ish hours per week and still earn a decent living?

    Any input would be hugely appreciated!

    Depends on:

    What area of law you specialise in.
    Which firm you join.
    The location of the firm
    Salary.

    Some departments dont have the same heavy hours as others, some firms are more relaxed, some are nicer to work for (never forget this), others are less pressurised, but pay less. Depends what your version of a decent living is as well.
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    I appreciate you're asking this from a solicitor perspective, but I thought I'd chip in from a barrister perspective, as I expect my point translates well to a degree. *

    I have a busy civil practice, and I work long hours. I expect I work longer hours than the vast majority of solicitors who instruct me, probably significantly so in most cases. To give today as an example, I was up relatively early, had a court hearing in the morning followed by a conference in a different city in the afternoon, and then got back home at about 6pm. Which isn't bad, though as of 7pm I have been sat at my laptop working through my 'to do' list for the evening which comprises of drafting an order for my hearing today, prepping my trial tomorrow, and drafting an urgent Defence following the conference this afternoon. I have other outstanding paperwork but that'll have to wait for another day. I'll probably be working solidly now through to about midnight or so, then I'll be up at 5:30am to catch a train for my trial. I don't really have a 'standard' day, but days like today are not at all unusual. This pattern also continues through into the weekends. It's relatively rare that I get through any day of the week without working in some guise. *

    That may all sound like very hard work, and it is. It is not only challenging from the perspective of managing the work in isolation (and the stress that comes with it), but also from the perspective of getting some sort of work life balance and making time for my family and friends. However, notwithstanding that I do work very long hours I actually feel that I have a great work-life balance. How? Well, it comes down to making it work, and it varies from day to day and week to week. It may be that I am spending a day on papers and need to work twelve hours or more, but I can choose when to do those hours, which means that if I want I can go for a walk with my dog for an hour at lunch. Sometimes trials settle in the morning or multi day trials go short, and I can make good, constructive use of that unexpected time. I settled a trial last week unexpectedly and ended up going on a trip with my family in the afternoon. It's often very ad hoc, but it's very doable because I am determined to make constructive use of my time when I do get free time.

    You have a vast amount of free time as a student, even if you don't realise it. When you work long hours in a demanding job you have even less. When you work long hours in a demanding job and have a family, you have even less again. But that just makes the free time even more valuable, and for me at least it has been a great incentive to make that time count. I make far more of a spare hour nowadays than I probably did with a spare day at university.

    It is obviously a pretty vital part of this whole thing that you actually enjoy your job. If you don't you'll probably not be able to cope with the work demands alone, let alone give yourself into gear to make good use of your spare time, and I do enjoy my job immensely. But providing you do enjoy your job, to my mind it's perfectly possible to have a good work-life balance by approaching the free time that you do have with the right attitude and approach.

    In short, this question is less about the job and more about you as a person. You will have 'enough' spare time in all but the most extreme situations. The question is not how much you have, but what you do with it. If you enjoy your job and approach your spare time in the right way, it's very, very possible to have a highly demanding job and a good work life balance.
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    Hi all

    Many thanks for the helpful replies and advice

    I have thoroughly researched the legal profession and as I'm only several months away from applying for uni, I really appreciate all of the input.

    With regards to what I consider a decent salary, I had around 40-50k in mind. Obviously many solicitors are pursuing the big law with the bigger salaries but I'd be pretty satisfied earning around the above amount working 40-50ish hours per week, with the occasional late nighter. As for the areas, I'm quite interested in real estate, data protection and intellectual property law.

    Crazy Jamie - thanks it's great to see a barrister's input. You say that you get home around 6pm, which is great, but the idea of taking my work home with every single night is why I'm seriously doubting if studying law is the right decision. I really value being with my boyfriend and my family. Having had issues with anxiety in the past, I really need some 'space' to keep on top of it and not feel too 'overwhelmed'. I understand that it can be stressful and accept this.

    The biggest red flag for me is witnessing so many miserable acquaintances, who happen to be lawyers, and hate what they do! It felt like they were burnt out, regretful of their decision in taking up law and were not too supportive when I spoke of my ambitions to do it myself. Regardless I still love the subject but am 'en garde' about applying for an LLB and debt!
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    (Original post by gking22)
    Crazy Jamie - thanks it's great to see a barrister's input. You say that you get home around 6pm, which is great, but the idea of taking my work home with every single night is why I'm seriously doubting if studying law is the right decision. I really value being with my boyfriend and my family. Having had issues with anxiety in the past, I really need some 'space' to keep on top of it and not feel too 'overwhelmed'. I understand that it can be stressful and accept this.
    I said I got home tonight at about 6pm. There is absolutely no rule or pattern as to when I get home from day to day. It'll probably be later tomorrow. It will definitely be much later on Friday. But that's the nature of being self employed and having absolutely no routine. As a solicitor you would at least have a more predictable routine, if not an entirely regular one.

    Taking work home with you is a challenge in that it makes it more difficult to meaningfully separate your work and home life, but solicitors take their work home with them relatively rarely by comparison. You may certainly have to work late at the office on occasion, but you will likely be working at the office, so keeping your home life separate shouldn't be the issue for you that it is at the Bar.
    The anxiety point is a relevant one, but really only you know how badly that is likely to affect you, or to approach it from a more constructive angle only you know how efficiently you're likely to be able to adapt to a pressurised work situation and (if appropriate) develop effective coping mechanisms.*
    *The biggest red flag for me is witnessing so many miserable acquaintances, who happen to be lawyers, and hate what they do! It felt like they were burnt out, regretful of their decision in taking up law and were not too supportive when I spoke of my ambitions to do it myself. Regardless I still love the subject but am 'en garde' about applying for an LLB and debt!
    You should be alive to the possibility that the problem with the people you know lies in part or in whole with them to one degree or another rather than the profession. There are certainly certain firms that place far too much pressure on solicitors to work hard and achieve results/goals, but these problems are not chronic within the profession as far as I am aware. To my mind law does not particularly have an issue in that regard any more than other well known high pressure professions.*
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    (Original post by gking22)
    Doesn't an LLB pigeonhole you career-wise? The only other professions I've thought of are paralegal, secretary and law clerk but the salary (in my opinion) doesn't sound too optimistic.
    To avoid this, try and get work experience in alternative areas, at least in your first year. I really wish I did this, instead of assuming that I had to do City law.

    I did a law degree, did a couple of vacation schemes at top firms/did a summer stint in-house at a major financial institution. All my extra curricular has been geared toward doing law, and I've just begun to realise that I'm not really committed, the work just doesn't excite me, like it should. (major reason behind the vacation schemes rejections)

    As a graduate, I'm quite apprehensive about now trying to go into something completely new, as without my legal work experience, my CV is lacking. Also, I also fear that my CV will scream failed lawyer.
 
 
 
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