Law Gap year? Clearing? Watch

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Leia studies
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Hi
I'm thinking of taking a gap year after these A levels, doing work experience & applying to some different universities for law.
Originally (currently) I've applied to universities for psychology. But I really don't want to do psychology.
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WolfofGatsby
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I've been thinking about doing the same actually. Law's quite a popular degree so there will be competition for places at Universities like LSE, UCL and King's, so a gap year would be your best bet for that. There are always opportunities in Clearing and Adjustment for Law LLB courses, but a place at a top, top University like those mentioned would be difficult in Adjustment and Clearing. What I would recommend is to take a gap year and do Work experience within that year, like my Law teacher was telling me about a scheme where you can Shadow a Judge at your Local Crown Court - This would be pretty impressive on your Personal Statement. Alongside this, you could also apply to become a Lay Magistrate for the year, you'd have to do at least 28 half days in the year and it's not guaranteed you'd be picked, but you don't need any Legal Qualifications for it and Universities would love it.

As for your chances of becoming a Barrister or Solicitor in the future, there's a pretty good chance. To become a Barrister, after you get your degree you'll need to pass the Bar Training Course and then go through a Pupilage (where you shadow a qualified Barrister for 12 months) and then you'll be called to the Bar and become a Barrister, so it wouldn't take too long. Solicitor wise, it's a similar process: after getting your degree you'll need to pass the Legal Practice Course before getting two years' worth of practical experience in either a Solicitor's firm, Crown Prosecution Service or other Legal Organisation. You'll then be admitted as a Solicitor by The Law Society.

Overall, it's a pretty cool profession to go into, it's interesting, pays well, commands respect and you can eventually go on to become a Judge.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by WolfofGatsby)
I've been thinking about doing the same actually. Law's quite a popular degree so there will be competition for places at Universities like LSE, UCL and King's, so a gap year would be your best bet for that. There are always opportunities in Clearing and Adjustment for Law LLB courses, but a place at a top, top University like those mentioned would be difficult in Adjustment and Clearing. What I would recommend is to take a gap year and do Work experience within that year, like my Law teacher was telling me about a scheme where you can Shadow a Judge at your Local Crown Court - This would be pretty impressive on your Personal Statement. Alongside this, you could also apply to become a Lay Magistrate for the year, you'd have to do at least 28 half days in the year and it's not guaranteed you'd be picked, but you don't need any Legal Qualifications for it and Universities would love it.

As for your chances of becoming a Barrister or Solicitor in the future, there's a pretty good chance. To become a Barrister, after you get your degree you'll need to pass the Bar Training Course and then go through a Pupilage (where you shadow a qualified Barrister for 12 months) and then you'll be called to the Bar and become a Barrister, so it wouldn't take too long. Solicitor wise, it's a similar process: after getting your degree you'll need to pass the Legal Practice Course before getting two years' worth of practical experience in either a Solicitor's firm, Crown Prosecution Service or other Legal Organisation. You'll then be admitted as a Solicitor by The Law Society.

Overall, it's a pretty cool profession to go into, it's interesting, pays well, commands respect and you can eventually go on to become a Judge.
Have you ever actually seen a student become a magistrate? It is recommended a lot, but if you look at the magistracy criteria it's an upstanding and accomplished member of the community who looks to be able to commit to the role for several years -- hence it attracts retired people. I think calling for students to apply to become magistrates is just something that looks good on paper.
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WolfofGatsby
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I suppose you have a point. I know of this one guy who became a Magistrate at the age of 19 so I suppose it's not too far off and applications are from 18-65 years of age so it wouldn't hurt to apply even if the chances aren't the highest. The Six Key Qualities that they consider when looking at applications are Good Character, Understanding and Communication, Social Awareness, Maturity and Sound Temperament, Sound Judgement as well as Commitment and Reliability. The last bit of criteria does pose a problem, but if the others are met, then I don't see why it couldn't happen
(Original post by Notoriety)
Have you ever actually seen a student become a magistrate? It is recommended a lot, but if you look at the magistracy criteria it's an upstanding and accomplished member of the community who looks to be able to commit to the role for several years -- hence it attracts retired people. I think calling for students to apply to become magistrates is just something that looks good on paper.
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WolfofGatsby
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Yeah, unless you want to study abroad for a year, in which case you'd take Law with a year abroad. Considering a degree would be 3 years and the Bar professional Training course is either 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time, overall it seems like it would only take about 5-6 years when you consider the pupilage as well.

I'm not too sure about becoming 'Successful', because ultimately that relates to the cases you take and if you are a self-employed barrister working in chambers or working for a Legal Organisation
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WolfofGatsby
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You're able to wait until results day, there are plenty of people in the same position so don't worry! Come results day, if you opt for Law and a Gap year, all you need to do is reject your firm offer. Then you'll need to apply on UCAS for Law once the next Application season starts
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WolfofGatsby
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No problemo! I've got a Firm offer for Business Management but like you, I'm tryna decide whether I should go for Law and take a gap year because I want a top uni too! Yep, 24 I believe!

I'm not completely sure, but I think you can just become a General Lawyer by getting your degree as you can then work in a Legal Organisation.

By figures do you mean salary? Or the number of people who succeed in becoming Solicitors or Barristers? If it's the former, then salaries are good, but Barristers will get paid more as they have higher rights of advocacy etc. But if it's the latter, I think the figures are pretty decent, obviously not everyone will succeed but as long as you work hard then it can happen.
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Notoriety
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J-SP did you see any people who had been magistrates apply for TCs?
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J-SP
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(Original post by Notoriety)
J-SP did you see any people who had been magistrates apply for TCs?
Can’t ever remember one. Doesn’t mean they hadn’t applied, just means it wasn’t clearly of importance on an application form.
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J-SP
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No - generally it’s competitive, especially at the top end of the market.

What do you mean come out of it better than they went in?
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Notoriety
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(Original post by J-SP)
Can’t ever remember one. Doesn’t mean they hadn’t applied, just means it wasn’t clearly of importance on an application form.
True. I am happy to be proven wrong, but I have always dismissed that path as improbable. After doing research on it as a fresher.
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J-SP
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(Original post by Notoriety)
True. I am happy to be proven wrong, but I have always dismissed that path as improbable. After doing research on it as a fresher.
Probably doesn’t help only working for large international commercial firms - maybe it’s more common in smaller firms?!
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JohanGRK
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Didn't read thread because my diss. is due in a week, but:

1) Most formal law-related internships available to school students are either connected to diversity/widening access schemes or have closed. You'll have to rely on contacts at this level, I'm afraid.

2) You need to make sure that you don't wanna do psychology. Maybe spend some of the summer looking through online law courses or law textbooks and see what you think of them. I'm sure that we kind TSRians could send you plenty of materials if you were specific about what you wanted to look at.

3) There's nothing decent in Clearing. Even UCAS Extra has dried up (only Soton and Leicester in it from the half-decent ones, beyond that it's a minefield of ex-polies). Even if a place or two pop up at somewhere like Warwick, they'll probably be gone within hours on Results Day.

4) No one has any idea as to how successful you'll be. Different subsets of the profession look for different things. It comes down to you as an individual, your academic merits, your work experience, etc. But you'll need a lot of commitment to get anything.

There are no 'stats' on becoming a 'successful' lawyer. Sorry. The few available stats are very disheartening and you probably shouldn't be looking at them if you're sitting on the fence.

5) You can always do a psych degree + law conversion/SQE prep course.
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J-SP
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Law won’t be any different to psychology in that respect
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J-SP
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No one cares about the reputation of conversion courses - it really doesn’t work like that for the GDL. Vast majority of people will do it at BPP or University of Law - they are both private institutions, so don’t get caught up in the same “reputation” discussions as other universities.
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J-SP
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You clearly didn’t if you said you choice was based on prestigious universities not offering the GDL....
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Future Trainee
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Why do you want to do Law and why have you gone off doing Psychology other than for the monetary aspect. You can do a conversion which will only be 1 year extra, which is the same as you taking the gap year. Also curious - where is your current firm university.

Also be mindful you have to study for the LNAT for LSE, UCL and KCL (as well for other unis like SOAS, Bristol, Durham), so careful that you don't mess that up as its mostly the top unis that require it.

Depending on where your firm uni is it might not be worth taking the gap year because you can just do a conversion but these are just my thoughts.
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returnmigrant
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Lets get back to basics. You don't want to do Psychology? Withdraw your UCAS application.
You want to do Law - and apparently at an LNAT Uni, so you wont get a place in Clearing (you dont have LNAT).

Take a year out. Get a job (any job), earn some money and get a grasp of how other people live their lives. If you can get some relevant volunteer work like Citz Advice or any advocacy/human rights group do it. Visit courts and sit in the public gallery regularly and listen to entire cases. GO TO JUNE OPEN DAYS and make certain you really do want to do Law. Apply for 5 Law courses in September. Practice like crazy for LNAT, take it in September and with achieved grades you will get early decisions.

Even if you change your mind again (ie. you dont want to do Law after all) you can still apply for any other subject next year. You will go to Uni a bit older, more mature and with a clearer idea of why you are there.
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J-SP
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If you want to be a barrister, you need to aim for Chambers rather than law firms. But either way getting work experience in the legal sector pre university is not straight forward.
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Future Trainee
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It will be very difficult to get any legal work experience without holding a degree - it's not as straightforward as you think.

If I were you (I didn't take a gap year), I would try and get Birmingham to let you switch course as its a very reputable university and you will be very able to become a Barrister with a degree from here. Whilst you are on the course at Birmingham, you will find it more easy to get a mini-pupillage in chambers.

To be honest I would focus on getting your grades now, and if you get the maximum of A*A*A* then perhaps consider taking the gap year or just use clearing to get to a better university - I have seen Warwick in there for Law and KCL did adjustment to Law last year but you need to have sat the LNAT.
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