aaliyah.ana
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Hi! I'm about to start my undergrad degree (PPE @ Notts) so I've been trying to think more seriously about what I want to do after uni. I've flirted with a lot of ideas - from dipolmat to journalist. All I'm certain about is that I want to be in a role where I am helping to reduce inequality in society and help deliver justice. As a result, I am thinking about becoming a criminal/human rights lawyer but I'm unsure about this as all the research I've done hasn't really been that clear. Could someone please help me understand what this type of job would entail & how realistic my chances of being able to do it would be?
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Vexper
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Hi! I'm about to start my undergrad degree (PPE @ Notts) so I've been trying to think more seriously about what I want to do after uni
Find this kind of amusing. Now that you're locked into your degree likely propped up by thousands of student finance you're only just starting to think seriously about what you want to do after uni. Generally what you want to do after uni should be dictating what you study if it's a career you're after. If you want to go into crim/human rights law you should have done a Law degree... you're just wasting time and money going generalist.

Typically the conversion courses, GDL followed up with LPC are expensive and obviously add more onto your life of studying where others have already pulled ahead of you and competition is already fierce as it is for those who studied law from the get go and always wanted to do it. It's not really a career you can be flexible on and decide out of the blue you want to do it, it's a calling. Are you in a position to change to Law? Notts do it iirc.

You might want to look into welfare rights advisory roles with CAB or Shelter, they take on voluntary roles and as you gain more experience you could apply for paid roles instead.
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aaliyah.ana
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(Original post by Vexper)
Find this kind of amusing. Now that you're locked into your degree likely propped up by thousands of student finance you're only just starting to think seriously about what you want to do after uni. Generally what you want to do after uni should be dictating what you study if it's a career you're after. If you want to go into crim/human rights law you should have done a Law degree... you're just wasting time and money going generalist.

Typically the conversion courses, GDL followed up with LPC are expensive and obviously add more onto your life of studying where others have already pulled ahead of you and competition is already fierce as it is for those who studied law from the get go and always wanted to do it. It's not really a career you can be flexible on and decide out of the blue you want to do it, it's a calling. Are you in a position to change to Law? Notts do it iirc.

You might want to look into welfare rights advisory roles with CAB or Shelter, they take on voluntary roles and as you gain more experience you could apply for paid roles instead.
Hi, thanks for your advice - I'm going to start looking into welfare rights advisory roles now to see if they are a fit for me. I would like to just say that I have put a lot of serious thought into what I want to do with my life for a long time & this isn't just a recent development. The reason I chose to study PPE over Law was because my interest in Law doesn't come from a love for the subject but more from seeing its impact on people's lives/society & spending three years studying a notoriously difficult subject that I wasn't completely passionate about seemed like a waste of time to me. Still, thank you for your input and I'll definitely be acting on it in the future
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Vexper
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(Original post by aaliyah.ana)
Hi, thanks for your advice - I'm going to start looking into welfare rights advisory roles now to see if they are a fit for me. I would like to just say that I have put a lot of serious thought into what I want to do with my life for a long time & this isn't just a recent development. The reason I chose to study PPE over Law was because my interest in Law doesn't come from a love for the subject but more from seeing its impact on people's lives/society & spending three years studying a notoriously difficult subject that I wasn't completely passionate about seemed like a waste of time to me. Still, thank you for your input and I'll definitely be acting on it in the future
You could always do the conversion course into social work lol (don't know many councils that isn't crying out for them non-stop)

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ab...alist-adviser/ - that's the type of role you could be doing. It's a very tough role, not for the faint hearted. People on the breadline will frequently rely entirely on you to know their rights and how to fix their benefit claims and cut through lots of complex **** that DWP through at them. Learning areas of law go hand in hand with these roles. You may go and represent terrified claimants at tribunals and have to stand up for them. In my voluntary role ages ago I mainly dealt with housing issues - I remember some guy turning up who had been sleeping rough for a week because the landlord had changed their locks to the house, no court order or legal steps taken, legit tenancy agreement in place. He'd fallen behind in rent (not entirely, some partial amounts) in rent for the past 3 months and the landlord was a god-walks-earth type person. I marched the client straight over to the police station to report an illegal eviction and it got sorted very quickly.

Your salary won't be top dollar, it's not particularly a line of work that people get into for the money. You will frequently see this - NHS etc is long starved salary wise. Welfare Rights after often fighting for funding too.
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username5237384
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You may also want to apply for a summer internships at the British Embassy. Might be a great opportunity to get an insight into policy, economic and diplomacy related work. Similarly, try applying to NGOs / international organisations in your field of interest. WTO comes to mind, if you want to explore the role of trade and development. The ICRC has inernships for students interested in humanitarian issues, particularly in relation to war crimes. Another good way to explore whether you want to focus more on international relations/diplomacy or law is to inern with an international tribunal or court, like the International Court of Justice or International Criminal Court.
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aaliyah.ana
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(Original post by 215cakes)
You may also want to apply for a summer internships at the British Embassy. Might be a great opportunity to get an insight into policy, economic and diplomacy related work. Similarly, try applying to NGOs / international organisations in your field of interest. WTO comes to mind, if you want to explore the role of trade and development. The ICRC has inernships for students interested in humanitarian issues, particularly in relation to war crimes. Another good way to explore whether you want to focus more on international relations/diplomacy or law is to inern with an international tribunal or court, like the International Court of Justice or International Criminal Court.
Hi, thank you for your advice - I'll definitely be acting on it! I have also wanted to work with an NGO/IGO but I couldn't really find any that offered interships so I will definitely be looking into your suggestions so thank you
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by aaliyah.ana)
Hi! I'm about to start my undergrad degree (PPE @ Notts) so I've been trying to think more seriously about what I want to do after uni. I've flirted with a lot of ideas - from dipolmat to journalist. All I'm certain about is that I want to be in a role where I am helping to reduce inequality in society and help deliver justice. As a result, I am thinking about becoming a criminal/human rights lawyer but I'm unsure about this as all the research I've done hasn't really been that clear. Could someone please help me understand what this type of job would entail & how realistic my chances of being able to do it would be?
Forgive the eye roll, but if I had a pound for every time a student said or wrote something like this I'd be on the Sunday Times Richlist. Don't get me wrong; I'm not going to judge anyone for wanting to help people and make a positive difference in society. The problem with this statement is that it is entirely idealistic, has no grounding in practicality whatsoever, and in and of itself just helps you so little when it comes to deciding what you want to do. It invariably leads to people saying they want to work in crime or human rights, exactly as you have done, when not only are those roles probably nothing like you think they are, but there are many other (and better) ways you can achieve your aim in law. In fairness though, you do say that your research hasn't been clear and you have made this thread looking for that information, so I'll throw out some bullet points. You've been given some helpful information on other areas where you could work, but I'm going to keep this to the law.

First, human rights. It's arguably not a separate area of law at all, rather it is an issue that can crop up in many different areas of law. As a practice area it is niche and something that is very difficult to specifically aim for as a career path. Second, crime. Two issues here. The first is that working as a criminal lawyer (solicitor or barrister) doesn't achieve what you think it does in your head. As a criminal solicitor, you'll often be representing people who either are or who you genuinely believe are guilty. Defending someone that you think is guilty is absolute bread and butter for a criminal practitioner, and it may not be something that you've applied your mind to. As a barrister, you'll also inevitably be prosecuting as well as defending, which is something else that a lot of people in your position don't consider. The reality of the day to day job is also something you need to consider. It is low paid and difficult. That warm and fuzzy feeling that you get when you think about delivering justice is not something you'll be feeling an awful lot when actually doing the job. You'll no doubt get it now and again, and that might be enough to keep you going, but it's so important before you aim for a career in criminal law that you seriously inform yourself as to the practicalities of working in that area.

Third, there are other and arguably better practice areas for your ideology. As an employment lawyer you would represent vulnerable employees who have lost their jobs or suffered discrimination, or even small companies facing spurious claims. As a housing lawyer you would represent vulnerable individuals who potentially face eviction, or who live in poor conditions. As an immigration lawyer you would represent those who face deportation. As an education lawyer you could represent children with special educational needs and work to secure the right provision for them. I have many more examples, but I think you get the point. The advice is to ensure that, even if you fully hold on to that ideology, you need to broaden your horizons as to how you might achieve that.

Fourth, practical advice. Get some legal work experience and see these things for yourself. Write to local solicitors' firms and ask for work experience. Apply for mini pupillages (work experience) at different barristers' Chambers that do a range of work, including crime. Apply for marshalling (work experience) with a Judge to see how the insight of courts actually work. Go along to your local Magistrates or Crown Court (when they reopen) and just sit in the public gallery and watch some hearings. Rather than just searching the internet for answers, go and get some practical experience of how the legal industry works day to day.

Hopefully that helps to a degree, but if you've actually got any specific questions on the legal side of things, reply to this post and I'll answer them.
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aaliyah.ana
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
Forgive the eye roll, but if I had a pound for every time a student said or wrote something like this I'd be on the Sunday Times Richlist. Don't get me wrong; I'm not going to judge anyone for wanting to help people and make a positive difference in society. The problem with this statement is that it is entirely idealistic, has no grounding in practicality whatsoever, and in and of itself just helps you so little when it comes to deciding what you want to do. It invariably leads to people saying they want to work in crime or human rights, exactly as you have done, when not only are those roles probably nothing like you think they are, but there are many other (and better) ways you can achieve your aim in law. In fairness though, you do say that your research hasn't been clear and you have made this thread looking for that information, so I'll throw out some bullet points. You've been given some helpful information on other areas where you could work, but I'm going to keep this to the law.

First, human rights. It's arguably not a separate area of law at all, rather it is an issue that can crop up in many different areas of law. As a practice area it is niche and something that is very difficult to specifically aim for as a career path. Second, crime. Two issues here. The first is that working as a criminal lawyer (solicitor or barrister) doesn't achieve what you think it does in your head. As a criminal solicitor, you'll often be representing people who either are or who you genuinely believe are guilty. Defending someone that you think is guilty is absolute bread and butter for a criminal practitioner, and it may not be something that you've applied your mind to. As a barrister, you'll also inevitably be prosecuting as well as defending, which is something else that a lot of people in your position don't consider. The reality of the day to day job is also something you need to consider. It is low paid and difficult. That warm and fuzzy feeling that you get when you think about delivering justice is not something you'll be feeling an awful lot when actually doing the job. You'll no doubt get it now and again, and that might be enough to keep you going, but it's so important before you aim for a career in criminal law that you seriously inform yourself as to the practicalities of working in that area.

Third, there are other and arguably better practice areas for your ideology. As an employment lawyer you would represent vulnerable employees who have lost their jobs or suffered discrimination, or even small companies facing spurious claims. As a housing lawyer you would represent vulnerable individuals who potentially face eviction, or who live in poor conditions. As an immigration lawyer you would represent those who face deportation. As an education lawyer you could represent children with special educational needs and work to secure the right provision for them. I have many more examples, but I think you get the point. The advice is to ensure that, even if you fully hold on to that ideology, you need to broaden your horizons as to how you might achieve that.

Fourth, practical advice. Get some legal work experience and see these things for yourself. Write to local solicitors' firms and ask for work experience. Apply for mini pupillages (work experience) at different barristers' Chambers that do a range of work, including crime. Apply for marshalling (work experience) with a Judge to see how the insight of courts actually work. Go along to your local Magistrates or Crown Court (when they reopen) and just sit in the public gallery and watch some hearings. Rather than just searching the internet for answers, go and get some practical experience of how the legal industry works day to day.

Hopefully that helps to a degree, but if you've actually got any specific questions on the legal side of things, reply to this post and I'll answer them.
Hi, thank you so much for your advice - it was really helpful. Once everything returns back to normal, I will try and arrange some work experience to get a proper insight into the industry and make a more considered decision. One more thing, do you know how the law conversion side of things work? It was one of the first things I looked into but all the acronyms got me confused very quickly
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by aaliyah.ana)
Hi, thank you so much for your advice - it was really helpful. Once everything returns back to normal, I will try and arrange some work experience to get a proper insight into the industry and make a more considered decision. One more thing, do you know how the law conversion side of things work? It was one of the first things I looked into but all the acronyms got me confused very quickly
Once you have finished your undergraduate degree you do the GDL as a one year postgraduate course. You then do the LPC and try to secure a training contract if you want to be a solicitor or the BPTC/BTC and try to secure a pupillage if you want to be a barrister.
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heidggbh
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(Original post by Vexper)
If you want to go into crim/human rights law you should have done a Law degree... you're just wasting time and money going generalist.

Typically the conversion courses, GDL followed up with LPC are expensive and obviously add more onto your life of studying where others have already pulled ahead of you and competition is already fierce as it is for those who studied law from the get go and always wanted to do it. It's not really a career you can be flexible on and decide out of the blue you want to do it, it's a calling.
Except the fact that half of qualified lawyers now hold a GDL or its equivalent. As long as a person can showcase genuine commitment by involving themselves in the relevant activities and showcasing excellent academic history, they should have no problems.
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montyr
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
Once you have finished your undergraduate degree you do the GDL as a one year postgraduate course. You then do the LPC and try to secure a training contract if you want to be a solicitor or the BPTC/BTC and try to secure a pupillage if you want to be a barrister.
One thing to bear in mind, the GDL/LPC route is being replaced by the SQE route, which will be in place by the time they graduate.

But I’d echo a lot of that as a non-lawyer converting to law as a career changer. The reality is often very different to how you imagine it. That’s a reality of working life.

I know the Equality and Human Rights Commission take on interns, might be worth exploring that too. That’ll potentially expose you to employment/education/property issues, supporting those who are potentially victims of discrimination or human rights breaches. They also do a lot of policy work, which might be something you’re interested in.

There are a lot of ways to get what you are looking for, other than law. The other thing to bare in mind is very few of those types of firms will support you in anyway through the gdl/lpc. I can only think of a handful of firms that will support the lpc and none that will support the gdl. It isn’t cheap.

Keep an open mind and don’t procrastinate, seek out experiences to help with your decision making.
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lawcalling
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(Original post by Vexper)
Find this kind of amusing. Now that you're locked into your degree likely propped up by thousands of student finance you're only just starting to think seriously about what you want to do after uni. Generally what you want to do after uni should be dictating what you study if it's a career you're after. If you want to go into crim/human rights law you should have done a Law degree... you're just wasting time and money going generalist.

Typically the conversion courses, GDL followed up with LPC are expensive and obviously add more onto your life of studying where others have already pulled ahead of you and competition is already fierce as it is for those who studied law from the get go and always wanted to do it. It's not really a career you can be flexible on and decide out of the blue you want to do it, it's a calling. Are you in a position to change to Law? Notts do it iirc.

You might want to look into welfare rights advisory roles with CAB or Shelter, they take on voluntary roles and as you gain more experience you could apply for paid roles instead.
With the SQE coming into play (most likely before aaliyah.ana finishes his/her degree) it will take both lawyers and non-lawyers a year to 'study' following their degree (rather than 1 year LPC for law students and 2 years for GDL+LPC for non-law). The SQE will be compulsory for both law and non-law students, so no wasted time or money by going via this route! Don't feel guilty about going for PPE if you want to pursue a career in law, I feel like many 'potential' lawyers will go for a wider range of degrees once the SQE is introduced (as many inherent disadvantages of taking non-law degrees are removed through the new system). PPE will definitely give you some solid grounding for the areas of work you're interested in. More info about the SQE here: https://www.lawcareers.net/Solicitor...ng-examination and https://www.law.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/sqe/
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Vexper
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(Original post by lawcalling)
With the SQE coming into play (most likely before aaliyah.ana finishes his/her degree) it will take both lawyers and non-lawyers a year to 'study' following their degree (rather than 1 year LPC for law students and 2 years for GDL+LPC for non-law). The SQE will be compulsory for both law and non-law students, so no wasted time or money by going via this route! Don't feel guilty about going for PPE if you want to pursue a career in law, I feel like many 'potential' lawyers will go for a wider range of degrees once the SQE is introduced (as many inherent disadvantages of taking non-law degrees are removed through the new system). PPE will definitely give you some solid grounding for the areas of work you're interested in. More info about the SQE here: https://www.lawcareers.net/Solicitor...ng-examination and https://www.law.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/sqe/
It's finger in the air stuff right now, BPP have their new course which is 8 months, incredibly skeptical regarding the length and god knows the cost - then supplementary SQE prep courses (unsure of the cost or content) and then paying for the assessments themselves which are sizeable. Ultimately you always be better off doing Law right off the bat as Unis are now looking to incorporate SQE prep as part of the parcel.

I don't think I would ever recommend this path to anyone who doesn't ultimately know what they want anyhow. It's silly amounts of debt which ultimately will probably pan out to nothing. I sadly know so many people who did the GDL and didn't go into Law. Waste of time and money. Something odd that attracts students on TSR to it, who have no idea how much of a slog it is.
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Johnny ~
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(Original post by Vexper)
Unis are now looking to incorporate SQE prep as part of the parcel.
Any sources for which universities are doing this or have announced that they will be doing this? The response from any decent university seems to be lukewarm to non-existent at best.
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(Original post by Johnny ~)
Any sources for which universities are doing this or have announced that they will be doing this? The response from any decent university seems to be lukewarm to non-existent at best.
My cousin is trying to find this out right now, universities are using COVID-19 as a blanket get-out-of-jail card for comitting to any type of information. It seems they're not even delaying the rollout of SQE despite this going on and universities probably aren't equipped to deal with this right now. Also yeah they will be changing their courses but unsure how, they won't say! The rollout is really hodgepodge...
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