What does a lawyer's career look like in the UK? Specialisms?

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pepsiu
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I'm hoping to be applying to law this year, after years of wanting to be a doctor. (Disclaimer: yes I am asian, no my parents are not forcing me to choose between these two professions, I know there are others out there, but I am genuinely interested in law, thank you for coming to my ted talk).

I realised medicine wasn't for me, spent a few months figuring out what is next, also realised I don't really want to work in science at all, and I do actually have a big interest in the law. But a big part of my motivation for med was wanting to help people, and I still want that. But from my research it seems most solicitors and barristers are locked into a specialty area of practice.

While I'm going in wanting to do something that helps people ( eg family law), I'm also aware I might change my mind. My sister and cousin both did law, went in wanting the same thing and ended up enjoying other more corporate areas of the law.

My question is, in law, is it possible/common to practise more than one area of the law. Eg, if I'm a 28 year old solicitor/barrister, doing intellectual property law at one firm/chambers, then I decide I want to start doing family law at a different firm, is that a switch I can easily make, or do I need to retrain in some way. Like a general surgeon can't simply step into the role of a neurosurgeon, they would have to complete another 5-8 years of training.

Are there individual qualifications within legal careers, like needing to be certified to practice an area of the law, or is it a matter of "do you think you know enough of that sector to do this job"

Thanks for any help

Side questions for anybody who has made it this far:

Did you enjoy your law degree?
Do you enjoy working in law?
How difficult was it to find a job?
How did you decide to study law?
Do you ever wish you'd done something else?
Where do you see yourself in 10-15 years?

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17Student17
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Once you specialise it is dangerous and wrong to do other areas of law than what you know. Eg if you are really expert at property law and suddenly did a divorce you would get it wrong and the client would sue you. However many even larger firms want you to be well rounded and you might do work in very broad categories eg commercial law or corporate law with a lot of variety within that. I do know one lawyer who eg did 3 years of corporate and moved back to a newly qualified salary to do property law.


Did you enjoy your law degree? Yes, it was really good.
Do you enjoy working in law? Yes
How difficult was it to find a job? Very hard when I looked as we had a much worse economic climate than now. I just kept applying and had 25 interview and made 139 law firm applications in my last year of my degree before eventually getting one (and I was top of my year at a fairly good university)
How did you decide to study law? Liked the sound of it.
Do you ever wish you'd done something else? No
Where do you see yourself in 10-15 years? Same thing
Last edited by 17Student17; 1 month ago
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McGinger
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Lots of useful info here about Law / careers etc - https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and...ors/law-sector
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