The Student Room Group

Solicitor? Lawyer? LLB?

Hi,

After A levels the plan was to take a gap year then do psychology at uni, but recently I've been really interested in law and was considering becoming a solicitor, but would I have to do an LLB for that? If so I haven't got the right subject requirements as I didn't take English so is there another way?
Cheers!
Reply 1
Original post by Peanut_Butter
Hi,
After A levels the plan was to take a gap year then do psychology at uni, but recently I've been really interested in law and was considering becoming a solicitor, but would I have to do an LLB for that? If so I haven't got the right subject requirements as I didn't take English so is there another way?
Cheers!
Hi as someone who switched from psychology to law (except I'm in Year 12) I can give you some guidance on this!

You absolutely do not need English at A level to study an LLB - in fact there are typically no subject requirements (for most universities, I can't speak for all of them). If you wanted to still study psychology at university after your gap year, to become a solicitor you would need to do a conversion degree in law and then complete stage 1 and 2 of the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination). If you secure a training contract during your undergraduate degree or during your conversion degree to law, typically the firm will cover your education expenses and sometimes even give you a grant on top of what they will pay you as a trainee solicitor. During your training contract, you'll have to go through four sixth month seats in various practice groups (different legal areas) and only once you have completed that and the SQE can you qualify as a solicitor through a training contract. While this is the most common route, because training contracts are becoming increasingly difficult to secure, the SQE allows you to self fund both stages and gain a lesser amount of paid legal work experience. This can be in a range of legal roles such as legal advising or paralegal work.

One important thing to note is that an LLB does not make you a solicitor. You will still have to complete further training to qualify as a solicitor, the only difference between an LLB and a non-law or non-qualifying law degree is that you don't need to do a conversion degree in law after your undergraduate degree and you can apply for an LLM immediately after university if you'd like. It's not always a requirement in legal working positions, but it is often an advantage, as you learn the theory behind the law over a lengthier time period. If I were you, I would study the subject I'm most interested in and figure out my career path from there. If it's psychology, then to become a solicitor you'll need to do a postgraduate conversion degree, complete the SQE1 and SQE2 (through a training contract or self funding) and gain paid legal work experience (if you did not opt for the training contract route). If it's a law LLB, you'll still need to do the SQE but it may make life easier, especially when considering networking with legal professionals who can help you with applications and even securing certain positions (this was the biggest thing that swayed me to picking law in the end).

I hope that addressed some of your concerns and let me know if you have anymore questions!
Reply 2
Original post by bibachu
Hi as someone who switched from psychology to law (except I'm in Year 12) I can give you some guidance on this!
You absolutely do not need English at A level to study an LLB - in fact there are typically no subject requirements (for most universities, I can't speak for all of them). If you wanted to still study psychology at university after your gap year, to become a solicitor you would need to do a conversion degree in law and then complete stage 1 and 2 of the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination). If you secure a training contract during your undergraduate degree or during your conversion degree to law, typically the firm will cover your education expenses and sometimes even give you a grant on top of what they will pay you as a trainee solicitor. During your training contract, you'll have to go through four sixth month seats in various practice groups (different legal areas) and only once you have completed that and the SQE can you qualify as a solicitor through a training contract. While this is the most common route, because training contracts are becoming increasingly difficult to secure, the SQE allows you to self fund both stages and gain a lesser amount of paid legal work experience. This can be in a range of legal roles such as legal advising or paralegal work.
One important thing to note is that an LLB does not make you a solicitor. You will still have to complete further training to qualify as a solicitor, the only difference between an LLB and a non-law or non-qualifying law degree is that you don't need to do a conversion degree in law after your undergraduate degree and you can apply for an LLM immediately after university if you'd like. It's not always a requirement in legal working positions, but it is often an advantage, as you learn the theory behind the law over a lengthier time period. If I were you, I would study the subject I'm most interested in and figure out my career path from there. If it's psychology, then to become a solicitor you'll need to do a postgraduate conversion degree, complete the SQE1 and SQE2 (through a training contract or self funding) and gain paid legal work experience (if you did not opt for the training contract route). If it's a law LLB, you'll still need to do the SQE but it may make life easier, especially when considering networking with legal professionals who can help you with applications and even securing certain positions (this was the biggest thing that swayed me to picking law in the end).
I hope that addressed some of your concerns and let me know if you have anymore questions!
Hello! Firstly, thank you so much for the insight.

Really?? I think most of have English for entry requirements or at least an 8 in GCSE English? So for conversion I'd apply for psych then after year 1 I change to law? But I don't meet the subject requirement so how does that work? When can I take the SQE exam is that during uni? or is it like an entrance test like UCAT?

So Would this be like placement? and if they're satisfied with my work they'll keep me on? like an internship?

Yep, that makes sense. I'm really interested in being an immigration solicitor

Thank you once again, all the best for sixth form.
Reply 3
Original post by Peanut_Butter
Hello! Firstly, thank you so much for the insight.
Really?? I think most of have English for entry requirements or at least an 8 in GCSE English? So for conversion I'd apply for psych then after year 1 I change to law? But I don't meet the subject requirement so how does that work? When can I take the SQE exam is that during uni? or is it like an entrance test like UCAT?
So Would this be like placement? and if they're satisfied with my work they'll keep me on? like an internship?
Yep, that makes sense. I'm really interested in being an immigration solicitor
Thank you once again, all the best for sixth form.
Okay firstly for GCSE English, most Russell Groups require at least a 6 in language , with the exception of Edinburgh and they require you to have a 7 in both language and literature if you aren’t doing English A level.

I don’t think most universities would let you switch to a law degree after your first year of doing psychology. What you would have to do is complete the psychology degree and then apply to do a postgraduate conversion degree afterwards or apply for law as your undergraduate degree instead.

The SQE is taken after you have completed law school (whether it be through a conversion course or undergraduate degree) and is comprised of two stages. The first stage is an exam and there are plenty of preparation courses available if you are self funding, but if not, your employer will pay for it through your training contract. The SQE2 is comprised of several types of assessments and this is the one that people struggle with the most as it’s the last hurdle to becoming a solicitor. Training contracts aren’t the same as placements, because they are training you for a role. You are being paid a salary and will be paid throughout the two years of your contract since it is a job. You wouldn’t be dismissed from a training contract unless you did something that would get you dismissed from working there typically. They don’t measure your progress and only let the best stay on because once the deal is done it’s done.

If you’re interested in immigration law you should be aware that it is one of the lowest paid sectors of law and typically you’ll make around £45,000 a year once qualified. This is very different to commercial law where after qualifying, it is common to make upwards of £85,000. I would try and attend some lectures and listen to online talks to gain some more insight into different areas and from there gain work experience if you want to apply for a law degree. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in a legal setting, you could do work experience in social services, embassies, government departments, charities etc.
Original post by Peanut_Butter
Hi,
After A levels the plan was to take a gap year then do psychology at uni, but recently I've been really interested in law and was considering becoming a solicitor, but would I have to do an LLB for that? If so I haven't got the right subject requirements as I didn't take English so is there another way?
Cheers!
Hi there

It is great to hear that you are already starting to look at your career options. I am currently a final year law student, hopefully I can give you some insights into the law pathway. (I would also echo a lot of the advice given above) :smile:

To qualify as a solicitor you will have to go through the SQE route. This does not require a law degree, however a law degree may be considered more favourable/ popular for law firms when it comes to recruitment. I believe there is also the option to take a GDL conversion for law (after you finish your first degree, I am not too sure on this though). Perhaps this is also something you can look into.

To get into a law degree, you do not have to take any specific A levels. If you are uncertain, you could always double check the universities entry requirements. You probably do not need an 8 in GCSE English, perhaps a five or six will do?? (This would depend on where you are applying to, and you are most likely to find this information on their individual websites).

The SQE is normally taken after you finish your degree. It consists of SQE exams and two years of qualifying work experience. You can take the SQE exam anytime: before or after the two years work experience. You can probably find more guidance on the work experience on the SRA's website.:
SRA | Qualifying work experience for candidates | Solicitors Regulation Authority
SRA | Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) | Solicitors Regulation Authority

I hope this helps.
Chloe
University of Kent Student Rep
Original post by Peanut_Butter
Hi,
After A levels the plan was to take a gap year then do psychology at uni, but recently I've been really interested in law and was considering becoming a solicitor, but would I have to do an LLB for that? If so I haven't got the right subject requirements as I didn't take English so is there another way?
Cheers!

Hi @Peanut_Butter

You don't need to do a LLB at all! You will need a degree but it can be in any subject you want (getting a good grade is quite important for progressing so I would choose something you really want to study as it will help you remain motivated). Once you have your degree you can either choose to do a law conversion to develop a good foundation in the law or you can simply go straight onto the SQE which is solicitor training.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Sophie

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