With more than 306,000 people employed within the legal sector contributing around £24.4bn to the UK economy, if you’re considering a career in law, it’s an exciting time to enter the profession. At Acorn we match law graduates and trainee solicitors with local, national and international opportunities to help you take your first steps into a legal career.
With a variety of possible routes into the vocation, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are 5 steps you should consider to build a successful career in law.
No A-level subject is compulsory to pursue a career in law. However subjects including geography, history, maths and modern languages will set you up for success. These disciplines place a heavy emphasis on research, analysis and communication – the critical skills of any law professional.
Studying law is mentally demanding. Top universities extend offers to candidates with impressive A-level grades that typically range from A*AA to AAB. An applicant’s aptitude for a degree in law may also be assessed in a National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT).
The LNAT is a good indication of the skills needed in a lawyer. The test evaluates an applicant’s verbal and written reasoning skills, analysis of information to draw conclusions and ability to interpret complex material. Competition is fierce. In addition to academic ability, prospect lawyers will need to have sharp commercial awareness, savvy communication skills, effective time management and a keen attention to detail.
You can improve on these skills in a number of ways. Commit to reading business publications such as the Financial Times, The Economist, and the business pages of a daily newspaper such as The Times, become a committee member of a university society to better your public speaking, take on a part-time job to prove your schedule managing skills and always going through your own work with a fine-tooth comb.
Getting work experience under your belt at any stage will pay dividends. Our clients favour candidates who have honed their skills within a working environment and appreciate the reality of working in law. Arrange casual experience shadowing a solicitor or carrying out administrative tasks within a private legal firm ahead of university or during your studies. This experience will stand out on both law degree applications and GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) conversion courses.
Traditionally, potential lawyers either complete a law degree or commit to another undergraduate degree that is followed by a one-year GDL conversion course. At this stage the route to becoming a solicitor or barrister begins to diverge. A budding solicitor must complete the vocational Legal Practice Course (LPC) before undertaking a training contract with a law firm and applying for admission to the roll of solicitors.
It is also possible to do the Solicitor Apprenticeship. A six-year, Level 7 programme aimed at post A-level students, paralegals and chartered legal executives. The period of study is reduced for those who join the programme from other legal apprenticeships.
Budding barristers should take the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) followed by a pupillage to become eligible to apply for tenancy as a self-employed barrister in chambers or go into practice as an employed barrister.
More information on the qualifications needed to become a law professional can be found on the Prospects website here.
The legal system is diverse. Practice areas go beyond the criminal, contract and constitutional, with many law professionals choosing to specialise in environmental law, employment law, family law or Intellectual Property law, among many others.
With a range of clients and expansive knowledge of the legal sector, we’ll use our connections to get you the result you’re looking for. If you are looking to join a law graduate training programme or ready to take on a trainee solicitor role, as your personal recruitment partner, our job is to make sure your next move is right for you.
Firstly, we’ll sit down for a coffee and talk aspirations, future plans and previous experience. From there we’ll create an ideal list of firms to approach securely on your behalf.