How to Become a Lawyer
At the WMF, we have had a growing number of requests in regards to next steps for young people after school. This has led to our latest initiative - The WMF Futures Hub which will be launching soon! In the meantime, we thought we would explore how to enter some of the most popular professions...
How to become a Lawyer... There are several routes you can take to become a Lawyer, the trick is finding the one that works best for you. Whether you go down the University route, or opt to complete the solicitor apprenticeship.
To study Law at university, you’d be surprised to know there are very few requirements on which subjects you need to have studied. The key is to ensure that you must meet the A- Level grade requirements for your chosen University course. Entry grades usually are between ABB to A*A*A* depending on your university of choice.
However, to demonstrate you have the skills necessary to be a top barrister or solicitor; we would suggest you choose subjects that involve research, analysis and communication. This will stand you a much better chance at successful admission. Subjects include; history, geography, modern languages, the sciences or maths.
Studying Law at University
Make sure you are clear on what it is you will get from your course as they vary from university to university. Most students studying law at University complete the LLB which is a qualifying law course in England and Wales. Completing it allows you to immediately move onto the next step in your legal studies, the LPC for solicitors or BPTC for barristers – without having to do a Law Conversion Course. Others only offer the BA, which is a non-qualifying degree, following this to pursue a career in law you will need to complete a conversion course.
It’s extremely important to be aware of the difference between the LLB, and the Law BA, which is a non-qualifying law degree. The prominent difference is that the Law BA will not enable you to practice or qualify as a solicitor or barrister through the traditional route. If you want to practice as a solicitor or barrister after studying law this way, you’ll have to do the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), which is more commonly known as the law conversion course.
What if I didn’t study Law at university?
If you went to university, but didn’t study Law – worry not. You will need to complete the solicitors qualifying exam preparation course, followed by the examination. Following this you would need to complete two years of qualifying legal work, this can be in the form of a training contract, which leads to sitting and passing the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) character and suitability requirements.
If you didn’t go to university, it is also not a problem. There is an apprenticeship aimed at A- level students, paralegals and chartered legal executives. It is a six year, Level 7 programme that qualifies you as a solicitor. (If you hold other legal qualifications the programme can be shortened.)
What are the best universities for studying law?
According to the to the Times University Rankings, the following UK universities top the list for law:
– University of Cambridge – University of Oxford – University College London (UCL) – London School of Economics and Political Science – University of Edinburgh – King’s College London – Durham University – University of Warwick – University of Glasgow – University of Kent