Law Career Path
Want to become a lawyer? Fancy yourself as a solicitor, barrister or legal executive? Awesome. Not sure how to get there? Not to worry, we’ll outline the different career paths you can take on your way to becoming a lawyer (you’re welcome).
After you’ve picked up your GCSEs, applied for the LLB through UCAS, and celebrated your A-level results, it’s time to pack up your bags and stroll off to university.
Tuition fees will set you back £9,000 a year, but don’t worry, you don’t have to pay anything up front as most students are eligible for a student loan.
When you’re in your second year of your law degree, you’ll need to apply for vacation schemes and training contracts. Training contracts are the final step to becoming a solicitor and firms usually recruit two years in advance. Applying in your second year will give you time to complete your final year of university and also the Legal Practice Course (LPC). If you secure a training contract with a firm, it could be the case that they will pay for your LPC, saving you a hefty £10,000 to £15,000.
If you want to become a barrister, then you need to apply for a pupillage in the final year of your law degree, as chambers recruit a year to 18-months in advance. If you land a pupillage, you will have a year to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). This will cost anywhere in the region of £8,000 to £18,000.
You were jubilant at your GCSE results and overjoyed at your A-level results. You rushed off to university, barely taking the time to kiss your parents goodbye. A couple of months and a few careers advice talks later and you decided you wanted to pursue a career in law. “Why on earth did I not study law?” you cry, as multiple strands of hair are forcibly removed from your hair by your very own hands.
Calm down! You can still become a lawyer even if you aren’t studying law at university. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) allows you to ‘convert’ to law. You should also be applying for vacation schemes and training contracts in your second and final year respectively. Firms recruit two years in advance, so applying in your final year will allow give you two years to breeze through the GDL and LPC. Firms may cover the cost of the GDL (from £3,000 to £10,000) and the LPC (£10,000 to £15,000) if you secure a training contract with them.
Fancy becoming a barrister instead? You still need to convert to law and when you’re doing the GDL you’ll need to apply to Chambers for a pupillage. Chambers hire a year to 18-months in advances, so you’ll have time to get the BPTC under your belt before you start your pupillage.
Legal Apprentice Route
Want to be a lawyer but don’t fancy going to university. Good news! You can undertake an apprenticeship after your GCSEs or A-levels which can then lead to you completing the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice or Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law.
You may work as a paralegal whilst studying for these qualifications but after you gain them you will be a fully chartered legal executive! Legal executives often perform the same role as a solicitor and specialise in one area of law.