It can be difficult to know how to start when pursuing a law career. There are different routes you can take that can start your journey and the majority of the time, it’s through higher learning. There are also different sectors that you can work in that may be of interest to you too. To give you an idea of how to begin your path in the legal sector, here are a few tips on how to start a career in law.
What Skills Are Required?
Not only is becoming a lawyer about being academically successful, but it does also require some skills within your character too. An indication of these skills can be judged by a test called an LNAT (The Law National Aptitude Test). This is a common test used by Universities and helps to judge your ability when entering a law degree. It assesses the following:
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Analysing information
- Your ability to interpret information
What A-Levels Should Be Studied?
Your abilities as a lawyer won’t necessarily be judged by the A-level subjects that you take in college. However, it’s a good place to test your abilities when it comes to the skills required. Ideally, you’d want to choose subjects that involves research, analysis and communication. These can be subjects such as science, maths and history.
Studying law is an extremely challenging subject, so Universities will look to judge your ability to cope with the challenges through excellent A-level grades. It’s also an extremely competitive subject, so producing excellent results in your A-levels can help you stand out from others applying for the course. Entry requirements normally range from A*AA to AAB as a minimum but you can always check when searching for University courses what the requirements are. There’s also a possibility that GCSE grades will be considered depending on the University you’re looking to attend.
As well as this, it’s also compulsory for students looking to uptake a law degree required to take LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law).
Is a Law Degree Required?
There is the option to pursue a law career without a law degree. There can be some individuals who feel as though University isn’t right for them and prefer to take a different path. After your undergraduate course, you can take something called a Graduate Diploma for Law (GDL). This will gain you the required knowledge as those who would have taken a law degree but without the added environment of the University surroundings.
Just ensure that the course you choose to take at an undergraduate level is still a qualifying degree. This means that you need to make sure that it’s approved by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) and Bar Standards Board.
For those who prefer to leave out University altogether, there’s the option to take CILEx qualifications (Chartered Legal Executive Lawyer qualifications) which help you to become a chartered legal executive.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Lawyer?
How long it takes you to become a lawyer will be totally dependent on the path you choose to take. For those choosing to go into full-time education, it will be around 6 years. This entails studying a 3-year law degree, a one-year LPC (Legal Practice Course) and then finally a two-training contract with a law firm. An extra year will be needed to take a GDL if the degree you chose to take wasn’t in law.
A barrister requires 5 years, which again includes a 3-year law degree, one year for a BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course) and a year-year pupillage in chambers. Again, an added year would be required if the degree you chose wasn’t in law.
Taking the CILEx qualification route would only take 4 years of part-time study to earn level 3 and 6 qualifications. Then 3 years would be required in qualifying employment.
Whether it’s wanting to be a contentious probate solicitor, a personal injury lawyer or a fully fledged barrister, the steps are highlighted above would be required in order to start your path. Once you have the basic foundations of knowledge for becoming a solicitor, the type of lawyer you become and the interest in the legal sector you have is completely up to you.