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Thursday, February 2, 2012
Why is it a good profession to get into?
The first step to become a solicitor is meeting the necessary academic standards which are then followed by vocational training. In England you can meet the academic standards by gaining a qualifying law degree, gaining a degree in another subject followed by a postgraduate law conversion course, or through the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) routes.
This first step is followed by completing the Legal Practical Course (LPC).
Once you have achieved all of these, you complete your vocational training by 2 years practiced-based training firm of solicitors incorporating the Professional Skills Course (PSC).
And then, once you have completed your degree, Legal Practice Course, Professional Skills Course and practice based training, you can apply to the roll of solicitors which entitles you to practice as a solicitor.
Training demands a considerable commitment. If you are law graduate it will take at least 3 years; if you are not a graduate it will take at least 6 years. The ILEX route will take longer as it is designed to enable you to study while working
• UEA School of Law www.uea.ac.uk/law
Offer undergraduate, postgraduate and law conversion programmes
• Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) www.ilex.org.uk
Offering a full range of qualifications in law, from basic to honours degree level equivalent on a distance learning basis or elsewhere in the country
For further information check:
• Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk
• The Law Society www.lawsociety.org.uk
Starting salaries for your practice-based training can be around £16 -18,000 per year. Once qualified salaries can rise to between £25,000 - £70,000.
Whilst the law is a very challenging field to become involved in the work is really very interesting. The best thing about our work is that we are able to help the people in the community in which we work so it is a very rewarding role.
What does the work involve?
This depends on what sort of work you are doing. I have specialised in family law and employment law so this means that a lot of my work is based around trying to help people resolve disputes which arise in the family and employment context. No matter what area of law you become involved in, it usually involves lots of people interaction so having good communication skills is essential whether in person, through letters or electronic communication. Again depending upon your particular specialism there may be lots of document drafting, letter writing and communication skills involved. There are various ways in which to get into the profession. I entered through the more traditional route of undertaking a Law degree before completing my Diploma in Legal Practice. It was during my undergraduate studies that I first had exposure to the work involved in being a Solicitor and at this time I realised that it was the profession for me. Prior to being able to qualify as a Solicitor you need to complete a training contract with a solicitor’s practice or alternatively working in house for another legal service provider.
What are the positives/negatives of this profession?
No two days will be the same, there are always new and interesting problems thrown up which need a solution. The legal landscape is constantly changing so it can be a real challenge to make sure that you acquire the skills and training to stay ahead in what is a very demanding profession.
Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?
Firms are always on the lookout for new people wanting to enter the profession. Unfortunately at the present time there are too many applicants for the positions available but those that are able to demonstrate a real passion and commitment to succeed will find that there are opportunities out there.
What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?
Employers want to see what you have done which shows them that you really have the passion and drive to succeed. They will no doubt be looking at what you have done outside of your studies, such as obtaining work experience or getting involved in your local community and showing a strong commitment to wanting to help members of your community. Of course it will help greatly if you have a strong academic background but that is only part of what employers are looking out for. It is a great profession as you will see for yourselves if you are prepared to take the plunge!