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Law is a popular and competitive sector for graduates. As well as being a solicitor or barrister, there are other roles to consider, such as:
Research the sector and keep up with current issues by reading:
Many jobs in legal services involve long hours and heavy workloads. On top of this, you’ll be expected to have these skills:
You don’t need an undergraduate degree in law to become a solicitor or barrister, but you will need to complete a law conversion course after you graduate, known as a graduate diploma in law (GDL). This takes one year to complete. After this, you have the same level of law qualification as someone who studied an undergraduate degree in law.
To become a solicitor you will then have to:
From 2021, the way you become a qualified solicitor is changing. Read more about the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) from LawCareers.net. The change to the new route will be gradual, with more firms likely to adopt the new route in 2022. Research both the current route and the SQE to see which is better for you, and contact the firms you are most interested in to check their preference.
To become a barrister after your law degree or conversion course you have to:
It can cost a lot to become a qualified lawyer - read about ways to fund your studies. Some law firms will sponsor your training, and qualifying Masters courses may be eligible for the government's postgraduate student loan.
Routes into other legal careers are less structured and don’t normally require a law degree, but it is likely you’ll have to undertake further qualifications on the job:
If you’re interested in becoming a solicitor or barrister, gaining work experience through these routes will help you:
If you’re interested in another area of legal services, also consider:
There are a number of schemes in place to support students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sector. Aspiring Solicitors offers events, mentoring, competitions and job advice. The Law Society Diversity Access Scheme provides funding, mentoring and work experience opportunities.
Aspiring solicitors can find training contracts on:
Aspiring barristers can find pupillages on:
Students wanting to build up legal sector experience through paralegal work can find jobs and careers advice on:
Use specialist job websites to find vacancies in specific sectors:
Recruitment with a large legal firm may include any or all of the following:
Pupillage recruitment is usually more traditional, with a single or multi-stage interview process and an assessed task on the day. Read TargetJobs’ advice on preparing for your pupillage interview.
There are many things you can do while studying at York to prepare for a career in legal services:
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