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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 law news, careers advice and guides to firms, chambers and qualifications from Legal Cheek.
Many jobs in legal services involve long hours and heavy workloads. On top of this, you’ll be expected to have these skills:
Think about how you can demonstrate these skills, using examples from your own experience. If you feel you need to develop any of these skills, go the What can Ido at York? section on this page.
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.
LawCareers.Net produce a handy guide on the costs of law courses - Law course fees: a guide for students
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 gradually from 2022 or later. 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 resources and schemes in place to support students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sector.
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:
See the Apply for jobs pages for further information.
Pupillage recruitment is usually more traditional, with a single or multi-stage interview process and an assessed task on the day. Read TARGETjobs’ How to ace your pupillage interview.
Combining your love of Art and cultural history with an interest in Law or business could lead to a number of different careers within the legal field.
This is a niche area, so you can't train specifically as an "Art Lawyer" in the UK - it's likely you would specialise in property, intellectual property, copyright or tax law and then work in a law firm which has art-related clients (like museums/galleries/private investors). A starting point for this could be to look at law firms affiliated with the Institute of Art and Law
There are specialist companies who work specifically with private collectors, museums, galleries, local authorities or commercial companies. You could help ensure collectors, buyers and sellers work responsibly by working for them:
Organisations that implement (and potentially influence) government policy, make decisions on funding applications from museums, galleries and artists. Some examples:
Private companies, government bodies, local and national law enforcement organisations help advise on crime prevention and research restitution issues. Some examples:
Working at a local, national or international level:
There are many things you can do while studying at York to prepare for a career in legal services:
Find out more about the sector from theses multimedia resources.
supplied by Withers & Rogers LLP