Becoming a Lawyer

What to study

In the United Kingdom, prospective lawyers have to study Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Science (Law), or Bachelor of Arts (Law). LLB students spend their entire time in school studying law, while BA and BSc Law programmes include modules outside of law. Students who study other subjects in the undergraduate level may also take a one-year graduate law diploma conversion course to become lawyers. On the other hand, individuals aspiring to become solicitors must undertake a Legal Practice Course before joining a law firm for a training contract. Paralegals, post A-level students, and chartered legal executives can improve their prospects by undertaking Solicitor Apprenticeship.

Roles of Solicitors

While barristers mainly represent clients in court, solicitors offer clients advice and legal support among other services. For instance, employment solicitors birmingham may assist employees and employers on contract breaches, unfair dismissals, settlement agreements, or whistle blowing claims. The best practice requires providing advice to stop disputes from arising. However, if matters go to court in the best interest of a client, solicitors extend support to the ongoing court cases. Employment solicitors would ensure they advice their clients in a clear language to enable them make informed decisions.

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Duration of Study

It takes six years for one to qualify as a solicitor. Trainees study the law degree during the first three years of study before heading for a one-year law practice course. The final two years are spent at a law firm training under a contract. Students who had trained under a non-law program have to spend one more year undertaking a GDL course. Similarly, barristers spend three years taking the law degree and one year taking a Bar Professional Training Course. Unlike solicitors, barristers only spend one year pupillage in the chambers before they are fully fledged for independent practice. The route for Chartered Legal executives is quite different, taking only four years of part time study to complete levels 3 and 6. CILEx students must also complete three years in an environment where law is practised.

Proposed Changes in the Study of Law

A qualifying law degree is the prerequisite to a career in law at the moment with the exemption of people working in legal roles. However, the Solicitors Regulation Authority is proposing the introduction of a Solicitors Qualifying Examination with effect from September 2020. The SQE will be a common entrance exam that will test applicants in two stages. In the first stage, students will showcase their functioning legal knowledge while in the second they will be tested on practical legal skills. Under individuals the new curriculum, individuals should have at least a degree in any subject two years experience, and pass part 1 and 2 of the SQE exam. Applicants will also have to pass a character and suitability test just as it is at the moment.

Character Traits for Lawyers

Individuals should demonstrate good communication skills for them to excel as lawyers. They should be able to write clearly, concisely, and persuasively. Potential solicitors and barristers should possess critical judgement skills required to pass fair judgments. Strong analytic skills are also required to reach convincing conclusions, as well as strong research skills to deeply understand situations at hand. In addition to academic excellence, lawyers must have good personal skills to relate well with clients.