A law career gives a real sense of achievement every day and contributes value to the world around you. Whether you’re looking to become a courtroom judge or want to help injured people succeed in their accident at work claims, read on to find out how to build the best foundation.
GCSEs are the foundation to allow you to progress towards a law career. Achieving good grades at GCSE level shows your determination and work ethic. They help when deciding the next path to go down. After your GCSEs, you can choose either to take A-Levels or to head down the apprenticeship route. Here are some of the implications for each choice to help you with this tough decision.
Going for A-Levels
Usually, those who study A-Levels progress onto university to advance themselves for their law career. Some universities prefer that you study traditional subjects at A-Level such as history, languages or literature. Studying law at this level is not always a requirement, but it might put you in a better position than other applicants as you’re already familiar with the subject. So, check out each university’s requirements.
Taking the apprenticeship route
This route to a career in law is becoming more popular among young people. Anyone looking to do an intermediate apprenticeship must have a minimum of five GCSEs (although more may be necessary depending on the firm) graded from A*-C (or equivalent). The benefit of apprenticeships in the legal field is that students are able to work in a real environment with qualified professionals. This could be assisting in cases in administration or meeting with different clients. Usually, Intermediate apprenticeships run for two years and help develop work-based skills.
The routes available after you finish your A-Levels include university, a paralegal apprenticeship or a solicitor apprenticeship. Which one you pick is down to your preferences, ambitions, and situation.
Heading to University
At university, you can start to narrow down your career path. You can either study a law degree or a non-law degree. If the latter, you must also study a one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), so it’s equivalent to a law degree.
If you know you want to become a paralegal, take a look at apprenticeships too. After completing your A-levels, this 23-30-month course could be the perfect route for you. It can also lead you onto training to become a Chartered Legal Executive. To participate in this type of scheme, usually, you are required to have the minimum of five GCSEs grading A*-C and three A-Levels that are graded C or above (or equivalent). You can learn law, legal practice, legal skills, commercial skills, and professional conduct.
It is also worth knowing that you can do a paralegal apprenticeship after your intermediate apprenticeship if you decide not to go down the A-Level route after completing your GCSE studies.
If you want to jump right into the world of work, there are a number of apprenticeship paths you can take. A solicitor apprenticeship is a paid six-year course enabling you to gain on-the-job training and receive a qualification to become a solicitor. At the end of the fourth year, you will receive a law degree. To be in a chance of winning a place on this sort of scheme, you usually need the minimum of five GCSEs graded A*-C and three A-Levels (graded C or above). Work experience always plays in favour of candidates that apply for this type of apprenticeship. Once this apprenticeship has ended, you are a qualified solicitor, legal executive, and paralegal.
The end is in sight! When you’ve completed your law degree (or equivalent with GDL), there are three different routes that you can go down depending on what position you want: Barrister, Solicitor or Legal Executive.
Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)
This is one way to becoming a barrister. You can also proceed to become either a solicitor or a legal executive. For barrister, you then need to complete a ‘pupillage’ which is a one-year apprenticeship before you qualify as a barrister. You will be working with a pupil supervisor. To become a solicitor, after completing your BPTC you will need a training contract. This is a two-year paid employment contract with a law firm before gaining your qualification as a solicitor.
Legal Practice Course (LPC)
Another option after completing university is a Legal Practice Course – a vocational stage of becoming a solicitor. This allows you to become a legal executive, although you will also need three years of qualifying employment.
Gradual diploma: CILEx Fast Track
Did you complete your law degree some time ago? If it was in the last seven years, the CILEx Fast Track offers a graduate diploma as opposed to a Level 3 or 6. This takes around nine months to do part-time. Then you need to complete three years of qualifying employment to become a chartered legal executive.
Remember, that all of your grades count, so make the most of your education. Which path will you choose to achieve your ambition of a law career?
Our thanks for this post go to Alice Turnbull of mediaworks.