Are you looking for a career in law? There are a number of routes you can go down when it comes to getting qualifications as a lawyer.
Like so many of the best jobs, becoming a lawyer is rarely completely straightforward. With the right training and qualifications, though (and providing you enjoy research and have a logical mind), law could be the perfect career for you.
Here are some tips on how to become a lawyer in the UK – from how long it takes to what you need in terms of qualifications – to get you started.
It almost goes without saying that the first bridge to cross will be getting the right qualifications to become a lawyer in the UK. As with anything these days, there are plenty of different ways to come at it, though.
Diploma courses are generally a one-year course and can be done alongside other qualifications. They give you a taste of the subject of Law and make for a great starting point for further study in the subject. If you’re not quite sure if Law is for you then a diploma course could be the perfect starting point.
A-Levels & BTECs
The next logical step after (or alongside) a diploma is an A-Level or BTEC course; these are the qualifications you will need to progress to the next step of degree level. An A-Level in Law can be taken alongside other A-Levels to give you the entry qualifications to get into university or can be taken as a stand-alone qualification if you already have A-Levels.
BTEC courses give you a complete entry qualification into university and some universities will give you a year or more exemption from their course when you have this qualification.
What A-Levels Do You Need to Become a Lawyer?
There are no specific A-Levels that you are required to take in order to be a lawyer. However, there are some which might be more advantageous if you want to go into a career in law. We offer a specific A-Level Law course if you’d like to dive straight into the subject.
Some of the other A-Level courses that relate to law include:
- English A-Level – Studying English helps develop your communication and essay writing skills, which are important if you want to become a lawyer.
- Politics A-Level – Politics is another essay-based subject, it will also help you understand the political context of the law.
- History A-Level – History is a subject that teaches you to critical thinking and how to develop logical arguments, all necessary skills in a law career.
- Science A-Levels – Completing science courses like A-Level biology or A-Level Chemistry will help develop your logic and problem-solving skills which are necessary for law students.
Getting a Law Degree
Obviously, a Law degree is the next step for you to become a lawyer. Law degree courses can be very competitive so the more training, qualifications and experience you have under your belt beforehand, the better your chances of gaining a place; a strong academic record with good qualifications will put you ahead of the crowd.
Post-graduate Law Courses
There are several post-grad courses you will need to take to complete your qualifications in becoming a lawyer. CPE/GDL courses cover the foundations of legal knowledge to complete your academic training.
If you are a mature student or have other academic or vocational qualifications you could qualify to become a lawyer with this course, without having taken a degree first. To become a solicitor you will need to complete the Legal Practice Course. You can find more information on those subjects on the Law Society website: Lawsociety.org.uk.
Work Experience in Law
Once you’ve achieved the relevant qualifications to become a lawyer, you come to the next step: work experience. Given that this is very much a requirement, you should be looking into work experience and work placements while you’re studying.
You can gain experience in your free time by working for a lawyer’s office or you can arrange placements during your university course to work at a local firm. In doing this you are much more likely to be offered a training contract and then a job with them when you are fully qualified, too. Take a look at these tips on Law Britannia: Lawbritannia.co.uk.
Criminal and Corporate Law
There are other options to take along the way once you have decided which route you would like to take. From criminal barristers to corporate lawyers via local solicitors, Law is a wide subject and you may find that further down the line you’d like to specialise in one particular area.
Do your research and take a wide range of qualifications to give you the best options for your future. Whichever way you come at it, it’ll take several years of study and hard work. Ultimately though, it’ll be worth it.