Lawyer – Career Advice
Lawyers represent clients whether they’re accused of a criminal act or in need of advice in business, property or family matters – the job is certainly not just the stuff of TV drama.
Criminal lawyers might spend much of their time in a courtroom, but specialists are more likely to be in the boardroom sorting out contracts, advising on tax issues or working on a matter of employment law.
Whatever the speciality, lawyers need to be excellent negotiators who have a thorough understanding of their area of the law. Analytical skills and great attention to detail are major attributes to have, as are people skills and an ability to remain calm under pressure.
A typical day in criminal law might involve researching, preparing for, and then attending, a court case. In other areas, it will revolve around drawing up contracts or agreements, negotiating settlements, advising clients on particular aspects of the law and overseeing the work of legal assistants.
Study is an inevitable part of both getting and keeping the job. The obvious way in is via a law degree, for which at least five GCSEs and two A levels are required. But graduates in other subjects can always take a conversion course – the Graduate Diploma in Law or the Common Profession Examination – if they wish to change career tack. A 2:1 degree is usually the minimum grade employers will accept.
And then it’s time for more work…
If you’re looking to specialise in major (and often high-profile) criminal or civil proceedings, then you’ll have to go on the Bar Professional Training course to become a barrister. To become a solicitor, dealing in the more day-to-day crimes and civil proceedings, you’ll need to take the Legal Practice Course. This takes a year to study for.
Browse our current vacancies in:
Other recommended resources:
The Law Society
Representing solicitors in the UK, the Law Society provides a wealth of information for both professionals and the public about the world of law as well a number of opportunities for networking and career development.
The Bar Council
Representing barristers, the Bar Council supplies a wide range of information for those interested in getting into the profession as well as support and guidance.
The University of Law
Currently the world’s leading professional law school – if you’re not studying law at a general university you can find a wide range of courses which can fit around times, budgets and levels to suit you.
UK Law Students’ Association
Bringing together law students across the UK as a central portal of career guidance and support and knowledge exchange. If you are studying law, this a good resource to get involved in to help you get further.
Skills for Justice
A skills council for the law industry providing training opportunities across the spectrum of legal services. They also offer links to research and information to keep yourself updated.
You be the Judge
Get involved with law and legalities with the Department of Justice’s interactive service to help you understand sentencing and how courts operate. Great for those weighing up their options and considering a legal profession.