Becoming a Solicitor / Lawyer
There are many different sectors to work and specialise, these include Conveyance, Re-mortgage, Wills, Probate, Criminal law, Family law, Banking and Corporate law, Duty solicitor, Employment law, Construction, Personal injury, Litigation/dispute, Intellectual property, Insolvency and restructuring, Private client and private equity.
In order to get your step on the ladder, you will need to secure a training contract with an approved firm of solicitors. Competition for training contracts is fierce. Recruiters will be looking for an excellent academic record (not necessarily a degree in law, a lot of trainees come from a non-law background), very strong inter personal and communication and written skills as well as a commercial awareness.
Another option to being a lawyer is to pursue the option of a Paralegal or Legal executive as a career in itself or as a route to becoming a lawyer.
Major law employers include:
Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Ashurst, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, Beachcroft, Berrymans Lace Mawer, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bird & Bird, Burges Salmon, Charles Russell, Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co, CMS Cameron McKenna, Denton Wilde Sapte, DLA Piper International, Dundas & Wilson, DWF, Eversheds, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Halliwells, Hammonds, Herbert Smith, Hill Dickinson,Holman Fenwick & Willan, Ince & Co, Irwin Mitchell, Kennedys,LG, Linklaters, Lovells, Macfarlanes, McGrigors, Mills & Reeve,Nabarro, Norton Rose, Olswang, Osborne Clarke, Pinsent Masons, Shoosmiths, Simmons & Simmons, SJ Berwin, Slaughter and May, Stephenson Harwood,Taylor Wessing, Travers Smith, Trowers & Hamlins, Watson, Farley & Williams, Withers, Wragge & Co.
In addition there are literally thousands of smaller solicitor practices around in every city and town.
Becoming a Barrister
The financial rewards and earning power of barristers is immense, for this reason, the professional is one of the most competitive ones that exist and attracts the most intelligent and focused individuals. The route that a budding barrister must take is to take a 1 year Bar professional training course. The cost of this course is in the region of £10k – £17k dependent upon the provider and location. Upon successfully passing this course, the next stage is the difficult one as you will need to try and secure a pupillage within a chambers of barristers. Unfortunately given that there are only approximately 400 – 600 pupillages available each year therefore the barriers to entry in this elite profession are very high.
The main characteristics and attributes that a barrister must possess include:
Impeccable communication, interpersonal skills and ability to debate and challenge while thinking on your feet.
Excellent organisational skills and the ability to work efficiently under pressure.
Must be able to absorb and understand large amounts of information and form a logical and clear argument and conclusion.
Outstanding academic achievements.