October 31, 2012, by Anne S
A career in Law
Does a career in Law mean a degree in Law? Not necessarily, according to Tim Smith (pictured) from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.
The subject a graduate has studied isn’t important at all, we are much more interested in the skills that a candidate can display and the application of those skills to a legal career. We do not stipulate what subject a candidate should have studied and (unlike some firms) we do not have a fixed quota of non-Law graduates for our trainees. One of the more unusual degree courses studied by a candidate I offered a training contract to was Oceanography! Was that an obvious route into a legal career? No. Was she nevertheless a good trainee (and upon qualification with us a good associate)? Definitely.
Non-Law graduates are required to study the Graduate Diploma in Law, which is a one-year conversion course, in addition to the Legal Practice Course that all future trainee solicitors have to study. This basically means an extra year’s study, but if that means you can study the subject you love at university rather than feeling grudgingly obliged to study Law then that may be a small price to pay.
- Be well informed about what a legal career will entail and whether you are suited to it – there are many different ways in which law can be practised, from the Bar to City law firms to regional firms to high street firms.
- Get some experience – make sure you are best placed to win a place on a vacation scheme or open day at the firms you might be interested in.
- Take full advantage of your university Careers Service – get advice from the careers officers and use the many resources that are available to help you make an informed decision.