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Realising Opportunities National Student Conference 2015 – Aspiring to Law.

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1 Realising Opportunities National Student Conference 2015 – Aspiring to Law

2 Is it better to do a Law degree? Not necessarily! It does matter what you study and where you study. You should do an “academic” degree at the best University you can get into. Remember it will take you one more year to qualify if you do not have a law degree. So what about A Levels? There is no advantage in having Law A Level. Aim to try to have 2 “facilitating subjects”. Drama has been shown to be a good predictor of acceptance onto a Law course!

3 Solicitor or Barrister? The good news is that you don’t have to decide yet! What is the difference? Some common myths: Barristers are more senior Barristers are the experts Barristers earn more And the truth? Barristers are normally self employed Barristers often work alone, solicitors typically in teams Many barristers are struggling financially!

4 So how do you get to be a solicitor? Do a qualifying Law Degree Do a non qualifying degree and then the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) Do the Legal Practice Course (LPC) Get and undertake a 2 year training contract Become qualified

5 How do you get to be a barrister? Do a qualifying Law Degree Do a non qualifying Degree and then the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) Do the Bar Professional Training Course BPTC (you have to pass the aptitude test first!) Do a minimum of 12 months pupillage Find a tenancy!

6 No problems with any of that then? This is a highly competitive field. The earlier you start planning and thinking about your future the better. That means from now!! Most law firms are looking for a minimum of a 2.1 degree and may also be checking your UCAS point count and module marks. You need to do as well as you possibly can in your A levels ! BarristersSolicitors 3100 applied and 1682 enrolled on the BPTC; with 1113 passing the course ( ) were enrolled on the LPC in commenced 1st Six pupillage , 441new traineeships registered in barristers secured tenancy

7 What help is out there for me? Lots!! Law firms want to help students from non-traditional backgrounds. There are organisations to help: Rare Recruitment SEO Aspiring Solicitors. BEWARE Use them for what they can help you with – do not let them use you!!!

8 Are there regional variations in job availability? Yes! For solicitors, just over 50% of all training contracts are in London, with the City accounting for nearly 36%. Only 8% of contracts are available in the West Midlands. For the Bar just over 300 pupillages were awarded in London last year, only 10 pupillages were awarded in the West Midlands last year. Post qualification there are significant opportunities for both barristers and solicitors outside London but you have to get qualified!

9 What could you be doing NOW to make the dream come true? See if you can get any work experience with solicitors. Consider taking paid work in any customer facing capacity or do something entrepreneurial Get the best A Levels you can. Your grades matter beyond University! Follow big “legal stories” in the news. Be a “mover and shaker” get involved in things at school and in your local community. Create the dream package!

10 What about when you get to University? More of the same! Jobs go to people who get engaged with University life, who have some work experience (of any kind), who can demonstrate passion for the law, who do things which are different and interesting. – not a lot to ask is it!!! One medium sized firm told me that they have over 1,000 applications annually for 10 training places!

11 What kinds of Solicitor’s training contracts are out there? Magic Circle Firms Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Slaughter & May Silver Circle Firms Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Herbert Smith Freehills, Macfarlanes, S J Berwin and Travers Smith Major City Firms Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, American Firms Jones Day, Latham & Watkins, Cleary Gottlieb, Davis Polk, Covington & Burling, Sullivan & Cromwell, White & Case Large Regional Firms DLA Piper, Wragge & Co, Eversheds, Burges Salmon, Mills & Reeve,Shoosmiths The High Street

12 What will you do during training The bigger the firm, the more you will earn and the less responsibility you will be able to have as a trainee. Expect to sit in meetings with clients and take notes. Expect to draft documents and letters (which may then be redrafted by lawyers – you need to stay cheerful). Expect sometimes to be asked to do menial work, photocopying etc. You will probably carry out some legal research. You are likely to move around the firms experiencing different areas – you may or may not be able to choose where you go.

13 You will need to worry about deadlines if you want to be a solicitor. Have these in your mind. This is really complicated!! For First Years: Vacation Schemes? Very hard to find! Open Days – Explorer Days – Pathfinder days…… Typically applications close at the end of February. There is no point in applying for vacation schemes for which you do not meet the criteria. Your application will go straight into the bin!! DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME!

14 Most training contracts are awarded to students who do vacation schemes. These matter! Winter schemes closing datesLate October Usually for finalists and often only NON LAW finalists Summer schemes closing datesEnd January Usually penultimate year undergraduates Training contract deadlines. All large, medium and many small firms recruit TWO years in advance. The window for applying for 2016 training contracts closed on 31 st July 2014 for Law graduates and at the end of February 2014 for non Law graduates. Late applications can be made for the LPC but you must register with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) one month before you start the course. Second Years and Finalists

15 The Bar A difficult route to an uncertain future? A prestigious and exciting career? An archaic institution? At the forefront of a changing profession?

16 How do you get that pupillage? You will need to collect mini pupillages. You have to be prepared to keep trying. Some law firms now offer pupillage, it would be a different life but might be worth considering? There are scholarship schemes offered by the Inns of Court, keep your eyes out for them. You will need to network. At university get involved in mooting (mock trials).

17 What about the Bar? You need to sit the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) between the beginning of April and end of July in the year in which you want to start the course. You must have joined one of the four Inns of Court before the BPTC course starts. Your application must be received by 31 st May in the year in which you wish to start the BPTC. If you are not a native English speaker you must have achieved an IELTS score of 7.5 or above in all subjects before the BPTC starts. There are no overarching deadlines for pupillage and tenancy applications.

18 What will you do as a pupil First Six Months Legal research, drafting, sitting in meetings with solicitors (called Conferences). Second Six Months You can work and earn money! You will be making applications in court, dealing with minor prosecutions or tribunal actions, holding your own conferences. You may be asked to act as a junior to a more experienced barrister.

19 What is good about a career as a Legal professional? Academic challenge. Every day is different – you are not stuck in the same office every day. Time goes quickly while you are working – expect to be busy. It is a people job, you meet all sorts of different people all the time. Some lawyers earn a lot of money, others know that they help people.

20 So what’s not to like? Difficult to get into the profession. Long hours / late nights. Pay sometimes very poor. Stressful. Limited flexibility. Lots of routine work too.

21 My advice?


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