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A Guide to Law Careers

by
Mizio de Sousa

Law is an exciting and lucrative career with various roles that require different sets of skills and qualifications. It’s a versatile industry with positions across multiple sectors and plenty of opportunities for development. Here’s a breakdown of the most common roles.

Solicitor

A solicitor is a legal professional that’s responsible for representing and defending a client’s interests. Your role will involve researching, providing legal advice to clients, and handling legal documentation. You will find solicitors in various industries, as they can represent individuals, small businesses, and large companies.

Typically, you’ll need a three-year law degree followed by the Legal Practice Course (LPC), where you’ll take what you learned at University and apply it to real scenarios. If you don’t have a law undergraduate degree, you can opt to do a Graduate Law Diploma (GLD). It’s a one year course that enables you to ‘convert’ into a law career. Once you’re done, you can take the LPC as normal.

Finally, you can also become a solicitor without going to University. Instead, you can opt to do an apprenticeship where you’ll gain the required experience and qualifications to take the LPC.

Barrister

If you think of a lawyer, you’ll probably think of a barrister in a courtroom. Unlike solicitors, who primarily work in companies, barristers operate as advocates defending clients at court. You’ll need to have a law undergraduate degree or a GDL course to convert from a non-law degree like the solicitor pathway. However, instead of doing the LPC, you’ll do the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT).

If successful, you’ll join one of the four Inns of Court and start preparing for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). It’s a long and competitive process but extremely rewarding when you get there.

Paralegal

The primary role of a paralegal is to support other legal professionals through preparing legal documents, communicating with clients, researching, and providing legal information. You could work in a variety of settings, as paralegals are found in all law practice areas.

There are various ways to become a paralegal. Many have a law degree or the GDL conversion course. However, you could also find a position with a qualification from the National Association of Licensed Paralegals or another official legal diploma. Many professionals also work as paralegals whilst preparing to become solicitors or barristers.

Legal Secretary

As a legal secretary, you’ll provide administrative support to legal professionals across a variety of industries. Your tasks will involve typing legal documents, corresponding with clients, keeping records, organising diaries, and preparing paperwork. It’s a fantastic career to follow or a way to experience the law industry and find out if it’s right for you.

Although there are no qualification requirements to becoming a legal secretary, most companies will look for applicants with a legal secretary diploma. It will help you with law jargon and how specific procedures are conducted, in addition to providing organisational, administrative, and IT training.

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