The legal profession is a very attractive proposition to both students looking to enter the workplace as well as those who may wish to re-train and change career. Not only is it a well thought of profession by society in general but being engrossed in the legal system that keeps the country running will give you pride in your work. Before even attempting to look at a career path it is important to understand what kind of legal professional you would like to be – there are many options from paralegal to solicitor and barrister. Within these there are also sub-categories, so for example if you wish to be a solicitor you may want to be a Corporate solicitor in Manchester or you may want to be a mediation solicitor in London. Different specialities will have a different career path, as will the area of the country which you want to work in.
Within the UK, your career path start at GCSE level, you will need to achieve good grades and select A-Levels that are looked for in the legal profession, normally these are along the lines of History, English Literature, English Language and obviously Law (although they will often prefer ‘core subjects’ to what are seen as easier A-Levels). You will need to get grades of at least ABB (or probably better) to be able to attend a university that is used by some of the bigger and more renowned legal firms. Perhaps the most important thing alongside grades though is experience. What legal firms want to see more than anything is somebody who has a passion for the field and has gone out of their way to demonstrate it by volunteering at law firms over your summer holidays. You may not learn a great deal and will generally be handing mail out, making drinks and doing the jobs nobody else wants to do but it proves you are really serious about a career in law.
At the point in which you head to university there are generally two career paths ahead of you within law. If you ace your exams, you have experience and you get accepted in to a ‘red brick’ university i.e. the universities that have the best reputation and require higher grades to get in to, you will in all likelihood be destined to work at a top legal firm providing you obtain a good degree (at least a 2:1 but ideally a first class honours). If you don’t get the grades you were after you will go down a slightly different route and end up at more of a smaller, suburban practice which does suit some people.