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Any Lawyers on here?


[Modified by: Mrs Paddington Bear on 24 November 2009 14:08:06 ]


  • Pippa155Pippa155 Posts: 1,144
    Removed, as seem to have a stalker :\(

    [Modified by: SnowQueen100 on September 01, 2009 08:00 PM]

  • krustenkrusten Posts: 40
    The term Lawyer is a loose one - depends whether you want to be a Legal Executive, Solicitor, or Barrister.

    Legal Exec is easiest to do - get a job in a law firm and study part time to join Institute Legal Execs. No need for a degree at all this way. Downer is they're often snubbed at by sols and barristers, and often get paid less.

    Solicitor - you will need a degree, if you have one already then (assuming non law) you need a GDL and LPC, then a training contract. GDL and LPC can be done part time and run alongside training contract so if you get it right you can study and train at same time so earn as you learn if you will.

    Barrister - if you have a non law degree then do a GDL and BVC (again can do both part time) then a pupilage.

    hardest part is getting your foot in the door of a firm and getting the ellusive training contract/pupillage. If you're serious about it then get some experience first as this will be vital in making you stand out against the other applicants. I'd also say to get experience before you pay for the course - the reality of it can be far removed from the glamourous vision.

    I love it, although I am a self confessed workaholic and thrive on being challenged.

    As for missing out - I'm currently a trainee solicitor and did my LPC part time whilst on my training contract. The support from my uni was fantastic, my fellow students were often in the same boat and my firm looked on it kindly that I could juggle studying with work.

    Good luck with it all x
  • wifeyM-n-mwifeyM-n-m Posts: 246
    I did it full time and to be honest there is a uni type experience to be had for those that wanted it (fresh out of LLB types who had relocated and were flat sharing with other students) But there are plenty of us who were already established here and had lives that did not involve the usual student stuff.

    We just went about our lives in the usual way (and tried to keep out of the fresher stuff) except that instead of a job we studied like crazy!

    I would imagine that a distance learning you would have a similar sort of removed style of working!

    I am a trainee now and to be honest the biggest challenge in this market would be getting the TC in the first place.

    Good luck with it. Let me know if I can help with anything- (I think I have an email button...?)
  • I am a trainee solicitor - due to qualify in Feb 2010 - so cannto wait as all the studying will finally be over.

    If you already have a degree then as others have said you need to do the conversion - the GDL. My cousin did this - but it is a major hard slog, you bascially do a large chunk of the law degree over one year full time or two years part time.

    For those who did it part time - I take my hat off to you, the LPC full time was soo much work and the GDL is mean't to be worse - I'm not sure I could have done it on top of a full time job.

    Then you need to do the LPC to be a solicitor - again one year full time or two years part time.

    The problem you might have is getting a training contract. There were 300 people at BPP in Manchester on the full time LPC and only about 25% had training contracts by the time they finished the LPC - and a lot of them stil don't have one a year on.

    There are far too many people for the training contracts out there, and you could concievably end up spending about £20,000 for the two courses and be left with no job at the end.

    I really don't want to put you off, if it is something you really want to do then you should follow your heart, but I was exceptionally lucky to even get a training contract - there are people I swent to BPP with who have 1st class degrees who can't get training contracts.

    You just need to be aware that the studying is not the hard part, and does not guarantee you a job at the end.

    Again, if you want any advice etc please feel free to email me.

  • Pippa155Pippa155 Posts: 1,144
    It is a very valid point that demand vastly outstrips supply in terms of training contracts and pupillages. Also, the Legal Services Act that was passed in 2007 has really changed the way the legal profession works.

    It is my opinion (and it is only an opinion) that the concept of 'barristers' and 'solicitors' will be entirely replaced by 'legal executives' in the not too distant future. They are indeed sniffed at by the Old School, but Old School lawyers are likely feeling threatened by the fact that their professional status is rather becoming obsolete.

    Personally, I am seriously debating just holding fire when I have completed the GDL and seeing what effect this Act actually has on the profession before I spend the thick end of £10,000 on a qualification (LPC/BVC) that may well be obsolete in 5 years time.


  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    It is a very valid point that demand vastly outstrips supply in terms of training contracts and pupillages. Also, the Legal Services Act that was passed in 2007 has really changed the way the legal profession works.

    It is my opinion (and it is only an opinion) that the concept of 'barristers' and 'solicitors' will be entirely replaced by 'legal executives' in the not too distant future. They are indeed sniffed at by the Old School, but Old School lawyers are likely feeling threatened by the fact that their professional status is rather becoming obsolete.

    Personally, I am seriously debating just holding fire when I have completed the GDL and seeing what effect this Act actually has on the profession before I spend the thick end of £10,000 on a qualification (LPC/BVC) that may well be obsolete in 5 years time.


    My experience in legal practice (as a 4 year PQE lawyer who has recently left the City to work in the regions) is that the Act has had zero effect on the way the legal profession works, either in the City or the large regional firms.
  • Pippa155Pippa155 Posts: 1,144
    Oooh, sorry emsyj, didn't quite mean that the way it came out...

    What I meant to say is that (as far as I understand it) it is no longer a requirement that you have to be a qualified lawyer to found a legal practice. As this is what I ultimately want to do, it will have an impact on whether or not I decide to become fully qualified.

    The reason I am waiting is precisely because the act is so recent that it won't have had any impact yet. In 5-10 years time, it's effects will have filtered through the profession, and I believe it will look rather different than it does today.

    I guess what I was trying to say is that the fact that these courses are so expensive, and that there is a very slim chance of a training contract/pupillage at the end of it will mean that a lot of people will change their plans, now that the Act has brought in alternative options that weren't available before.


  • emsyjemsyj Posts: 3,807
    I think realistically if you have a good degree from a good (i.e. top 10) uni then you stand as good a chance of getting a TC now as you ever did. Also the bigger firms will usually pay your fees and I don't think the current economic climate has made any difference to that. I personally would think it would be more difficult in many ways to avoid qualifying in the traditional way and yet still gain sufficient experience to be in a position to found a legal practice. Also, once you've worked in practice for a while you may no longer want to do that anyway, but that's a different issue!

    The legal profession is notoriously conservative and resistant to change. I would be utterly astonished if it looked significantly different in 10 years' time to how it looks today. If I were you, I would press ahead if you have decent academics - also watch out for your qualification becoming stale if you wait too long and the issue that, if you don't apply for TCs/pupillage now, you will need to do something law-related in the interim and there are more 'traditional' training positions available than there are jobs for people who do not at least have the LPC or BVC behind them. Many paralegal jobs will require you to have the LPC as well as GDL/qualifying law degree.

    Sorry, that sounds really negative, but as someone who is in the profession I think the Act has had (and will continue to have) substantially less impact than you seem to think... I certainly don't think 5 to 10 years is anything like long enough for there to be any real change in how the profession trains, recruits and operates. I could be completely wrong, of course - what do I know!!?? But from my experience, there isn't even any talk within the profession of things actually changing at all. There was a minor panic about 'Tesco Law' and the changes that might happen on the relaxation of various rules, but it hasn't been borne out in reality. Things are much the same as they always were (from where I'm sitting at least).
  • I did the GDL and it practically killed me. I worked from 6am most mornings to 8pm everynight. I didn't have a weekend, I got fat from lack of exercise. I NEVER saw my boyfriend (who luckily was very understanding bless him x x) The LPC compared with the GDL is an absolute doddle so once you get through the GDL then its plain sailing. You need to ask whether you will willginly sacrifice one year of your life to complete it. My exams were 3.5 hours every other day for 2 weeks. I didn't sleep, brush my hair, get the picture....

    I came from a top university and had my fees paid. Realistically I wouldn't have done either if I had to pay - top law schools like Nottingham and London BPP etc charge a fortune and living costs are high. Its horrid to say it but there are still many many prejudices for those who went to lesser universities and lesser law schools.

    A-Levels are also prevebntative from finding work. I had two first class degrees from top 10 universities and had AABB at A-Level. I was asked why my A-Levels "were poor" at interview.

    Good luck but I think everyone should be aware of the pitfalls before they start.
  • Chubbs1ukChubbs1uk Posts: 2,013

    NewcastleBecca - My h2b had the same problem with his GCSE results at 3 of his interviews!!

    He went to College of Law London and the fees and living expenses were high, apart from h2b's savings I supported us for a year during the course and then for 5 months afterwards while he stayed at home and looked for jobs...paid off because he got his training contract but it was tight there for a while.

    He loved his LPC, we both went to UEA where he did law and then took a year out and worked...when he went back to college he loved it, it obviously helped that he knew 100% what he wanted to do whereas when we came out of university he was still undecided. I think it's a career you have to be sure about.

    Good luck with whichever you decide Mrs Paddington Bear. x

  • I am a trainee on a part time study training contract, doing the LPC part time at BPP on weekends whilst working full time. Its hard work and expensive but as I have a training contract, I feel a bit more secure in spending the money. I am in the minority on the 2nd year of the part time lpc of those who have training contracts.

    I would suggest that if you embark on a course to get some experience at a firm first. This will not only give you experience and increase your chances of getting a training contract but also help you decide if law, and what type of law/firm is for you. Getting paralegal work can be hard as there are many graduates who will work for free whilst the prospect of a training contract is dangled in front of them, but if you are able to work for no/little money and are persistent you should be able to get some experience. ALso if you work at firms, some are willing to pay for and put you through ILEX so you could take the legal executive route.

    One of the secretary's in our firm is doing the GDL part time, I think he goes to college of law for 10 days a year and the rest is distance learning. Sounds like a lot of hard work but if you are motivated you should be fine. From the point of view of a part time student (most of or work is distance as we only attend seminars and watch lectures at home) you miss out on the socialising but I would say that is about it. If you go to a good learning provider you should get sufficient teaching support.

    Good luck in deciding what you want to do. x
  • Hi,

    please be careful when deciding.

    I did the CPE, then the LPC, did loads of experience, inc voluntary work and worked for around 3 years for law firms. I couldnt get a training contract and only a few in my class ever did. It doesnt seem dependant on grade either.

    I spent thousands studying and really regret it. I gave up after a while becuase Im not getting any younger and did something different.

    Also, I know so many trainee who wont have a job once qualified.

    Im sorry to be a grump but I wish someone had pulled me to one side before spending all the money and told me what could happen.

    I hope you get what you want, please feel free to email any questions you have.. xx
  • cazanncazann Posts: 832
    I did an OU degree a long time ago, though not in law. Studying from home doesn't suit everyone but if you have self discipline and are dedicated to studying then I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I did.
  • cbtb0706cbtb0706 Posts: 168
    Hi I did my degree and then went straight on to my LPC completed it back in 2007, in hindsight I would probably do things very differently. First of all I would do at least a years experience before you apply to do your LPC and I would use every single legal contact you may have to get experience.

    Before starting my LPC I had about 6 months worth of experience I then went on to work for a large commercial firm and I then left and worked for a medium sized firm and then a small high street firm, the only word I think I would use to sum up the profession in my experience is nepetism, of course I can appreciate there are people who may disagree with me and may have had very different experiences to me but I am speaking from a personal perspective true to my own experience.

    As one prevous poster has commented the profession is very resistant to change and they also seem to like to award training contracts to family members and close friends, on quite a few occassions these trainees had lower grades than me and less experience. After working 12 hour shifts every day ( which I was fully prepard to do as a self confessed work aholic)and watching relatives and friends of partners being awarded training contracts before me I must admit I became very disheartened and decided to stop pursuing a training contract.

    I am sorry if this post sounds negative but I think my views have also been recipricated by a few students I studied with and keep in touch with. However there have been some proposed changes in the proffession to stop graduates being given titles such as "legal assistant" and "paralegal" and being expected to carry out the same work as trainess without it counting towards qualification, there have been suggesstions that work carried out whilst in these roles be sumitted to the law society and then people can qualify this way.

    I hope this does help you make an informed decision and good luck hun xx
  • VJSwedVJSwed Posts: 159
    I agree with much of what has been said - it's not all it's cracked out to be- by that I mean it is not easy to actually find a job and it's amusing that this is posted in big budget brides - most of the people I studied with are not earning half as much as they had expected to!!
  • Hi ladies

    I've been qualified as a solicitor for 12 years now - yes I'm 37 and did it the quickest possible route (3 years full-time degree, 1 year LPC, 2 years articles)! Seemed to take forever!! I'm a Partner of a north-east 15 Partnered firm.

    I do not envy anyone doing this part-time or starting it part way through employment, only because I couldn't imagine having the time.

    The benefit of doing law is that, along with medicine, it sets you on a direct path where you have a good idea what you will do, once qualified. On the other hand, should you stray from law, it is a highly respected degree that could assist in securing employment over other candidates.

    It isn't well paid initially, but wages are very much dependant on location and the area of law you choose to practice. As a female it offers a more secure well paid job over many other areas of educated employment. Poaching is very common, if you're good at what you do.

    I was lucky my degree was free in the 90's! Still had to pay for law school though.

    I don't think there will be a huge change in the varying roles of lawyers and pay is generally dependant upon your level of qualification (solicitor far better paid than legal exec).

    Choose your mode of study carefully and go for it! It can be hugely rewarding in a number of ways!!

  • I did the CPE and LPC but couldnt get a TC.Im going to be really cheeky now and ask all the qualifieds and trainees to let me know if their firms are looking for trainees? i have loads of experience both paid and unpaid and am willing to work 30 miles within Luton. any offers? this is a serious post by the way
  • Hi soozie, I know how hard it can be to get a TC. Sorry we dont have any vacancies at the moment, but I have seen a few adverts in the gazette lately for trainee positions- keep an eye on the law gazette online. Also I used to use immediate vacancies which always had good paralegal/training contract positions in there. I got my TC by working as a paralegal here for 6 months so maybe look for paralegal positions to try and get a foot in the door? x
  • hi happymrstobe, i have worked as a paralegal but was unsuccessful when getting a tc. Apparently the other outside applicants who applied got a 1st. I had to work through my degree to pay for it all myself, but noone seems to care about that which really annoys me. ill keep my eyes peeled for law gazette online. Because im not working in a law firm i dont get this anymore image
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