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To ask if the law conversion course is worth it?

(104 Posts)
superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Mar-14 15:22:48

I am fed up with being a teacher, I am rubbish at it anyway (or been made to feel rubbish) and am fed up with the poitics. It brings out the worst in me.
I have a 2:1 in English, a PGCE and I am a hard worker. I have always fancied doing the law conversion course with a view either of becoming a solicitor and/or a legal secretary. I know it is competetive but I like using my brain.
Anyone done a law conversion course and loved it? What is it really like being a solicitor and as a single mother, should I give up any dreams of a high-flying career and start a bunting and cupcake enterprise instead? (no offence intended as having my own business is one of my dreams!)

Objection Sun 02-Mar-14 15:25:01

My friend did the conversion course at Leicester University and was immediately offered a training contract with a solicitors. I'm under the impression that solicitors is a less competitive route than being a barrister.
Lots of lawyers are bound to come along soon!

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 02-Mar-14 15:29:12

You would need to do the GDL followed by the LPC. You're looking at easily over 25k for the two.

Training contracts aren't easy to come by, not least because a lot of firms are now like to employ prospective trainees as paralegals for at least 1 year before they will be considered for a training contract. An extended interview, basically.

I did a law degree followed by the Lpc. In hindsight doing it without a training contract lines up was a huge error. But it'll be fine in the end.

ruby1234 Sun 02-Mar-14 15:32:43

My DD did the law conversion after doing an Eng Lit degree. The course is quite expensive, and in order to be a solicitor she had to do a further year doing a legal practice course, I think the fees for that year alone were over £9k. (2010)
Out of the several hundreds doing the legal practice course, my DD was one of only 11 to get a training contract in a solicitor's office.
After 2 years being a trainee solicitor, she is now fully qualified and works as a solicitor and loves it.
Clearly you need to put in a few years training, and be prepared to have considerable expense doing the courses, and you need to be prepared that there are not that many jobs available at the end of it.

Good luck!

Fasterkillpussycat Sun 02-Mar-14 15:33:02

Training contracts are hard to come by these days - I would bear this in mind before incurring the cost of courses. Perhaps get some work experience first as this can help when applying for training contracts. It is a good profession but horribly competitive. You won't need the conversion course if you want to become a legal secretary.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Mar-14 15:33:50

I have the money to do it but that is cash I could otherwise use towards a mortgage.
Is being a solicitor easier than being a teacher? I feel like a failure for giving up on my teaching dream but the politics are INSANE!

racmun Sun 02-Mar-14 15:34:59

I'm a qualified solicitor I did a law degree so didn't need to do the conversion. You would also need to do the LPC to become a solicitor which again costs £££££ unless you can get sponsored.

I fucking hated every minute of my job. I was in private practice and you are put under serious pressure. The hours can be incredibly long and unfortunately this just seems to be expected from the partners and clients. There definitely seemed to be a culture of presenteeism.

Just be aware you don't make mistakes when you're a solicitor - you're negligent and you get sued! Fortunately I never cocked up but it's always hanging over you.

Part time jobs are really really hard to come by and everyone I know who has gone back part time after mat leave have had to do 4 days a week and check their emails etc on their day off.

The pay is better than a teacher but holidays aren't it wasn't that uncommon at my old firm that you were made guilty for taking time off and some people would cancel holidays at the last minute because they had an urgent matter.

I'm sure some people love being a solicitor (I actually don't know any!). God just typing this out has reminded me how much I hated it.

Sorry probably not what you wanted to hear but I do get down when I think how hard I trained for a job that I just can't bring myself to go back to.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 02-Mar-14 15:37:15


Different kind of difficult, they're incomparable in almost all ways. My dp is a teacher. Our days are so different. He often can't understand why I have come home so stressed/annoyed whereas with him it's always quite clear why.

What kind of firm would you be hoping to eventually work for? Normal high street, large national/international or city?

I only ask because work life balance as a solicitor can be affected by what kind of firm you work for.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Mar-14 15:38:39

I wish I loved my job. I should love teaching but I get fed up of the abuse tbh...and the feeling that it is my fault for getting the abuse.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 02-Mar-14 15:38:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

superstarheartbreaker Sun 02-Mar-14 15:39:48

I think a local solicitor rather than a big firm as I do have a dd who I want to see grow up!

Pumpkinpositive Sun 02-Mar-14 15:40:26

What about doing an HNC/D in Legal Studies with a view to being a Paralegal? I'm assuming there is less competition for those jobs than a traineeship, it would be less expensive and (hopefully) less stress than lawyering?

Luckystar1 Sun 02-Mar-14 15:41:24

I agree with everything racmun said. Everyone in law WISHES they were teachers!

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 02-Mar-14 15:41:28

The other thing to bear in mind with teaching vs working in a law firm is the holiday situation.

Not the amount because that's stating the obvious. But when you're off work as a teacher, everybody is and nothing goes wrong in your absence. As a solicitor you can take to weeks off and arrive back to fucking nightmare.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 02-Mar-14 15:42:53


Paralegal jobs are hugely competitive now because there are so many law/Lpc grads without training contracts. Everybody I know from my Lpc course went on to be a paralegal for at least a short period of time.

Living Sun 02-Mar-14 15:43:28

if you're interested in doing it get some experience and apply for someone to sponsor you through the training. You would be mad to through your mortgage money away on a GDL. If you don't want to wait try doing the GDL part time.

I have to warn you, I know teachers work hard. Lawyers work harder and get five weeks hol a year (if lucky). The money's good but they take their pound of flesh for it.

It's a very hard career for a single parent (what profession isn't) unless you have fantastic flexible childcare.

Luckystar1 Sun 02-Mar-14 15:43:57

By the by, the pay in a high street or smaller firm probably won't be much more than a teacher's salary, and you have to factor in childcare for summer etc.

But if you feel strongly, follow your heart

girlynut Sun 02-Mar-14 15:44:07

I did the GDL Conversion part time over 2 years (cost £4k) and the LPC part time over 2 years (cost £12k). After a year looking for a job, in Sept I started a paralegal role at a large regional firm. I've been told I'm likely to be offered a training contract next Sept. Hopefully I can use my time as a paralegal as time to count and knock 6 months off my TC.

So I'll qualify in march 2016. After starting this crazy journey in 2008. You've got to really want it and be committed to the time, cost and overcoming any set backs.

I have 2 young boys and have sacrificed time with them because of my dream.

eurochick Sun 02-Mar-14 15:46:27

I'm a lawyer and most of the people I know in law firms hate it and are looking for a way out.

I love some aspects of my job but can't stand the politicking and sexism (it is fine at junior levels but rife where promotion to partnership is concerned). There is also an awful lot of boring paperwork, particularly at the junior end.

If you wanted to be a legal secretary, that could be something that you could try without the training courses. You really just need typing and organisational skills when you start out.

Pumpkinpositive Sun 02-Mar-14 15:46:37

Paralegal jobs are hugely competitive now because there are so many law/Lpc grads without training contracts. Everybody I know from my Lpc course went on to be a paralegal for at least a short period of time.

Really? That's worth knowing, thanks. I had been looking at the HNC/D options myself but if the chances are you're going to be gazumped for by an out of work law graduate then little point.

Nishky Sun 02-Mar-14 15:48:38

I love being a solicitor-best job in the world- and actually none of my colleagues want to be teachers.

I did the early part of my career without children though so when you really had to out the hours in I could. However not all types of law required the ridiculously long hours.

Living Sun 02-Mar-14 15:50:11

Also be aware as a (private sector) lawyer you will be recording your day in six minute units and being hounded if you don't bill enough time.

Politics exist in every job.

(Disclaimer - I actually like my job!)

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 02-Mar-14 15:50:14


If it's something you're looking into maybe ILEX would be a better bet?

If I'd known at 17 or indeed 21 what I do now, I'd do the ILEX course.

Living Sun 02-Mar-14 15:52:32

What about some form of corporate training if you want to get out of schools?

Anomaly Sun 02-Mar-14 15:53:12

If you like teaching in so far as the actual teaching goes have you considered other options which still use your skills. Someone I know is now teaching at the local university training PGCE students. I've seen jobs going where you tutor disaffected children in their own homes or children who are in hospital.

If you're not enjoying it where you are consider trying another school. The culture can be totally different and the support from colleagues much better.

If you can afford it I would also go part time. I teach three days a week and find it plenty.

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