Advanced search

To re-train as a solicitor?

(97 Posts)
FithColumnist Wed 22-Nov-17 14:40:26

At the moment I'm a teacher, and I'm looking at alternative career options as I desperately want to get out. I was wondering about soliciting... wink

I graduated with a first in Modern Languages, and would be looking at doing a conversion course like a CPE or GDL. Has anyone done anything similar? I'd love to hear your experiences and stories if so- one thing that's preying on my mind is that I'm 34. Is that too old to be changing careers in this way?

Ttbb Wed 22-Nov-17 14:45:00

It depends on what kind of level you want to work at. If you want to move into a magic circle firm it will probably be vey difficult (less so if your degree is from oxbridge/Russell group) and you have remarkable work experience. Obviously how you perform on the GDL andLPC will also have an effect. If you just want to become a high street solicitor then go for it! Other options in the legal sector include becoming a paralegal (you can then use this to become a solicitor down the line) or training as a conveyancer.

NewtsSuitcase Wed 22-Nov-17 14:50:23

If you're prepared to join the queue, spend two years without income, do lots of unpaid work experience and possibly some NMW paralegal work and then fight others for jobs that aren't really there and which will undoubtedly require you to relocate (more difficult when you're older, particularly if you have a family) and then probably relocate again on qualification and then do low level work for a good few years in a profession that is notoriously bad for work life balance then it's a really good plan.

Sorry but we are overrun with applicants. You need to think very carefully.

3awesomestars Wed 22-Nov-17 14:50:43

Not exactly the same, but I decided to retrain four years ago as a psychologist. I decided to do the degree from scratch and I was 43.

I suppose I just wanted to say it is never too late - go for it.

SilverSpot Wed 22-Nov-17 14:53:54

My understanding is that it is not great in the legal sector at the moment.

Cuts to legal aid. Increasing amount of work done by paralegals / licensed conveyancers etc

Lots of applicants for not a lot of jobs.

Although if you can get into contract law there is going to be a big boom what with Brexit!

splendide Wed 22-Nov-17 14:54:18

I retrained as a lawyer but a little bit younger. I was 28 when I started the GDL. Didn’t spend two years without income - did GDL part time around a full time job and the law firm I trained at paid for my LPC. Best thing I’ve ever done. I’m now head of the legal team in a media company and I love my job.

splendide Wed 22-Nov-17 14:55:42

And my work life balance is pretty good. I work 8-4.30 and a day from home a week.

Work life balance was admittedly absolutely dreadful for the two years I was a trainee though .

Dunzo Wed 22-Nov-17 14:57:32

Hmm I'm a 33 year old solicitor and considering my future and the possibility of retraining as a primary teacher!

I've been lucky in my career so far and have a decent job working part time (difficult in this field) but I feel a bit like a grey drone. I'd love to do something with more of a creative, practical aspect that wasn't sitting in an office most days. I work in litigation and it can be exciting and rewarding but it isn't always. It's also hard to move between specialisms. I feel pretty stuck where I am - low down the rung, in a niche area without experience of anything else.

VladmirsPoutine Wed 22-Nov-17 14:58:08

You're not 'too old' but I'd stop to consider whether you're leaving one pile of shit to just sit on another.

There are many qualified lawyers vying for positions and unless you are exceptional and I mean in terms of a first from Oxbridge, remarkable work experience, contacts and willing to spend thousands on a conversion then it may not be for you.

Depends on what area of Law you're interested in. The criteria for magic circle is a great deal less than high-street lawyer.

NewtsSuitcase Wed 22-Nov-17 14:58:36

Presumably though splendide that was quite some time ago if you're now head of legal. I'm just trying to ensure that people don't look at law through rose tinted spectacles.

I love my job and I am lucky in that I good money doing it. You will know as well as I do though that a significant percentage of lawyers hate the reality of it. Long hours, poor work life balance and money which isn't as good as they thoughts it would be with significantly reduced opportunity nowadays for partnership.

LostMyMojoSomewhere Wed 22-Nov-17 14:58:55

Sorry but we are overrun with applicants. You need to think very carefully.

Former recruitment partner in international firm here. I agree with Newts. I spent years rejecting people with better CV's than me, simply because commercial law is a basket-case these days and every third graduate has a first class law degree/GDL/LPC.

I get the impression that the high street is less awash with stellar graduates, but frankly you will earn more as a teacher.

I have been a lawyer for 20 years and whilst it has made me a good living, there is no way I would enter the profession now.

LostMyMojoSomewhere Wed 22-Nov-17 15:01:43

Oh and like splendide I am now in-house. IMO it's the only way to get the flexibility needed as a parent (especially if your DP also has a "big job" - mine is a consultant oncologist so something had to give).

splendide Wed 22-Nov-17 15:02:18

Yes fair point Newts, I qualified 8 years ago now.

I’m wouldn’t want to be rose tinted really, I just genuinely love what I do and I’m glad I wasn’t put off it.

OP you could always just apply for training contracts and see how you go. You can apply before you begin the conversion at most city firms.

NewtsSuitcase Wed 22-Nov-17 15:02:36

apologies for the bad typing I'm trying to multitask MNing (this is my work life balance wink) with cramming a limp sausage roll in my mouth having been in a difficult meeting all morning and about to dash into another.

Dunzo Wed 22-Nov-17 15:03:01

Like a few others I'm also in-house and although the pay isn't as good and the structure is flat, the work/life balance is great compared to private practice, so that's something to consider.

splendide Wed 22-Nov-17 15:03:38

Oh and I will admit to being astonished by the level of recruits these days. I recently hired an NQ and every CV the agency sent through was vastly more impressive than mine.!

Chrys2017 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:07:34

Why not just invest the time and effort into becoming a better teacher? Curious to know why you are desperate to get out.

FithColumnist Wed 22-Nov-17 15:07:46

Thank you all for your comments! Plenty to consider here: I hadn't realised it was as fiercely competitive as you describe, nor that the work-life balance is so bad. Particularly when work-life balance is something I want to get back!

(As it happens, you guys sound like I do when people ask me if they should get into teaching. grin)

NewtsSuitcase Wed 22-Nov-17 15:14:29

Both DH and I are around 20 years PQE. Neither of us have straight As at A Level or First class degrees from Oxbridge. The world was different then though. As I often say on these threads the legal world has changed significantly. Partners can't afford to move on to early retirement and so opportunities are limited. Nobody needs a mid level lawyer nowadays. In the world of google anyone can see what the law is. Long gone are the days when we kept our legal knowledge locked away in law libraries. The world needs very senior experienced lawyers who can advise strategically and then dogsbodies at the bottom. Mid level lawyers are in a risky position.

OP if you think you'll get better work life balance as a lawyer you're having a laugh quite frankly. I say this as a lawyer who is surrounded by family members who are teachers. My DSis and DBIL both PIL and extended family are all teachers. DH often says that he would kill for their work life balance. DSis stayed with us for a week recently and said that it actually put things into perspective for her a little and made her realise that her job (admittedly stressful as a Head of Faculty) isn't too bad after all. I would kill for your holidays (I would probably also kill some of the children and so it wouldn't be the role for me grin)

NewtsSuitcase Wed 22-Nov-17 15:16:00

DH gets six weeks' holiday a year. For the past four years we have been lucky if he has been able to take four of them.

splendide Wed 22-Nov-17 15:18:28

I get 25 days and do take them all but definitely check email.

LostMyMojoSomewhere Wed 22-Nov-17 15:40:44

DH gets six weeks' holiday a year. For the past four years we have been lucky if he has been able to take four of them.

Sounds familiar. I had to set my alarm for 2am on 3 separate occasions during my honeymoon in Hawaii not Maui to accommodate conference calls. Yes, the client knew I was on honeymoon and no, he didn't care.

NeverTwerkNaked Wed 22-Nov-17 15:49:54

I would say do a huge amount of research before taking the leap. “The law” encompasses a wide spectrum of types of work and an equally wide spectrum of salaries.

I’m very lucky, I’ve found a niche I really enjoy, I work in-house and I am sufficiently senior to be able to work very flexibly. But judging by these threads etc jobs like mine are as still fairly rare.

makeourfuture Wed 22-Nov-17 16:36:25

There are some important changes in qualifications which will probably kick in in 2019.

AnnaleeP Wed 22-Nov-17 16:43:27

Two good friends who did, respectively, a law degree and a conversion course, at the age of 30 have failed to secure any related employment.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: