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Any solicitors out there? Planning my career

(11 Posts)
PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Fri 15-May-15 23:08:12

I got good GCSEs, 4 A*s, 3As and 3Bs but really lost the ball when doing my A-levels, so my results are pretty bad (2 A-levels at grade C, 2 AS levels at a B and a D). For context this wasn't because I went off the rails but because I was a carer for my mum, who had mental health and alcohol problems, and she kicked me out of the house at the start of my AS year, I ended up homeless begging for help from ss who were not supportive of me staying in school which made it difficult to go. I became ill with glandular fever, made worse due to the stress I was under and then my grandad, who I was very close to, died close to much final exams. So I never went to uni when I should have done.

I got a job in customer service, got married, had kids... and realised I wanted to get my academic career back on track. I began a degree with the OU and I'm due to graduate next year. I'm hoping for a 2:1.

I'm now in a position where I am going nowhere with my job and I'd like to make some firm steps in the direction of a career I've always been interested in, which is law. I'm under no illusion that I've missed the boat for a high flying city career, but a nice, respectable job which makes me feel good about what I've achieved is what I'm hoping for.

I've been researching GDL courses. I'm looking for voluntary experience, possibly with the CAB as it could fit nicely with my current experience. I'm about to spend the summer reading and researching to ensure my commercial knowledge is all there. I'm also researching internships and vacation placements in anticipation of applying for training contracts.

But what I'm worried about, and can't find a clear answer to, is whether my poor a-levels will scupper my chances before I even begin?

Is there anything else I can do to make up for them on my CV in terms of skills or experience?


returnvisit Mon 18-May-15 22:32:05

I would think long and hard about a career in law. My experience of it is that is generally an unrewarding profession with stiff competition.

Training contracts are very difficult to get. A good degree with good experience will still not be enough to get one usually.

Usually the best thing is to get your foot in the door at a firm. You may have to do some unpaid work experience if you don't get a job and then you key have to work a few years as a paralegal before they would even consider you for a training contract.

I think if you can justify your a levels not being the best you will be ok, especially if you have a good degree and good experience to back up your cv.

Good luck

mandy214 Tue 19-May-15 16:24:58

Have a search on here – there are quite a lot of threads about the pros and cons of a career as a lawyer. I think you will find it extremely difficult if I’m honest – unless you currently work in an area that would support your move – e.g. you’re a nurse looking to go into clinical negligence or a surveyor / engineer considering construction etc. There are thousands of law graduates competing for every vacancy whether that be placements or training contracts. You will come against competition from students with very good A level grades and good degrees even for paralegal positions – who have already done the GDL and therefore have more legal knowledge than you. It is also a big financial commitment to pay for the GDL without a training contract, and presumably lose the income you have now whilst you study for the GDL. There are very few solicitors on MN who genuinely enjoy what they do and the juggling act they have to do with the hours / family life. That’s not to say don’t do it, but think very carefully about it and get some work experience before you make a decision.

FreckledLeopard Tue 19-May-15 16:27:49

What kind of law do you hope to do? I'm a solicitor and desperately wish I did something else. It may be "nice and respectable" but I do wish I'd pursued a different career.

KleineDracheKokosnuss Tue 19-May-15 16:41:30

What sort of thing do you fancy?

- litigation?
- drafting contracts?
- conducting investigations?
- family law?
- crime?

There are lots and lots of options, but it helps to know what sort of thing you have a passion for first smile

KleineDracheKokosnuss Tue 19-May-15 16:42:00

And what is your degree in?

AuntieDee Tue 19-May-15 16:59:23

I'd advise against it - my OH was made redundant and even though he is an employable age and has good experience, it still took him ten months to get a job. Jobs in law are hard to come by and really competitive. Unless you are going to get a job in one of the big firms which tend to go to those with contacts or exceptional degrees you could be earning as little as £15-18k. You could earn that as a paralegal. My OH went from earning £48k with bonuses to taking the first job he got offered at £22k. Law isn't good right now sad

AuntieDee Tue 19-May-15 17:08:30

Forgot examples...

Matrimonial - no legal aid for this any more so workload has gone down and firms are closing
Prosecution - CPS are now employing unqualified clerks to do all the research and leg work that junior solicitors used to do. Barristers seem to just go into court now and nothing else.
Defence - legal aid fees were cut again last year by 8.75%. My OH gets now get approx £120 a call for going to a police Station which, although it sounds a lot, is a fixed fee, regardless of how many hours you are there (up to about 16 hours I think). So if you get called to deal with a complex case and are there for 16 hours (through the night), it works at about £7.50 an hour. The next he either has to work with no sleep, take a day's leave, or take a day unpaid.
Conveyancing - housing market crash, jobs declined
Personal injury - still booming but pays badly.

Jackie0 Tue 19-May-15 17:17:21

What an interesting thread.
So presumably a lot of law graduates follow careers other than law then.

mandy214 Tue 19-May-15 17:35:48

H and I are lawyers, as are many of our friends (or at least used to be). Don't know about crime as none of us pursued criminal law but certainly it is definitely not as well paid as people think, and the stress is certainly worse than many other "professions". Most of our peers from school / university who went into say accountancy, management are earning tens of thousands more than we are. It doesn't lend itself well to part time or fixed hours - my H and I often argue about who has to get home to collect children from school because we both need to stay on at work as something urgent has come up, and do lots of evening work / checking of emails out of hours.

Jackie I think lots of law graduates try to pursue a career in law but end up in low level roles (sometimes for years) just waiting to get a foot in the door.

MissTriggs Wed 20-May-15 20:21:14

The only thing you can do is get paralegal work. I would not pay for the course until you've done lots of that.

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