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Lawyers - would you recommend starting a career in law now???

(58 Posts)
cruusshed Tue 23-Feb-16 12:50:51

Similar to the Dr thread. DS doing GCSEs this year thinking about a career in law. I have no idea about the profession or how it breaks down - but have picked up negative info in press around too many graduates and not enough jobs. Think I read somewhere that there are only 3-4k training places and 17k graduates each year?

So does this mean unless you go to the very top unis to study law you wont even get a training place?

What is happening in the profession generally?

Is it still the case that you can either do 3 years of law degree, then one year LLB and 2 years articles - or 3 years any degree and 1 year conversion etc.

Molio Tue 23-Feb-16 13:17:47

The Clearing 2015 thread is discussing exactly that OP.

I'd recommend it still, if you're able and like that sort of thing.

cruusshed Tue 23-Feb-16 14:42:00

Thanks Molio will look for that thread.

Lilymaid Tue 23-Feb-16 14:54:11

*Is it still the case that you can either do 3 years of law degree, then one year LLB and 2 years articles - or 3 years any degree and 1 year conversion etc.*
Either Law Degree plus LPC - Legal Practice Course (LLB is the l first degree for Law at most universities)
Other Degree plus one year GDL - Law Conversion Course (Graduate Diploma in Law), then one year LPC.

cruusshed Tue 23-Feb-16 15:06:49

thanks lilymaid got my acronyms in a twist!

bojorojo Tue 23-Feb-16 15:07:20

There are about 3000+ places pa for a funded LPC these days I believe. Barrister pupillages are under 400 per annum now and mostly in London. There is lots of info on being a solicitor on the Law Society web site and likewise on The Bar Council web site. It is very competitive and you have to really want to do it. A top university helps. A 2:1 or better is vital. A flair for being a lawyer helps. Law degrees are not vital though. Hard work is.

DeoGratias Tue 23-Feb-16 16:25:17

I would recommend it. One of my younger children is considering it but will probably not read law first at university. I really enjoy being a solicitor as do both my daughters. However you have to be realistic. Like medicine you will only get into it if you are bright and have lots and lots of As. One of my daughtes said half the people on the LPC course with her who had no training contracts no way would ever qualify -0 they could hardly string a coherernt sentence together, some had poor English and they could not debate issues or write with capital letters and full stops and correct spelling. In my day we rationed places on those courses and 50% who took the course failed it. Now if you can afford to pay the fee at law school you can take the course which I think is preferable but it does mean people who aren't very good think they will get jobs and they won't.

Always go for a top university - does not need to be Oxbridge. My girls were at Bristol and Nottingham and both got a 2/1 and other good stuff on their CV and get good A levelsin decent subjects - not knitting and carpentry. Never do law A level as it's not a good one.

If you don't read law you have two years of study after although hopefully during your degree you find a law firm to sponsor you at 2 years of law school as my daughter did.

homebythesea Tue 23-Feb-16 16:45:31

No I wouldn't

It's far too competitive, and even if you get as far as qualifying and getting a job the lifestyle is not conducive to healthy living (body and mind) or family life.

catslife Tue 23-Feb-16 17:17:48

Being a solicitor in private practice or becoming a barrister aren't the only careers available in Law though.
There is also a Legal Executive route and there are opportunities for lawyers in local government, in business and industry.
There is also a significant difference in stress levels between firms in London and elsewhere.

Molio Tue 23-Feb-16 17:26:56

There are also different stress levels between different firms within London.

Being a barrister has the significant advantage of being in charge of your own hours, to a degree.

Some people are instinctively competitive, so the life suits them very well.

RingUpRingRingDown Tue 23-Feb-16 17:37:03

Dh (lawyer) would say no.

Far too many people chasing too few jobs.
Very competitive and full of horrible people who stab each other in the back.
Constant fear of being fired (has happened twice so far here).

DeoGratias Tue 23-Feb-16 17:47:12

I actually like competition although I work for myself so I keep all the money these days (which I quite like too). Certainly in most highly paid jobs you have to work very hard at least at the start.

I do advise people to spread risk. One reason I coudl set up on my own was because I was earning my entire salary in my spare time editing something, writing a law book, giving talks so it was not a huge leap of faith to go on my own. if you can in life ensure a few different sources of income including husband's and wife's, perhaps a flat you let out, some extra earnings (I used to mark law exam papers for example) you can feel more protected than just being an employee of one firm

jeanne16 Tue 23-Feb-16 17:50:33

Ringup. The fact is that Law is only one of the areas that has too many people chasing too few jobs. The same is true everywhere as is the constant fear of being fired, certainly in all private sector jobs.

Our kids have to do something!

redhat Tue 23-Feb-16 18:12:49

There have been loads of threads on this recently. Do a search since I think you'll find them interesting reading.

Law as a profession is stressful and generally comes with crap work life balance. Having said that it can also be very rewarding both in terms of being intellectually stimulating and in terms of being financially rewarding if you can make it all the way to the top. The vast majority of lawyers don't really enjoy their jobs (I personally enjoy it most of the time. DH hates it most of the time).

The competition is immense and the harsh truth is that the majority of law firms are now using unqualified paralegals to do the work that would once have been done by expensive trainees and junior lawyers. As a result there are few training contracts available and hundreds applying for each place. Work experience is essential and many work as paralegals for pretty much minimum wage for a couple of years before getting a training contract. You have to be the best of the best to make it nowadays (or else very lucky/have contacts in high places).

If your child is predicted very very good exam results and is confident, outgoing, self motivated and determined then it can be a realistic option. But it's not for the weak. Neither is it always very well paid. The vast majority of lawyers outside of London will be on less than £80k even at partner level (and partnership is now far more difficult to achieve and is certainly not a given).

You will hear lots of success stories on here. Most of us who are earning hundreds of thousands though are older (45+) and have either been fortunate enough to work in magic circle or US firms or in a specialism where we can command a high salary or else we have taken a risk and decided to work for ourselves (but that only comes after gaining years of experience and a good network of clients/contacts first).

I certainly won't be encouraging my DSs to do it.

Molio Tue 23-Feb-16 18:51:34

redhat I've never encouraged my kids to do anything in particular but nor have I discouraged them from whichever path they've been inclined to take. It's up to them, not the parents.

redhat Tue 23-Feb-16 18:59:21

Of course but there are plenty of parents who steer their children in a particular direction. If they have a burning desire to do law then fine but I won't be actively encouraging them.

This doesn't really matter anyway since DS1 wants to be a movie star and DS2 wants to work on the tower of terror ride at Disneyworld.

Molio Tue 23-Feb-16 19:02:24

DS2 is quite niche smile

redhat Tue 23-Feb-16 19:05:48


Alanna1 Tue 23-Feb-16 20:24:53

Rather depends on the child, I would say. It suits a certain personality type. It also has long hours.

DeoGratias Tue 23-Feb-16 21:07:51

Mine just ignore me. My graduate son is a postman. Laughing as I type and I genuinely don't want to force any of them into anyway - they are all their own people.

bojorojo Tue 23-Feb-16 21:13:51

On another thread, a poster said working as a lawyer in a company (I mentioned Nissan) would require the lawyer to do the LPC elsewhere and then transfer. Assuming this is correct, working for commercial companies does not add to the training contracts available. It is a career move later on as would be working for a charity. Given the financial difficulties in local government, I am not sure how many lawyers they train now!

homebythesea Tue 23-Feb-16 21:33:26

It was my comment bojo- not LPC but training contract (Articles in old money). Companies aren't set up
To provide what the law society says is required to complete the training period and finally get the practicing certificate. Some local authorities used to do it, not sure nowadays.

bringonyourwreckingball Tue 23-Feb-16 21:37:16

No I really wouldn't. Training contracts are so hard to come by, so much debt, punishing hours and it's not very transferable. Law firms in general are very badly managed.

DeoGratias Wed 24-Feb-16 13:32:04

I do know a good few people who worked in companies (not law firms) and were able to persuade their boss to take them on as a trainee solicitor in the company. My daughter is working with someone at the moment who has just been approved to do that. The solicitor supervising them I think has to have a practising certificate which is a bit of a cost.

HocusCrocus Wed 24-Feb-16 16:36:45

Ds is thinking about law after his degree. I will support him in that, making the, no doubt rash smile , assumption that he will research it properly and come to his own conclusion as to whether it would be too stressful . I have never been a lawyer but re a post above, there are plenty of other jobs where being fired / made redundant is an occupational hazard for all sorts of reasons.

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