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Can I do a law degree? To all you solicitors out there

(36 Posts)
iwantanafternoonnap Mon 26-Nov-12 14:52:01

Hi to all those trained lawyers,

I am thinking of studying law because I am a bit fed up of my job and wish to change careers. I have, over the last couple of years, looked at studying this through open university but feel that I would do better at actually going to uni.

I am fairly intelligent, nothing special but manage alright. I am not the best at wording things and lack the flowering vocabulary that some have and I am not the best at presentations or filling in applications.

I am just wondering if it possible for me to realistically achieve a law degree and wondered what those already working in law think? I don't want to become some hotshot lawyer etc just a family lawyer helping people.

I will have to work full-time hours as a nurse to be able to afford to go but the uni seemed to think this wouldn't be an issue and seemed quite flexible regarding seminars.

Any advice most gratefully received.


iwantanafternoonnap Fri 14-Dec-12 13:09:18

olgaga that is interesting and I think also very sad. It appears that unless you have a lot of money then you will find it very very difficult to get a job in law. That will then mean the only people becoming solicitors will be rich people who may not understand the lifestyles/issues of those they are attempting to help.

iwantanafternoonnap Fri 14-Dec-12 13:27:46

I have just spoken to CILEX and they have said that I don't need to be working in law to do the course but that I will have to have had 5 years of working in law at a minimum of 20hrs per week to qualify. That it can either be voluntary or paid and that if I start the course it will make it easier to find a job.

The lovely man I spoke to is going to email me all the info I need about doing the course by distance learning. So even if I don't get a job it will at least be interesting to learn.

MOSagain Fri 14-Dec-12 13:34:27

Thats right iwant. I would say quite a few people don't work in the legal profession when they start studying with ILEX but most try to get something during the course of their studies. Good thing about ILEX is that you can start studying whilst still working so you are not giving up a career and can see whether it really is for you.

I do worry about DS who has his heart set on becoming a barrister. It is a very long and very expensive road with no guarantees sad

iwantanafternoonnap Fri 14-Dec-12 13:39:22

Once DS starts pre-school I will look at doing a bit of volunteer work on the days I am not at work. So hopefully that will help and help me understand some of the work better.

I hope your DS gets his dream. My niece also wants to be a barrister but she is only 15 at the moment so I will encourage her to get some voluntary work in once she is 16 so she can network as early as possible and boost her CV.

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Fri 14-Dec-12 13:50:18

Echoing what just about everyone has said but just wanted to add: I work in Legal Aid and the pay is very poor.

Many of my friends (I'm 5 years qualified) work in the City and have 6 figure salaries. I earn less than the binmen round here and I suspect that they did not have to spend thousands of pounds educating themselves to get their jobs.

Conversely my friends work evenings and weekends whereas I work basically 9-5 with a bit of catching up in the evenings and on my days off but being a Solicitor is not necessarily the ticket to all your financial dreams.

I enjoy every second of my job though.

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Fri 14-Dec-12 13:52:21

Oh and flowery language is actively discouraged nowadays. Things like letters to clients are meant to be easily understood!

iwantanafternoonnap Fri 14-Dec-12 14:03:09

I am not too fussed about pay as long as it isn't lower than I am on now as I need to pay mortgage. I wouldn't want to be a city lawyer at all I think that must be very stressful and also they must never see their families.

olgaga Sat 15-Dec-12 00:43:26

If you are a qualified clinician you are bound to earn far more in your already established career than you ever would going into law at this stage. Competition is really fierce.

Even in London and the major cities it's difficult. Outside, you have to "know someone" or have an outstanding education and degree - and even then if you "know someone" it will help.

A friend of mine with a degree and 10 years experience in Social Work, plus 20 years of working as a trade union full-time officer, took a further law degree and 3 years on has not yet managed to change career. She accepts now that it was an impossible dream, and counts herself lucky that her employers paid for her excellent law degree. She doesn't regret the experience, but it's very sad that someone so capable simply cannot find anything remotely matching her current salary, or even something half her salary.

Keep working is what I say, and look to branch out using your already valuable qualifications.

MerryChristMoose Sat 15-Dec-12 00:55:06

Before I moved to Canada I spent 10 years working as a family law solicitor. It's not a job that guarantees security. I was made redundant twice in two years.

I'd seriously consider the ILEX route OP. Relevant experience looks good on your CV.

Best of luck, whatever you decide to do.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 15-Dec-12 01:02:33

Something else to point out- to get a law degree that allows you to practice, you will have to do I think six core modules, some of which are fairly dry! So while family law is very people focussed, European, contract, land and property certainly aren't! Hence the reason I didn't go into practice but youth work!

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 15-Dec-12 01:04:27

Also, most non-corporate solicitors are not earning much more than 40k, those in the public sector are on mid thirties.

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