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Can I convert from a nurse to lawyer who works in medical negligence?

(27 Posts)
SarahHusbands123 Tue 21-Apr-20 14:46:32

I am a qualified nurse, I have always had an interest in Law, especially relating to medical negligence.

How can I convert from a nurse to a lawyer? I am finding it difficult to find direct answers at the moment with Universities being closed.

Has anyone done this?

Any advice?

OP’s posts: |
enragedpenfold Tue 21-Apr-20 14:48:08

University administration is open. We’re wfh but madly busy. You should be able to email a few places and get all the information you need.

TriangleBingoBongo Tue 21-Apr-20 14:49:37

To be a solicitor you’d need to do a graduate diploma in law, then legal practice course, then two year training contract at a firm. Typically 1 in 8 that do the LPC go on to get a training contract and it’s difficult to ask for a specialism, given TC’s are so hard to come by. You’d need a firm that does medical negligence but that would only cover 6months of your TC, you have to do four seats (in four different areas of law) in total which are 6 months each.

Or you could look at the legal executive route which I know less about.

QueenOfPain Tue 21-Apr-20 14:50:12

It will probably take bloody years. Have you looked into being an expert witness in relation to medical negligence? That might scratch the itch.

TriangleBingoBongo Tue 21-Apr-20 14:50:49

More info on legal executives. This is their governing body -

HopeClearwater Tue 21-Apr-20 14:53:18

I know a nurse who did this. She had to do the full law degree, then her legal practice certificate (a year) and then a two year training contract with a law firm. Your nursing won’t give you a short cut.

Purplequalitystreet Tue 21-Apr-20 14:53:37

Some firms have an in house nursing team, to sort records and advise on cases. Might be a good way to transition?

HopeClearwater Tue 21-Apr-20 14:54:01

^ expert witness in relation to medical negligence^

Courts like doctors’ evidence, nurses not so much.

Elouera Tue 21-Apr-20 14:58:09

I know 2 friends who have done this, but both were in Australia. One stayed in a medical negligence type role, the other worked in law for a very large supermarket chain! There is no 'conversion', you'd still need to do a law degree! You might get some credit from your nursing degree/life experience though, but I'd imagine this would be minimal, as they are such different courses.

Another thought would be the RCN. I contacted them when I was made redundant. The rep was lovely, but surprisingly not a nurse at all, only had a law background. Someone with duel skills would certainly be in demand in such a role. I don't know if they would have a job for a nurse rep, but you could gain experience of the law side of things whilst at uni? Just a random thought.

Best of luck with it though, but it would certainly open a lot of doors having both skills.

Purplequalitystreet Tue 21-Apr-20 14:58:14

@HopeClearwater that's not entirely true. It depends on the circumstances of the case. Only a nurse can comment on the standard of care provided by another nurse

SarahHusbands123 Tue 21-Apr-20 14:59:03

Thank you for the replies. I am not after a short cut, by any means. I just needed a timeline of how long it will take and how difficult or easy it can be.

Definitely got some thinking to do

OP’s posts: |
QueenOfPain Tue 21-Apr-20 14:59:25

There are definitely expert witness companies who have nurses on the books, but usually very experience senior nurses who are legitimate experts in their field. Some care in this day and age doesn’t have a doctor involved at all, so how could they expect to be an “expert” on that, particular if malpractice relates to failures of nursing care?

QueenOfPain Tue 21-Apr-20 15:00:47


GU24Mum Tue 21-Apr-20 15:01:28

Hi OP,
Roughly how old are you and what are your last school-type exams (subjects and approx grades)?

Purplequalitystreet Tue 21-Apr-20 15:03:18

If you want to compketely retrain, you're looking at about 5 years. I know several clin neg solicitors who started off as nurses.

SarahHusbands123 Tue 21-Apr-20 15:06:05

I have a 2:1 degree in nursing
Currently working towards my masters

I'm almost 30 with 2 children. 🤣

OP’s posts: |
TalbotAMan Tue 21-Apr-20 15:09:47

It's possible, but it isn't easy. Also, it's changing.

Currently, the starting point depends on whether you have a degree already. If so, and really it will need to be a 2:1+, you can take a 1 year Graduate Diploma in Law, after which you can take a second 1 year course towards becoming either a solicitor or a barrister. Both courses are expensive and don't actually get you a job, let alone one in your chosen area.

If you don't have a degree or you have one that's not 2:1+, you're likely to need to take a full 3 year law degree instead of the first 1 year course and, again, get at least a 2:1+, preferably from one of the better universities. Part-time and distance learning course are available, but will obviously take longer, though they allow you to keep earning.

If you've done well, then you will need to get a training job, and at the moment they are hard to come by; that doesn't look likely to change in the near future. Training jobs usually require that you do a wide variety of legal work. After the training job you will need to find a job in medical negligence. There your nursing may stand you in good stead as you will be able to talk the talk. You may also need to decide whether you want to work for claimants or defendants, as a lot of lawyers in that field specialise in representing one or other, not both.

Solicitors are in the process of changing such that technically entry will be based on exam performance without the need for specified degrees or post-graduate courses, but the reality is likely to be that in order to pass those exams you will need to do courses and employers are still want to see evidence of a good degree.

Alternatively you can, as suggested, qualify through on the job training with some day release study as a legal executive or as a solicitor through a legal apprenticeship. These will also take longer.

If it is something you really want to do, then go for it. But you need to be clear that, although it can be very enjoyable, it will be a long, difficult and expensive process.

3rdNamechange Tue 21-Apr-20 15:10:27

You can do a law conversion course. It's about £8/10000. Takes a year full time.
I've tried numerous avenues but cannot get funding.
Then the training contract.
Probably about 3 years ? Lots of money though. Could you look at the OU as you're young you could do a part time law degree.
A friend did a Masters in medical law and ethics after her nursing degree ( distance learning). Could you make your masters healthcare law focussed?

Reginabambina Tue 21-Apr-20 15:27:17

You’d need to either do a law degree or a GDL. Then you either sit the bar exams and do a pupilage (barrister) or do an LPC and do a training contract (solicitor). It will take three or four years and will be entirely dependent on getting a training contract/pupilage which is not that easy these days.

TriangleBingoBongo Tue 21-Apr-20 16:44:22

A training contract is 2 years. The requirements from the SRA are clear as mud.

I presume you have a degree OP to be a nurse?

@Elouera the graduate diploma in law allows you to become a solicitor without qualifying (LLB) law degree. Some people refer to it as a conversion. It’s a popular route into law.

MissMarks Tue 21-Apr-20 16:52:21

Law degree here. Honestly I would stick with nursing and diversify within that. The money is crap now in law for the majority, it is dry and all my friends who are solicitors want out.

Verily1 Tue 21-Apr-20 17:00:12

The open Uni do a law degree.

You can do it part time in 4 years or full time in 2. You won’t cover medical negligence per se but will do
Tort Law which cover damages etc.

After that you need to do the post grad course and training as above.

You may have an advantage at a firm that does medical negligence but few firms will do just that.

Think about how you will feel if you come out of it and all you do is house sales? Will you be happy with that.

I’d say go for it if you love the law, like lots and lots of paperwork and late nights but not if you just want to be involved in medical court battles.

Kings College used to do Medical law LLM that may interest you?

TriangleBingoBongo Tue 21-Apr-20 17:04:21


Yup solicitor here, I do enjoy it. But everyone thinks you’re rolling in it and unless you go to London and sell your soul you’re really not. I’m paid better than my nursing friends but not by much.

Purplequalitystreet Tue 21-Apr-20 18:58:47

I agree with @TriangleBingoBongo

I'm also a solicitor (actually specialise in medical negligence). It's not as glamorous as it's made out to be. The pay for most is not great considering the pressure you are put under. Also a lot of firms are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to flexible working, which you may want to bear in mind as you have children. I'd really recommend getting some experience in a firm before forking out thousands, to see whether it's for you

TriangleBingoBongo Tue 21-Apr-20 19:03:12

Also worth baring in mind that our salaries are set and we don’t get any OT, despite working long hours. So you might actually find nursing pays better per hour.

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