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Too late to become a solicitor
9

marcelawatk · 27/05/2014 08:40

One day last winter I thought, I think I would make a great solicitor. So I applied to Nottingham and they have unconditionally accepted me. But now I am worry of how competitive it is to land a training contract... I will be competing with young skinny good looking smart people, and I am scare I won't be good enough. I have a family and time to study won't come easy. I haven't work since I left my Admin job in Washington DC in 2010 to follow DH to his home country to raise our family. I applied to hundreds of jobs, got 16 interviews that lead to 1 month temp job. I think the last three years of looking for employment and being rejected so many times has made me very insecure about getting this training contract... But hey, maybe it is right to think of another career... Something less competitive? I am 36. Any thoughts

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Blithereens · 27/05/2014 08:57

Hi OP. I think it is fantastic that you have been accepted at Nottingham. Well done you.

It is absolutely not too late. Yes, you will be competing with younger people but in my experience employers value experience - in life as well as in the workplace.

I decided what I wanted to do at 29. I managed to get a job in the industry (started like you on a v temp contract and just plugged away - been in the industry now 4 years) and went back to uni too. I've just finished my degree and am starting an MA in September. I also have to compete with younger skinnier people (I'm 33 now) who already have all the qualifications etc, but it hasn't done me any harm. Confidence, maturity and the self-motivation and determination it takes to be a mature student juggling home, work and study commitments are very highly prized by employers.

You can do it!

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OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus · 27/05/2014 09:19

What course is it that you've been accepted onto? A law degree, the GDL, LPC or something else? Which course provider exactly?

What is it about being a solicitor that appeals to you and in what sort of field? Have you done any work experience to sample it? 36 isn't too old but you'll be at least 40 by the time you qualify, possibly older depending on your route and it is expensive to do the courses so worth being clear that you really want this.

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OublietteBravo · 27/05/2014 09:21

Congratulations on your place at Nottingham. If being a solicitor is what you want to do, then you can and will make it happen.

I retrained in my 30s (as a patent attorney rather than a solicitor, but I imagine the competition for training contracts is similar). I was 34 when I started, and had 2 young children (I'm 38 now and qualified). I know other people my age - in fact I have been surprised at how many 'mature' people enter the profession.

Remember that you can offer things that the younger candidates can't. Good luck.

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marcelawatk · 27/05/2014 14:30

Thanks for the words of support. It is good to hear that someone else have done similar and have been successful.

The course is LLB. University of Nottingham. I am interested on working in the business field. I have been accountant and administrator, and also helped my husband to set up his business here.

I know I will start at 40+ it's scary!!!

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MillyMollyMama · 03/06/2014 01:34

You need to apply for work experience whilst you are on the course. All the young ones who mean business will. You presumably cannot go anywhere in the country for a job and training contract, so getting into the local law firms is essential. If you are an accountant, did you not already have a degree? Could you have converted your existing qualifications to a degree then done the GDL? Training contracts are really difficult to get these days as lots of non law students want them too. With determination you will succeed.

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BeckAndCall · 03/06/2014 07:34

Are you sure this is the right path for you, OP? If you already have a degree, as milly says, there are other routes. You'll be spending 3 years on the academic topics of the law, rather than how the law applies ( although there is obviously some of that in the course).

Another route in would be as a legal executive - less upfront commitment for full time study and more chance of early exposure to the working life of a legal professional and a well trodden path with perhaps more openings than through a training contract.

Disclaimer: DH is a solicitor, DD is about to embark on a GDL and from what I've gathered, many newly qualified solicitors are taken on in legal exec roles nowadays in any case. But this is just anecdotal from the London market. I know nothing about the Nottingham scene.

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Notsoskinnyminny · 03/06/2014 18:30

A word of warning - its tough out there for law graduates. DS graduated last year and deferred his LPC place and took an admin job in a solicitors' firm to get some experience and save up. He's now seeing his friends struggle to get jobs, nevermind training contracts and having to convert their graduate loans to ordinary loans with no means of paying them.

He's been advised to go down the ILEX route as he can still do the LPC in the future but won't need a TC to become a solicitor. One of his friends completed her LPC 5 years ago and is going back to do a masters in September before her degree is obsolete. We've got 5 universities in a 25 mile radius all offering law degrees, 125 graduated with him last year. Why are universities still recruiting law students when there aren't the jobs out there for them Angry?

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onedev · 03/06/2014 19:11

I'd say go for it Op - it's never too late, however I also know getting training contracts can be almost impossible. That said, why wouldn't you get a contract over someone else? Good luck.

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MillyMollyMama · 03/06/2014 22:11

My DD is about to do a GDL as well. I have the distinct feeling that 1st degree and contacts count for a lot. A law degree is not always the best route and especially not from a mid/lower division university. I think only the best will do.

After hearing about the problems at Anglia Ruskin University today concerning complaints there, I looked up their entry requirements for a law degree. It was a maximum of 280 UCAS points. How can only but a few candidates ever compete for training contracts or pupilages with these A level requirements? It seems unfair to recruit onto a course like this because employment prospects as a solicitor or barrister must be pretty poor.

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