So today is the day; the day you receive your A Level results and find out whether you have got in to your first choice university. You will learn whether the months of revision and seemingly endless exams were worth it. I can remember all too well the sleepless night before and the horrendous churning feeling in your stomach waiting to get the results. I hope that congratulations will be in order and it will be a day of well-earned celebration.
It seems quite fitting that today of all days I should receive in the post my ‘Certificate of Satisfaction’ from the Solicitors Regulation Authority which confirms that I will become a qualified solicitor on the 15th September. So as my journey as a student/trainee comes to an end, the journey for the lawyers of tomorrow is just starting and I thought it may help to give a quick insight into the ‘traditional’ timeline of becoming a qualified solicitor.
- TODAY: Get your A Level results and celebrate!
- SEPTEMBER 2015: Start your 3 year law degree (remember to start thinking about work experience, vacation schemes, law fairs, open days, and ensure that you continue to work hard at your studies because your first-year grades do count!)
- SEPTEMBER 2016 onwards: Start researching firms you may want to apply to for training contracts. Some firms recruit two years in advance so keep an eye on application deadlines.
- JULY 2018: Graduate from university and celebrate again! Decide whether you want to become a barrister and study the one-year Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), or a solicitor and study the Legal Practice Course (LPC).
- SEPTEMBER 2018: Start the LPC and continue searching for a training contract if necessary. You will not be the only one if you do not have a training contract by this point but you need to step up the search.
- JULY 2019: Graduate from Law School and celebrate! Enjoy what might be your last summer off for a number of years (that is a depressing thought isn’t it?)!
- SEPTEMBER 2019: Start your two year training contract with your chosen firm and undertake four six-month seats in different practice areas (although the number and length of the seats is dependent on the services your firm offers). You will need to complete the Professional Skills Course during your training period and also decide which area of law you want to specialise in.
- JULY / AUGUST 2021: Apply to be admitted on the Roll of Solicitors in the coming September.
- SEPTEMBER 2021: You are now a fully qualified solicitor. Time to celebrate, again!
The above is just a very simple example of one of the many routes to becoming a qualified solicitor. There are several other ways into the legal profession, such as studying a non-law degree and then completing your Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) before the LPC, or studying the LPC part-time, or avoiding university completely and combining training and studying on the job to become a Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal. If you are unsure of which route is best for you, see this excellent guide from LawCareers.net.
But let us quickly rewind back from 2021 and focus on today. Today is about you and recognising your fantastic achievements. Take a moment to remember the feeling of elation if you have done well. If, on the other hand, things haven’t gone the way you had hoped, it is not the end. Your school or college will be able to help discuss your options and if a career in law is what you really want then you need to do whatever you can to make it happen.
The trainees at Woodfines are always happy to talk through career options with young lawyers and if you have questions, please feel free to get in contact with us.