What is a solicitor?
Solicitors will advise clients on legal matters and which course of action to take. As you will see below there are many areas solicitors can practice in and depending on the area you choose will depend on the type of work you will be doing. Some practice areas will involve dealing mainly with clients, others will be in court houses and others will be interacting with barristers and working alongside them in trials.
Solicitors can work for a variety of firms including in-house, government or private practices.
Starting salaries for trainee solicitors in small firms can start from £25,000 per year working up to £100,000+ for partners in the larger city firms.
It all depends on the practice area and firm you work for as to the duties you will be doing on a day to day basis.
If you are unsure on the areas of law open to you, below is a list of some of the practice areas available. This is not an extensive list but is a great starting point to get you going.
Banking & Finance
Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
Shipping & Maritime
route to becoming a solicitor
Qualifying Law Degree
To become a solicitor, you must first complete a qualifying law degree (LLB) This may take up to six years to complete but as long as you don't take longer you will qualify.
The vocational stage is a period of training to help you gain skills to help you develop the skills you need to become a solicitor - this is currently the LPC. However in 2021 the introduction of the SQE is changing things. Please see below for more details on the SQE.
Once you have been successful in passing the LPC you then move on to what they call a 'period of recognised training'. A training contract allows you to further develop your skills as a solicitor in a workplace setting.
Once you have passed your period of recognised training you can then apply to the SRA to be accepted as a solicitor
What is the solicitors qualifying exam?
The SQE has left some confusion amongst students. What is it and how will it affect me? The SRA has been in consultation in regards to the project since 2017 to change from the LPC to a new type of exam as they say "to make sure all solicitors meet consistent, high standards at the point of entry to the profession". After years of deliberation and trials it looks like the exams are finally ready to start rolling out to student as of November 2021. You can read all the details here.
legal work experience
If you have decided to follow the career path of a solicitor, gaining work experience is a valuable experience. Not only does it allow you to see what the law firms are like and whether you would like to work there, it also allows you to showcase your work to potential future employees.
If you have not decided if the route of a solicitor is the right career path for you then utilising your time in working experience may help you decided if the life of a solicitor is what you really want.
One of those work experience options is Vacation schemes.
These usually last between one week and a month, applying as early as possible is recommended as competition is high.
Applying for these schemes will help improve skills and legal knowledge.
Below is a list of firms who run vacation schemes or legal work experience. (please check individual websites due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, as some firms may have cancelled or postponed their schemes.)
If you have any questions in regards to application forms then please do not hesitate to contact me.
For a review of law firms please visit www.chambersstudent.co.uk/law-firms