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10 Biggest Myths About Becoming a Solicitor

I wonder how many of these you thought were true…


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Myth #1: You Have to Attend a Russell Group University

Although they may have better quality resources, just attending one of these universities is no longer enough. Students need to attend events and show their dedication to law through good university grades and extracurriculars to succeed; these are much more important than where you choose to study.

So, if you got less than stellar A-level grades, don’t worry. There are many courses which accept C’s and up at great universities. What matters is that you put every effort into succeeding from the get go to prove you take your course seriously, in your grades and extracurricular activities.

Compare top universities with our university comparison table >>

Myth #2: First Year Doesn’t Count

Whilst your first year at university may not count towards your final degree, it does count to firms and other organisations. If you plan on applying for vacation schemes or an internship for placement year, your grade will be considered. It also sets a good standard for the rest of your degree.

Find out how to make the most of your first year with our blog post >>

Myth #3: You Must Complete a Law Degree

If you started on a different course, but find yourself called to law, fear not – this is why the GDL exists. It’s a one-year conversion course which brings you to the same level as a graduating law student. There is actually a very balanced ratio of GDL and LLB in graduate recruitment by firms.

You don’t have to go to university at all: you could instead complete a legal apprenticeship.


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Myth #4: Diversity in the Profession is Poor

Okay, this one might be a little true at the higher levels, but rapid progress is being made.

The numbers sway in favour of females in graduate hiring: 62.3% of trainees taken on in the year ending July 2016 were female. Of solicitors, 50.2% are women. 30.9% of admissions in the same period were ethnic minorities.

Myth #5: It’s Expensive

Not necessarily! You have your regular university costs hopefully covered by your student loan, otherwise the only extra money you might spend would be to get a nice interview or open day outfit, as most firms will cover the cost of attending their events.

Textbooks are now usually available online through your university, and some physical copies will be in your library.

Post-graduation, if you managed to secure a training contract, then your LPC is paid for! Keep in mind you might be asked to complete a Master’s in the same year. Otherwise, it costs between £8,000 and £15,000.

Don’t worry if you fail to secure a training contract before graduation, there are other options available until such a time you do, such as working as a paralegal or applying your degree to a different area of work.

Once you begin training, you will be earning between minimum wage to quite the pretty penny, depending heavily on your practice area.

Myth #6: It Will Make You Rich

Sorry to burst any bubbles, but unless you plan on going into corporate/commercial law it can take quite some time to attain the wages you might be dreaming of. Even then, it requires many hours of hard work to enter that field, between 10 and 12 hours a day for some firms according to Legal Cheek, and not all firms pay equally.

You shouldn’t choose your area simply based on pay, you will need real drive to succeed in any area of law, so a passion for that practice area is key.

Learn more about top corporate law firms with our guide to the Magic Circle here >>

Myth #7: There is No Work-Life Balance

As a student, you will have to dedicate a lot of time to study if you hope to succeed in law, there are a lot of facts to take in. However, future trainee Zhi Ong warns that students don’t know how much free time they have (source: I got this advice personally).

In training, hours can be long, but firms provide great opportunities for relaxation and fun such as trainee socials and sporting events.

Myth #8: You Have to Work for a Firm

Although your training will be done in a firm or equivalent, there are many other avenues for a qualified solicitor such as working as an in-house lawyer in other corporations.

Myth #9: You Have to Work Alone

Your tutors in university want to help you, they want you to do well. Take advantage of any academic advice or service they offer to you, some tutors will even mark example essay answers if you ask.

Firms can put a lot of money into training you, so it is in their best interest for you to succeed and do the best work for the firm in those two years. Show initiative, but a key lesson to learn is to ask questions when you need to. Your supervisor will be there to guide you.

Myth #10: Activities Unrelated to Law Are Not Worth Doing

Any extracurricular activity which showcases your skills and passions is worth putting on your CV. Something a bit different can make you stand out. For example, if you are part of a performing society, have you had to organise a production or manage your own sub team?

Anything which showcases key competencies such as teamwork or leadership will look great on your CV, and help you have fun at university, beside all the studying.

Read More About Becoming a Solicitor:

Author: Sarah Wilkinson

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