What Should You Know About a Career in Law After Your GCSEs?
At GCSE level, you don’t need to know anything for certain about your career but it’s a good idea to consider some of the following key questions. We have lots of material to help you out with these!
1. Do I want to study law or do a conversion?
One of the first big decisions you need to make is whether you would like to study law at university or if there’s a subject you would prefer to gain a degree in first. Law firms don’t have a preference when it comes to recruiting so it really is down to you. By studying something other than law, you add one year onto the time it takes to qualify through taking a law conversion course. Most legal recruiters advise that if you have a strong passion for another subject, you should study it, then convert. That could be English, history, MFL or even a STEM subject. As long as you hold an undergraduate degree you will be able to complete the conversion course.
It is good to consider this question now as it will help you to plan the work experience necessary to submitting law firm and chambers applications. If you do choose to study something else, you may need to complete more work experience to really prove that you do want to practice law.
Some universities require applicants to sit the LNAT. This is an online test you can sit in your UCAS application cycle. Practice definitely helps with the LNAT so if you do need to take it, it’s best to find out early in sixth-form so you can begin preparation.
Currently, nine universities require the test – both from domestic and international students, but its likely that others may also use it as part of their admissions process.
3. Do I want to become a barrister or a solicitor?
Another question to consider is whether you would like to become a barrister or a solicitor. Again, although its not necessary to have a concrete response, having a good idea will enable you to start tailoring your experiences, making for more effective applications later down the line.
4. How can I show that I would like to become a barrister or a solicitor?
If you have decided that you would like to become a barrister, then you need to find ways to show you’ve conducted further research on this. Maybe you’ve undertaken some work experience or entered a chambers essay writing competition.
If you would rather go down the solicitor route, maybe you have shadowed a commercial lawyer or attended commercial awareness session. These will help you to write your personal statement during sixth-form as well as having the dual benefit of strengthening future applications.
5. Do I have enough work experience?
Work experience is a really important part of your future applications and can also help with your personal statement. It can be difficult to get work experience so read our guides on how best you can ascertain as much as possible.
6. What should I read to help me prove I would like to study law?
Reading law-related books can help you to both understand if you would like to study law, as well as to help write your personal statement. Textbooks such as those used for a law A-level as well those listed below can aid you with both.
7. What Areas of the law Am I Interested in?
Law is broad. There are many different areas of practice. You should be beginning to consider which areas you might like to go into. Read our guide and complete as much work experience as possible to find out more about the different practice areas