Pathways to the legal profession

Associate sponsor of the Educate Awards, Paul Crowley & Co, is a leading Liverpool law firm established in 1991.

In this blog, the team at Paul Crowley & Co share their top tips for landing a job in the legal profession.
Study for a degree in Law

As the most traditional route, studying law at university is still the most popular way of entering into a legal career. With fierce competition for places, you’ll need a strong academic record as most universities want students with top grades at GCSE and A Level. Giving yourself this time to really get to grips with the different areas of law is invaluable for your learning and will stand you in good stead for later training.  If you feel most comfortable in an academic environment, this tried and tested route might be the one for you!

Become an Apprentice
University isn’t for everyone, and more and more people are opting to go down the apprenticeship route once they leave college. Choosing to become a legal apprenticeship is an excellent way of learning on the job and gaining practical experience early in your career. You’ll be able to attend court hearings and legal conferences as well as working under established professionals who can offer valuable advice. What’s more, you’ll earn a salary! With tuition fees rising, many people are looking more affordable routes into Law, and becoming this relatively new option of becoming a legal apprentice is an excellent alternative.

Study with a professional association
Another option which offers a route to a law career without the need to go to university is to study with a professional association. Entry is accessible to those with a variety qualifications, and if you do choose to go to university you can continue your studies and qualify as a lawyer this way. The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and the Specialist Property Law Regulator (CLC), to become a licensed conveyancer, are just a couple of excellent associations that offer excellent training and an alternative route into law.

Become a Paralegal
Entering the legal profession isn’t just about becoming a solicitor or a barrister, and there are a lots of other positions needed to keep the industry booming. To become a paralegal, you will need to have excellent knowledge of Law but won’t need to be a qualified lawyer. Essentially, you will work under qualified lawyer in a supportive role and act as a legal assistant. Being a paralegal gives you flexibility as you can start out with a basic legal qualification and gain experience on the job.
Make a career change

If you’re not sure whether you want to go straight into Law, you can always take a conversion course and train at a later date – and in fact many people do! Depending on which subject you choose to university, you may wish to venture into an area of law which complements your previous work experience. Many legal departments will value the fact that you can bring extra experience and knowledge to the table. What’s more, you can take your time and try other career options before converting to Law.

Useful websites
•    National Career Service:  Legal Services
•    Law Society
•    Getsmaart