Careers in Government and Law - Solicitor, Barrister, Judge
So you fancy a high flying law career? You have ambition, determination and drive? You are articulate, logical and enjoy debate. But what roles are out there for you?
Solicitors give legal advice and also act on behalf of their clients in legal matters as needed. Clients can include members of the public, businesses, voluntary bodies, charities and government departments.
To gain a position as a trainee solicitor you will need good A-levels, and then a law degree as listed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, or a degree in any subject followed by a one-year full-time course leading to the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), or the Common Professional Examination (CPE). You will then take the Legal Practice Course (LPC), followed by a two-year training contract with a firm of solicitors or an 'in-house' legal department. Gaining a training contract is very competitive, and you will probably apply to a number of Law firms to gain a place. Working as a paralegal while you are applying for your training contract may be helpful, and any vacation placements in law firms will be beneficial.
It’s an expensive business, training as a solicitor. For information about funding and sponsorship, visit the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society.
Barristers give specialist legal advice and represent individuals or organisations in court. Barristers tend to specialise in an area of law and are independent, objective sources of legal advice who will tell a client about the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
As with Solicitors, to become a Barrister you will need an approved law degree or a GDL/CPE conversion course after an undergraduate degree. In contrast to becoming a solicitor, you will need to become a member of one of the Inns of Court and complete the Bar Vocational Course (BVC).
Judges preside over law courts and make judgments based on the evidence presented. Most judges are qualified solicitors or barristers who have progressed in their career over many years and gained much experience and insight into the legal system. It is an incredibly competitive area, and only the best succeed. The financial rewards are substantial with high salaries, but also the knowledge that you are performing a worthy role in society is very gratifying.
Visit the Newcastle Law School to learn more.
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