There are no specific A Levels that you need for a career in Law, however traditional academic subjects such as history, English and the sciences will challenge you academically and stretch your research and analytical skills which will be useful for your future. Subjects such as philosophy can also help you extend your critical thinking and debating skills, which is essential for a career as a practising lawyer. What is a lawyer uk.
You can also opt to study A Level Law, despite the long-term myth that selective universities do not recommend it. You will need to gain a high grade at the end of your studies to demonstrate your commitment and interest in the subject in order to be accepted onto a Law degree. Russell Group universities in the UK have now offered new advice to help you choose your selection of A Levels for a law degree.
Russel Group universities offering new advice
Do I have to study for a law degree?
You can become a lawyer without a law degree. Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you will need to complete a 1-year law conversion course known as a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which is mainly exams-based. The GDL and SQE will put you on an equal platform with those who studied a law degree and you will not be at a disadvantage to apply for training contracts.
Also, the skills and wider experiences you would have gained from your degree in a different subject can be beneficial, hence it is important to engage yourself in wider reading, research, and student development opportunities such as unions, debate clubs, and other useful societies.
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What alternative routes are there for pursuing Law?
Law apprenticeships do exist. There are many firms that offer opportunities for you to gain hands-on experience with real-life cases and a good route for those of you who like to learn through practical work.
Solicitor Apprenticeship Guide: The Lawyer Portal
What companies offer apprenticeships?
You can apply for apprenticeships at some of these law firms.
How long does it take to become a lawyer?
Generally, it takes 5–6 years to qualify as a solicitor. This includes a 3 year degree in law, the GDL or SQE and 2 years of qualifying legal work placements and training. If you decide to study a non-law degree, this could take longer.
Becoming a barrister takes 5 years. This includes a 3-year degree in law and 1-year Bar course, a vocational training course for trainee barristers, and covers compulsary subjects such as civil and cirminal litigation, resolution of disputes in court, conference skills and professional ethics amongst a few. In addition to this you will also need to complete a 1-year pupillage in chambers, an on-the-job training programme. Again, if you decide to study a non-law degree, this could take longer with your law conversion course.
What other roles are there within the legal sector?
There are many legal roles you can pursue including paralegal work, whereby you are not a qualified lawyer, but will receive training to carry out tasks such as legal research, drafting contracts, file documents at court, and take witness statements amongst a few.
You may wish to work in court chambers and become a barristers’ clerk, whereby you are responsible for tasks such as discussing with a client the most appropriate barrister to take cases, planning the timetable of a case and negotiating fees to be charged with the solicitor who is taking on a case.
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