I want to be a Lawyer but I’m not studying Law

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Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was reported as saying that she misses her acting role in Suits, the hit American legal drama series. If you’ve been following the exploits of corporate lawyer Rachel Zane and have dared to imagine pursuing a career in the same field, making your dreams a reality might not be as far away as you think.

If you’re interested in becoming a lawyer with a global law firm based in England or Wales, you don’t need to be studying law.  You can study any undergraduate degree, such as History or Engineering, and then convert that non-law degree by studying a one-year law conversion course.  Successful completion of the conversion course qualifies graduates for entry onto the legal practice course (LPC), a final period of study developing the practical skills needed to work in a firm of solicitors, before embarking on a two-year training contract with a firm.    Some of the largest commercial law firms recruit future trainee solicitors during their final year of undergraduate study and sponsor them through the law conversion course and the LPC.

In Scotland, to practice as a solicitor, you need to hold a degree in Scots Law (LLB).  For those who have already graduated in another subject, you can complete a conversion course (an accelerated LLB) in two years.  This must be followed by the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice – a further mandatory phase of study prior to becoming a trainee solicitor.

Full details on routes to qualification are available from the Law Societies of Scotland and England & Wales.

Key skills and attributes sought by law firms include intellectual rigour, teamwork and leadership skills, written and verbal communication skills, commercial awareness, ambition and motivation in the field of law.  The latter can be demonstrated by work shadowing and gaining work experience with a legal firm.  Many law firms offer students the chance to attend Insight days and evenings at their offices.

If you’re interested in finding out more about a career in the law, check out the resources at Prospects Law and LawCareers.Net and don’t miss your chance to chat with legal recruiters at the Law Fair, hosted by our Law School, on Tuesday 2nd October at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, 10.30 am – 3.00 pm. Further details here.

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