Studying a law degree can be the first step in your journey to becoming a solicitor or barrister, but it’s not the only path you can choose! If you decide to study law at Northeastern University London, your critical thinking and analytical skills will become invaluable, creating a good foundation for many careers.
Under new regulations, you no longer specifically need a law degree in order to become a solicitor. After getting your undergraduate degree in any subject, you must then undertake the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). The SQE consists of 2 exams, which you can either independently prepare for, or, undertake a provider’s preparation course for (e.g. Barbri, BPP Law School, University of Law). If you do complete a law degree, this is where it would come in handy! SQE 1 checks your functioning knowledge on the law in England and Wales. SQE 2 focuses on examining your practical legal skills, such as advocacy and legal research. The last step in becoming a Solicitor via this route recognised by Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) is having 2 years Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). After these steps have been completed, you will be recognised as a solicitor in England and Wales!
In order to become a qualified barrister, you must undertake three components of training – academic, vocational and a pupillage or work-based learning. Firstly, you need to have a minimum of 2:2 your law undergraduate degree. You then need to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT), which will assess your critical thinking and reasoning skills. This test must be completed before your vocational element. The next step is joining one of the Inns of Court – Gray’s Inn, The Inner Temple, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple – which, from then, you can complete the vocational component. This involves undertaking a Bar course (this comes under a few different names, such as, ‘Bar Practice Course’, ‘Barrister Training Course’, it just depends where you study). Lastly, aspiring barristers must complete a pupillage, supervised by senior barristers in chambers, and is divided into two parts – the ‘non-practising’ (shadowing your supervisor) six months and the ‘practising’ (taking on cases as a junior) six months. Then, you can qualify as a barrister!
Professional Services: the Corporate World
In the ‘City’, being determined and having a strong work ethic are essential qualities, which is precisely why many law students are found to be successful in these alternative career paths. Many law graduates decide to go into investment banking, insurance broking and accountancy. Many Northeastern University London law graduates have gone into a variety of professional services careers, you can have a look here. The application process is hard, and the competition is fierce, but it is definitely worth looking at. If you decide your skills and interests will be best placed still in a corporate, fast-paced environment, just not as a lawyer, there are many great options.
Tax consultants offer advice to various companies or private clients on certain tax problems, helping to provide cost-effective tax solutions. Tax consultants need to analyse ongoing legal changes relating to taxes, which is where your law degree will prove to be useful. Many accountancy firms seek graduates in law, since they are looking for people with results-based approaches, problem solving skills and the ability to negotiate. Moreover, a law degree exempts you from some of the exams tax practitioners sit in order to become a qualified tax consultant. You’re already part way there!
Finally, legal knowledge places you in strong standing to go into multiple different areas of consulting. Consultancy firms advise businesses on their performance, and how to improve, requiring the ability to analyse at a high level. Also, firms seek out those with research skills and the ability to understand different client experiences and engage with the clients. Law graduates are well-suited as throughout your degree, your research skills are developed and you are often required to explain complex concepts in a simple manner, creating the basis for strong client relationships.
Please bear in mind that these are not the only career paths you could take, as the list is non-exhaustive, however these are definitely some great options for you to consider following your law degree.
By Wiktoria Jadzack