Alongside becoming a doctor, pursuing a career in law may seem like one of the most difficult job areas to get into. It certainly takes passion, dedication and a few credentials. However, it isn’t the impossible hurdle race that everyone makes it out to be. You can start a career in law at any time of your life at any age. Whether you want to be a solicitor or court judge, here the initial steps that you must take.
Whilst you can wriggle your way into most jobs without a GCSE under your belt, a job in law more often than not requires you to have some form of education. The most common route is to go to a law school or take university course in law. In many cases, you’ll need to take an admissions test first. America’s most recognised admission test is the LSATS (for which, you’ll have to take an LSAT prep course). For budding barristers, taking this route may be essential.
However, other solicitor firms may not be so strict. In fact there’s evidence to support that a lot of employers would be quite happy to take on someone with any degree behind them, whether it be History or Maths, so long as they can show a passion for law.
More essential than education is work experience. Work shadowing and voluntary work are the easiest routes into this. Organisations such as The Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to help you out. You may also want to book a guided tour of the courtroom. This will help you understand the courtroom environment more and give you a clearer vision of whether it is somewhere you’d feel comfortable working.
Once you’ve completed education, you may want to take on a role such as paralegal or legal researcher. Universities and government bodies are always on the lookout for someone who can advise them on law related areas. For courtroom experience, pursuing a career as a clerk might be worthwhile. Clerks attend court proceedings in place of solicitors and help record the actions of the court. Here you can watch and understand the inner workings of the courtroom without having to get directly involved, a great stepping stone to then becoming a lawyer or magistrate.
This should go without saying, but at all times whilst pursuing a career in law, you should be passionate about what you do. This means constantly reading up on new legal matters, not just to keep on top of the fast-paced legal system, not just because you need to research something for a case study, but because you’re genuinely curious and eager to learn more. Law is a career that comes with a lot of homework – you don’t want to be tearing your hair out late at night over something that’s nothing but a chore. Don’t be put off by the wide scope you cover during education – after you leave you will be able to specialise in an area that you feel most comfortable.