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A guide to forging a career as a solicitor

UK-based guest blogger Sam Gatt shares his thought on pursuing a career in law as a solicitor (in U.S. terms …  a lawyer!)

law courtsIf you are based in the United Kingdom, and becoming an astronaut is something that is a little too “out of this world” for you, then you might want to come back down to Earth and consider a career as a solicitor instead.

Whilst these two occupations are seemingly as different as can be, they actually have a number of similarities.

For example, you have to do years of training and pass many exams to be fully qualified in both jobs, and both of these jobs are quite high-level and are aimed at people who are willing to put the time and the work in to achieve a successful end result.

You probably won’t ever get the chance to fly into space if you become a solicitor (well, not unless you’re aboard a Virgin Galactic flight perhaps), but you will certainly have the skill and experience to help people get justice through the legal system! Here is a guide to forging a career as a solicitor.

Why become a solicitor?

OK, so you might have an interest in the legal system but you might be wondering why you should consider becoming a solicitor. Here are a few reasons:

  • Earning potential – whilst it is true that the starting salary of a trainee solicitor can be anything from minimum wage to around £16k a year, fully-qualified solicitors can expect to earn between £25,000 and £70,000 a year working for firms such as Poole Solicitors, whilst partners in law firms could earn a minimum of £100,000 a year;
  • Impressive job title – you can be proud of the fact that you have a prestigious job title, and people will hold you in high regard as you work in such a professional industry;
  • You get to help people – millions of people around the world need the assistance of solicitors to help them fight any legal problems through the courts, and you will be the person that can help many people by helping them fight their cases on their behalf;
  • You get to use your brain – some jobs like data entry clerks are really boring and monotonous as you would often have to type the same sorts of things into a computer on a daily basis. Solicitors, on the other have, are often involved in interesting and diverse cases which requires them to use their intellect in order to seek out the truth.

How do I become a solicitor?

In the United Kingdom, there are three paths that you can take to become a solicitor. The first involves completing a law degree and then a Legal Practice Course and the second involves completing a non-law degree and taking a law diploma

The third involves becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives – although you have to be working in the legal profession in order to be considered.

For those considering the law degree path, you will need to have a foundation course such as criminal and contract law, or property law as part of your degree.

You will also need to have five GCSEs between grades A and C, and three A-levels. The Law Society website will provide further information on the specifics of each path.

Moving to the UK from the United States?

For those of you considering a move to the UK from the USA, and you are already a successful lawyer in the state you currently reside in, it might be worth your while speaking with The Law Society in the UK to determine what is involved in getting a job as a solicitor in Britain.

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