Law has long been one of the most competitive subjects to studying at university, ranking alongside other prestigious career paths such as medicine and engineering, and this seems unlikely to change any time soon. The number of employed barristers rises slowly but steadily year by year, so it certainly isn’t becoming any less competitive.
If you are hoping to read Law at university yourself, be aware that its high prestigiousness means you’ll need to be a candidate of the highest calibre – most years see at least 25% of pupil barristers having a first class degree, with first and upper second combining to typically total around the 80% mark.
You will need to come out with a 2:2 as a bare minimum: don’t bother studying Law at university if you’re not going to actually study!
Why Study Law?
Put simply, Law is one of the most prestigious and rewarding career paths to follow. It is rewarding not only personally but also financially; as one of the best paid professions in the world, it is difficult not to take seriously. Lawyers, barristers and solicitors are continuously portrayed in the media and usually put on a pedestal – it is no wonder why it continues to be a “dream job” for many!
If you do choose Law at university, you will probably be surprised at just how much it covers: from business, human rights, environmental issues and international relations, the legal profession touches just about every part of life.
What to Expect
Normally, you’ll start your Law course by spending the first year studying a wide range of topics, the ones lifted above being only a cross-section. After this, you will be able to choose exactly what you want to specialise in, from corporate to family law. You may even be able to specialise in a particular area – for example, if you’re interested in international affairs you might want to study EU Law.
As for what the course might entail, you should expect to practise all the manners which may be useful to a career in law, such as your written skills (for drafting legal documents), your interpersonal skills (for advocacy and interviewing clients), your casework skills (for legal research and case preparation) and of course your knowledge of the law and legal system. Don’t expect it to be easy!
Most people, quite naturally, go on to pursue law as a career path once they’ve finished studying it. However, you will probably have to do further study before that becomes an option. To become a solicitor, you’ll have to take the one-year LPC (Legal Practice Course) followed by a two-year placement. Similarly, to be able to call yourself a barrister, a one-year BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course) is in order, and then another as a pupil in barristers’ chambers.
There are a number of other career options open to you as well; don’t think you have to go into law proper. Reading Law at university can be useful for professions in politics, journalism and business, among others. If these interest you, try clicking here for more advice on employment.
Although an undergraduate Law course will train you to be fully prepared for the next step, they are not essential to pursuing law as a career path. If you have any other undergraduate degree, you should be able to undertake a one-year conversion course known as the Graduate Diploma in Law to open those all-important doors.
Whatever you choose to do – good luck!