16 October 2023

How to Break into the Legal Industry

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Thinking of choosing law as a career?

A career in law is not for the faint hearted. However, aside from the gruelling studying schedule and endless exams, it offers many people a prosperous and rewarding career, which often spans across a lifetime.

Studying law can open a wide range of doors. So, if you’re thinking about what your future might look like and deciding which path you would like to head down, it’s worth giving it a serious thought.

Here are a few of our top tips on how to take the leap.

What qualifications do you need to practice law?

To practise law you must have a qualifying law degree or have taken a law conversion course.

Bear in mind that England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland each have their own separate legal systems, so different training may be required depending on when you’re based.

There is the traditional route of studying for your Bachelor of Laws (LLB), or you can opt to study for the CILEx Professional Diploma in Law and Practice. This can be studied online alongside your current job, whether this is in law or not.

We spoke to Saxan Lisle-Fenwick, a Chartered Legal Executive working at Shoosmiths Serious Injury (a trading name of Shoosmiths LLP), who told us that this particular route was ideal for her as she was already working in the private client sector.

Studying alongside her job allowed her to choose subjects that reflected the area of law that she was already working in.

Do you need to get work experience?

Practical work experience is paramount when considering law as a career. As with any career, first-hand experience is key to getting ahead of other candidates.

Sarah Cunliffe, an Associate Solicitor from Shoosmiths Serious Injury, told us that: “Work experience is extremely important. It gives you invaluable experience and can set you aside from the competition. It also can help you decide what area of law you want to focus upon.”

What are the key skills you need to get into law?

As with any job, there are certain key skills that will not only help you when you start out, but as you progress up the career ladder too.

Having an analytical approach and impeccable attention to detail are right up there at the top of the list. Being able to spot important pieces of information in documents and case files is paramount to the job.

Organisation and communication

It also helps to have excellent organisation and communication skills, along with a sympathetic ear in some areas of law. This is especially key if your field of expertise is dealing with serious injury and medical negligence claims, where emotions may run high.

As with any career, hard work, dedication and drive will get you to where you want to be within the practice of law.