Career Change to Law
Are you interested in a career change to law? It might not be as unattainable as you think. Read on to find out more.
Almost 900,000 people in the UK moved from one job to another in the third quarter of 2022. Many of these people were older workers who decided to make a career change. These career changers could potentially make great lawyers. Not only are they more likely to possess the transferable skills necessary to excel in a career in law, but they also have the real-world experience that many younger candidates lack.
We’ll take a look at how changing careers to law could be a step in the right direction for anyone who’s ready to switch things up.
Making a Career Change to Law
We’ve put together some useful advice for anyone looking to make a career change to law.
What Skills Do I Need?
Not everyone is cut out for a career in law. It requires a variety of skills that can take many years to learn and perfect. Therefore, if you already possess some of the following skills, you’re off to a good start:
- excellent written and verbal communication skills
- negotiation skills
- problem-solving skills
- inductive and deductive reasoning skills
- research and analysis skills
- the ability to work well under pressure
- strong drive and work ethic
As you can see, many of these are transferable skills that you’ll have gained throughout your working life to date. The key is knowing how to emphasise them on job applications, CVs and in interviews.
What Qualifications Do I Need?
In order to become a solicitor or a barrister, you’ll need a qualifying degree in law. If you already have a degree in a non-law subject, you can simply retrain with a conversion course, such as a Postgraduate Diploma in Law or a Master of Arts in Law conversion degree.
From here, you’ll need to decide whether you want to go down the solicitor or barrister path.
There are two ways you can qualify to be a solicitor in the UK.
- If you’ve already got a law degree, you can take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) which is the final stage of training to become a qualified solicitor.
- If your degree is in a non-law subject, you’ll need to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) route. This also includes Qualifying Work Experience (QWE).
Becoming a barrister involves three stages of training:
- The academic stage – a law degree
- The vocational stage – Bar Practice Course (BPC)
- The work-based learning stage – pupillage
All of these three stages must first be completed before you can apply to become a barrister.
What Work Experience Do I Need?
On top of skills and qualifications, it’s also important to have relevant work experience under your belt if you want to make a career change to law. As with all work experience, it will help you to gain valuable job-specific experience and insights into how the world of law works.
Although you’ll undertake a work placement as part of your retraining course, there are other ways to build up your work experience to set you apart from the competition. Joining debate or law societies and taking on pro bono work are just a couple of the ways you can boost your experience.
What Areas of Law Could I Work In?
Nowadays, there is a whole host of different areas of law. Therefore, you can choose to pursue a role in the area you’re most passionate about.
Some of the most common areas of law include:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Banking Law
- Corporate Law
- Criminal Law
- Environmental Law
- Family Law
- Human Rights Law
- Sports Law
Finding Career Change Jobs in Law
Once you can demonstrate the twin criteria of good academics and relevant legal work experience, you’re ready to start applying to law firms. Be sure to check out Refreshing a Career’s career change to law jobs board for all the latest job postings in your area.