The value of a law degree
28 August 2014
As I was reading a headline in a recent Times2 article ‘A
Law Degree: is it a waste of money?’ I thought how disheartening it must be for
current students contemplating embarking on a law degree. How much simpler it
was for me, a number of years ago, when I chose to read law for the thrill of
doing something new and learning about the world, life and commerce whilst also
gaining new employment skills for my career.
But what are the facts behind this discouragement? Yes
there has certainly been a challenging time during the recent recession which
has made jobs in the legal profession harder to get. Law is always going to be competitive
and demands high levels of commitment and motivation. Nevertheless examine the
facts and figures before giving up on your dream career!
A law degree is a great qualification to obtain
employment – law graduates have the 6th highest employment rate -
and bear in mind up to 60% of all law graduates chose to use their law degree
to gain jobs other than in the legal profession. So a law degree itself is attractive
to a whole range of employers outside the professional legal employers.
Students worry less about reading English or History which have worse
employability rates and no one writes headlines about these degrees being a
waste of money!
But what if you aspire to qualifying as a solicitor? Prospects
are definitely improving. Latest Law Society figures show that training contracts
have risen by 6% this year taking the number to 5,302. Compare this to the
SRA’s figures for the number who sat the LPC and you find that there is a ratio
of less than 1 to 3 students per training contract. These are only bald figures
but the odds don’t seem that discouraging to me!
Solicitors will have challenging jobs and the first
challenge is getting that vital training contract, so approach it the right
way. Use careers services in school, university and at legal training providers.
There are a whole range of skills and employability sessions on offer from training
providers as well as from university careers services and Law Societies so make
sure you use them! And don’t forget to take a look at the award-winning
employability advice featured on the Future Lawyers Network: http://www.law.ac.uk/employability/
It’s also worth checking training providers out carefully and look at their
employability stats. For example, 98% of The University of Law’s full-time LPC
students who graduated in summer 2013 had secured employment within nine months
My advice would be to start getting legal work experience
as soon as possible and take great care over any job application. Don’t put it
off - start today!
*Based on known destinations
Imogen Burton, Director
of Business Development, The University of Law
a Business Development Director at the University of Law. This involves working
nationally with Corporate and Commercial law firms and working closely with
Universities, Sixth Form Colleges and Schools, designing and implementing a
number of skills and employability programmes and events for undergraduate
students studying both law and non-law subjects.
Imogen qualified as a Solicitor
and specialised in Real Estate work in the City. During her time at
the University she has designed and taught courses for the post graduate
programmes , written resource books, been Course Director and also was Centre
Director in Guildford before moving to her current role.