Step 1 Resource book
Our resource book contains comprehensive advice and guidance to help you understand the legal market and your potential place in it.
This Step provides an overview of the legal profession, looking at the different areas of practice, what solicitors and barristers do and what type of lawyer you want to be.
Below is a list of key websites which will help you understand the legal market
If you are thinking of pursuing a career in the legal profession, you need to understand the legal market. Watch our online workshop for a thorough overview of this Step.
You can also read the transcript here.
A. No: many students join The University of Law with no particular sector or practice area yet in mind.
However, if you think you may want to apply to large, corporate/commercial, City and regional firms you should be aware that they recruit 2 years ahead, with deadlines usually in July. If you think it’s possible that you might be interested in this kind of firm, we advise you to make applications in order not to miss the boat and have to wait another year to apply: often the very process of making the applications (researching the firms, considering the types of clients, skills sets required and so on) focuses your mind and helps you decide whether or not this is the area for you.
The reason we encourage you to decide on the type of firms you’re interested in as soon as possible is so that you can build up your CV in areas that are most likely to impress your future employer, thereby giving you the greatest chance of success.
These early decisions are difficult: it is why we have devoted the first 5 steps of the Step programme to them. Start by working through the steps and see if you can begin to build a focus: the kind of client you want to work with, size or location of the sort of firm you’d like to work in, what sort of things motivate you? If you come to The University of Law (or indeed if you go to another provider), careers professionals will be able to help you to fine tune your thinking.
A. Around a quarter of all training contracts are with the big City firms in London; and over half of all vacancies are concentrated in London and the South East.
Most training contract opportunities (over 90%) are to be found in private practice (ie law firms)
Have a look at The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook (www.lawcareers.net), and the student guides such as www.chambersandpartners.com which give you a breakdown of the training contract market each year.
Further statistical information is available from the Law Society (www.lawsociety.org.uk)
A. Look at the Bar Standards Board website www.barstandardsboard.org.uk for latest statistics and further information.
A. Yes, there are certain terms you’ll need to get to grips with.
The main terms for now however are probably ‘BPTC’ (the Bar Professional Training Course), and ‘pupillage’ (the period of work based experience you need after your course, before you can be a practising barrister).
Pupillages are broken down into a ‘first six’ and a ‘second six’. In the first six (ie the first 6 months of your pupillage) you are ‘non-practising’ and will assist your pupil supervisor; it is not until the second six that you are let loose on your own cases (under supervision) and can accept instructions with the approval of your supervisor or head of chambers.
After completing the first and second six and qualifying, it is possible to undertake a third six: sometimes barristers continue working at the same chambers while they wait for a tenancy opportunity to arise or they may switch to another set for a third six, in order to gain experience of a new area of law.
There are a whole host of other terms associated with the Bar: for instance, ‘squatters’ is the name given to those who work from a set of chambers (usually the one in which they did their pupillage), taking on work from the clerks, even though they are not a member of chambers. Squatters are responsible for themselves and are not supervised as, for instance, a pupil undertaking a third six would be. Squatting usually occurs when a barrister is waiting for, or trying to secure, tenancy.
Another term is ‘deviling’ which means doing paperwork for other members of chambers to use as their own.
Look at the Bar Standards Board website mentioned above for further enlightenment!
A. As a first port of call, if you haven’t already done so, join our ‘Future Lawyers Network,’ which aims to keep all those interested in entering the profession up to date with news, webinars, updates and so on.
Look at the Weblinks for Step 1 for a range of useful websites and links to the legal press, for example, Lawyer2B at www.lawyer2b.com is a very useful publication aimed at the student market.