Step 3: Planning your legal career

With long recruitment cycles and significant competition for graduate roles, planning is essential to career success.

Step 3 Resource book

There’s more to entering the legal profession than making applications. You also need to plan your way through legal education and ensure you’ve gained the experience sought. Our resource book contains a wealth of information to help you plot as smooth a path as possible.

Step 3 Weblinks

Below is a list of key websites which will help you plan you route thorough to qualification in the legal sector

  • The Bar Council: www.barcouncil.org.uk
    Website of the Bar Council, contains information on training and qualification
  •  BarSas - Bar Student Application Service: https://www.barsas.com/ 
  • The Bar Standards Board: www.barstandardsboard.org.uk
    The Bar Standards Board – the regulatory body for the Bar which also oversees the training, qualification and entry into the profession
  • Central Applications Board: www.lawcabs.ac.uk
    Central applications website for full-time LPC and GDL courses
  • The Law Society: www.lawsociety.org.uk
    The representative body for the solicitors’ profession. Site includes information on the various routes to qualification
  • GOV.UK: www.gov.uk
    Government information site including information on education funding (http://www.gov.uk/browse/education/student-finance)
  • Ucas: www.ucas.com
    The central application website for entry to higher education: includes information for prospective students and advice on qualifications
  • Russell Group: www.russellgroup.ac.uk
    The Russell Group represents 20 leading UK universities and published the ‘Informed Choice’ guide to studying at A-level 

Step 3 Workshop

View our workshop to help you plan for a successful career in law.

You can also read the transcript here.

Step 3 Activities

If you are serious about pursuing a career in law, download our action planning check list to see what you have done, and what you still need to do.

Action planning check list for solicitors 

Action planning check list for barristers 

Step 3 FAQs

Planning your career

How do people finance their postgraduate course?

For the Bar, is it possible to apply for a scholarship from the Inns of Court during the GDL year?

Can I apply for a scholarship at an Inn other than the one at which I’m a member?

Is it possible to study the LPC at the same time as doing a training contract?

 

Is it possible to have the LPC fees paid retrospectively, if I find a training contract while I’m on the LPC?

What do Admissions look for in personal statements in applications to the University?

Does it matter if I don’t have a training contract before starting the LPC?

Will a criminal conviction prevent me from practising? 


Q. How do people finance their postgraduate course?

A. There are various ways of funding the postgraduate law courses and you should explore all that may be appropriate for you. These include:

  • Funding from firms and chambers – with some firms sponsoring students and some chambers allowing students to ‘draw down’ from their pupillage award
  • Scholarships and awards – from the Inns of Court for prospective barristers, but also look at individual educational institutions, etc
  • Self-funding either through savings or loans

See the funding section on The University of Law's main website for further information (www.law.ac.uk/funding/).

Working, while studying part-time, is another approach that makes postgraduate study more affordable.

Back to top


 Q. For the Bar, is it possible to apply for a scholarship from the Inns of Court during the GDL year?

A. Yes, but for full-time GDL students it would be for a BPTC scholarship, because you cannot get a GDL scholarship retrospectively.

Part-time Year 1 GDL students may also apply for GDL scholarship awards. For details of the amount of funds available, and whether it would cover two years’ part-time study or one, you should contact your individual Inn.

Back to top


Q. Can I apply for a scholarship at an Inn other than the one at which I’m a member?

A. No. You do not need to be a member of an Inn in order to apply for a scholarship. However, if you are offered a scholarship by an  Inn, then you are expected to join it. You can only apply to one Inn for a scholarship. 

Back to top


Q. Is it possible to study the LPC at the same time as doing a training contract?

 

A. Yes. The regulations covering training for the solicitor profession changed in July 2014. You should see the SRA’s website (www.sra.org.uk) for the latest information, but it is possible to combine your Period of Recognised Training (the new term for the training contract) with study on the LPC.

Back to top


Q. Is it possible to have the LPC fees paid retrospectively, if I find a training contract while I’m on the LPC?

A. Yes – it is possible, but obviously it will depend on the firm.

Back to top


Q. What do Admissions look for in personal statements in applications to the University?

A. Personal statements are an opportunity to express your motivation for joining the legal profession, as well as showing that you are taking this step as the result of careful thought and research, and are likely to be committed to the course you would be undertaking.

Back to top


Q. Does it matter if I don’t have a training contract before starting the LPC?

A. No: many students start the LPC without having a training contract lined up. A number of students secure training contracts within the first few months (large firms are interviewing in Sept and October) while others will secure training either during their course, or within a few months of leaving the University. Certain types of organisations, for example, high street firms may only recruit a few months before the training contract is due to start. Some students will initially secure paralegal work (or similar) as an immediate next step after the LPC.

Back to top


Q. Will a criminal conviction prevent me from practising?

A. Not necessarily – all decisions are made on a case by case basis. Factors that are taken into account will include the seriousness of the matter, how long ago it happened, and the nature of the offence. For example, the SRA and the Inns will be particularly concerned about anything that calls into your question your integrity or honesty; or which shows financial mismanagement. You should talk to your Inn (if you are proposing to pursue a career as a barrister) or the SRA (if you want to become a solicitor) as soon as possible.

Back to top

 

Step 3 In brief

Our ‘in brief’ guide gives you a quick summary of what you need to be considering when planning your entry into the legal profession.

Practice areas

Information on different areas of the law: what it covers, what it's like in practice, current issues, and further information.

Case studies

University staff pass on their experience of what it's like to work as a lawyer in practice.