The first article in the "dream job" series looks at how to become a solicitor.
This is a career that is seen as desirable and can present a real vocational challenge. The work of a solicitor is exciting and diverse, with plenty of opportunity to specialise, whatever your talents and interests there is something for you, from Criminal to Probate, IP to Family.
However, entering this career does require hard work and a considerable investment of both time and money. Therefore, if you are considering becoming a solicitor, you should make sure that you talk to people working within this field. This way, you will have a real understanding of what to expect from this career.
What Is A Solicitor's Job role?
The job of a solicitor is to provide legal advice and support to clients. This includes advising on necessary courses of legal action.
Qualified solicitors can work in local or central government, a private practice, commercial organisations or in the court service.
What Skills Does A Solicitor Need?
Here are some skills we think are necessary to become a solicitor:
- Excellent communication and negotiation skills (Take a look at our online course in Effective Communication)
- Non-judgmental approach
- Problem-solving approach
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- Organisational skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Leadership abilities (Take a look at out Team Leading Course)
Entry To Becoming A Solicitor
There are a number of routes into this career, and the most straightforward options at each stage are as follows.
Academic stage: In England and Wales this involves completing a qualifying law degree (QLD).
Vocational stage: Students who have gained a QLD are able to then move on to a Legal Practice Course (LPC). This would usually be completed full time over one year.
Training stage: This involves a period of recognised training working as a trainee solicitor. This allows you to put your skills and knowledge into practice.
What Are The Main Duties Of A Solicitor?
These will depend on the setting in which you work, but they may include the following.
- Advising clients about legal matters
- Representing clients in court
- Preparing paperwork for court
- Providing instructions to barristers or advocates
- Compiling letters, contracts and legal documents
- Carrying out research
The work of a solicitor is mainly office based. However, there will also be occasions when you need to travel to meet clients and travel to be present in court.
What Is The Average Salary Of A Solicitor?
Qualified solicitors can except to earn anything from £25,000 to £75,000, depending on experience and area of specialism. It is possible for partners in large firms or heads of in-house legal departments to earn in excess of £100,000.
Challenges A Solicitor May Face
As with any high-profile career, you will face challenges along the way. First of all, it is important to be aware that this is a very competitive industry, which can mean that finding a job is not always straightforward. To stand out you will need to achieve academic excellence and also build good contacts and work experience.
You will also need to be mindful that pursuing this career will most likely leave you in debt due to the cost of the various steps required. This is also a profession that asks a lot of its members; including the need to work long and often unsociable hours. However, becoming a solicitor will certainly provide you with a career that offers exciting opportunities and rewards.
If you do have an interest in this a career option but need to gain some additional qualifications, you may wish to study Oxbridge's A-Level Law distance learning course. This is a fast-track course that could provide what you need to look at progressing within this field it will also provide you with a good idea as to whether you wish to progress in this line of career. Go on, what are you waiting for?