If you are graduating this summer, but have not yet been able to secure the path that you would like to take – whether that is legal experience, a vacation scheme or a training contract – there are various steps that you can take to further your career. This blog post explains how you can stay on track post-graduation if your aim is to become a solicitor.
The jump from studying (or academia) to working can be harder than expected. There is a clear and rigid course set out during school and university, which means that once you graduate and begin searching for jobs, the transition can be tough – especially in an area as competitive as law.
One of the difficult things about law – especially if you have graduated as a non-law student – is that the set route to becoming a solicitor is often expensive and lengthy. However, there are a number of options that you can take, and they are all well worth considering.
Seek paralegal work
Finding a job as a paralegal is harder if you are a non-law student, but if you have just graduated with a law degree, it is worth trying to get one. Paralegaling can provide the hands-on legal knowledge that you need and give you plenty to talk about in training contract interviews.
If you are a non-law student, consider finding other work in a legal environment – even if it is less obviously linked to law. It is important to gain an awareness of the implications of lawyers’ work, as well as the legal systems that surround their decisions.
Combine studying and working
Once you have graduated, it can be hard to balance further legal study (whether that is the GDL, a master’s or the LPC) with your finances. Some courses offer part-time or evening study options, meaning that you can balance working towards your legal career with another job. There are also accelerated versions of these courses, giving you the possibility to spend time working and saving before starting your course. It is always a good idea to sit down and consider all your options once you have graduated so that you can decide the best path for you.
Embrace the opportunity to work in another business or industry
If there is another industry that you are particularly keen to work in or if you have an idea of which practice area you would like to qualify into as a solicitor, it can be helpful to get some experience as an employee of a business in this area. For example, if your heart is set on becoming a personal injury lawyer, getting some experience in a medical setting could help you to understand the terminology required for a future career as a lawyer in that sector.
By taking a sector-focused approach to your legal studies, you might be able to justify with more clarity why you are drawn to a particular firm and its sector expertise when it comes to training contract interviews.