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One common misunderstanding among both A Level and undergraduate students is that you have to read law to train as a solicitor or barrister. That simply isnt the case.
Non-law graduates make up quite a large pool of trainee solicitors and pupils. Indeed, the typical split between law and non-law graduates in a law firms trainee intake is around 60 per cent/40 per cent.
So whether youre an economist, linguist or a even a medic its not too late to train as a lawyer. But if you do decide to make the switch youll need to be prepared for an extra year of study as youll need to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). The GDL, often referred to as the law conversion course, essentially squeezes the compulsory subjects covered by the LLB into a year so it can be pretty full on. Following the GDL you will be on the same footing as those students who graduated with a law degree and can then embark on the Legal Practice Course (LPC). Incidentally, larger law firms will make a financial contribution towards the cost of GDL as well as the LPC (see the Lawyer2B.com salary index).
Arguably, the biggest challenge non-law graduates will face when trying to secure a training contract or pupillage is persuading employers that you have a genuine interest in law. Its therefore very important to secure as much relevant work experience as possible including places on vacation schemes mini-pupillages. To cater for this some law firms run Easter and Christmas vacation schemes, which are only open to non-law students and finalists.
For instance, the vast majority of students on Berwin Leighton Paisners (BLP) Easter vacation students were non-law students from all sorts of disciplines including French, Geography and Medicine. If you want to find out how their placements went check out this weeks feature, which contains extracts from their blogs.
So as long as youve got stellar academics and relevant work experience towards your name theres no reason for non-law students to rule out a career in the legal profession.