Hands up, who did a law degree?

Here is an interesting statistic for you: the number of people making a change of career mid-stream is on the up. In 2009, 14 per cent of students enrolled on the graduate diploma in law conversion course at the University of Law were career changers. Three years on and this figure has risen to 20 per cent.

We spoke to four ‘career changers’ over the summer, including former Blur drummer David Rowntree who is now a solicitor with Kingsley Napley and former A&E nurse Jennifer Bethlehem who is currently working at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, to find out how they got on after choosing law as a second career.

Little did we know what a hornet’s nest we had wandered into. TheLawyer.com has been flooded with comments, some of you are outraged that you can become a lawyer without first doing a law degree.

One commentator opined: “Lawyers seem to be allowing for the destruction of their own profession by allowing any old person to come along and proclaim, indeed be, a lawyer.” Another suggests career changers must be interested in the law itself rather than “money, prestige and ego”, if they are going to be successful.

We’ve also heard from mothers who have taken career breaks before converting to law at a mature age and encountered no difficulty in making the change or indeed landing a job.

We have a shrinking profession attempting to be more diverse in its makeup. Is the biggest hurdle to diversification lawyers themselves? Let us know what you think.

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