Law Society starts campaign to scare off wannabe lawyers

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  • I have a TC in the City. I consider myself bright, but I am totally aware that there were a number of other bright, motivated candidates that could have got the TC I ended up with.
    I have, however, met a number of individuals who are clearly disillusioned. And for this, they have only themselves to blame. I have met people from London polytechics averaging a low 2.1 who say they are intending to practise as commercial barristers in the City.
    Surely if they were really serious about the thing, they would have checked out the websites of commercial sets and realised their achievements fall far short of people recruited to such Sets.
    Likewise, at a university (a Redbrick), there seemed to be a trend towards taking the LPC immediately by students who had failed to secure any vacation schemes for two years straight. Bizarre. Get real guys, if you are not smart/commercially savvy enough to recognise the risks of undertaking the LPC in ths climate, I probably wouldn't want you to be advising me on any legal/commercial aspects in the future either.

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  • Law Society's 'let's be honest' campaign.....
    To all students: Unless you manage to wangle a place at an Oxbridge school, don't waste the legal profession's time by applying for a TC.
    Credit to City Gent.

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  • Final comment I promise, but I have to say that I am alarmed by those of the mentality that only Oxbridge students need apply. I think you’ll find your only supporters are indeed flying the flag for nepotism. Anaon | 4-Aug-2009 12:51 pm clearly exemplifies how unfair the system can operate. It is a trite comment but we cannot escape the fact those going to Oxbridge are a fairly homogenous bunch; it says nothing of an individual’s character, circumstances, commercial awareness and so forth.
    Diversity should be encouraged, of course, not so far that we overlook academic excellence. I am certain there eminent lawyers amongst us that cannot claim such privileged beginnings and would look disdainfully upon those who continue to support such anachronistic ideas that only Oxbridge candidates are suitable for a career in the law.

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  • Just to set someone straight here - If you are an ILEX fellow (note - not 'Member'), once you have passed the LPC you will normally be exempt from a training contract. But to reiterate, you must be a fellow for that exemption to apply.
    To quote Lawcareers.net (as it's quicker than typing it out):-
    'In order to qualify as an ILEX fellow you must:
    be 25 years old;
    be a member; and
    have completed five years’ qualifying legal experience, of which two years must have been completed after attaining membership status.
    During the five years you will be building up your client base and becoming a valued fee earner to your legal practice. Many employers pay for training, as a qualified lawyer is of great value to the firm.'
    I was on a part-time LPC with several ILEX fellows, all of which were due to qualifty straight away upon passing. Quite frankly, their 5 years 'qualifying experience' was more than ample in terms of gaining experience, and was probably of more use to the profession as a whole than my training contract ever was.
    So in short, ILEX fellows are normally exempt from TCs. But you have to accumulate some considerable workplace experience before you reach the point where the exemption will apply. ILEX members still need to do the TC and PSC.
    I'm sure 'Anonymous 3-Aug-2009 4:35pm' would have found out the distinction had he or she done his or her homework properly.

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  • Some people need to learn the difference between 'fewer' and 'less'....

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  • I think it must be made clear that the Law Society is not discouraging people to enter the profession. It is saying that people who do, should do so with their eyes fully open. Gone are the days when you could think of law as a safe career option. It is hard work. You can still send that message and promote diversity and access to the profession for all. The Law Society is simply looking to ensure that people don't waste thousands of pounds on a career that they have not fully researched. If people do understand the risks, but are certain that still they really want a career in law, then great.

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  • Truth being told, it looks to me that it doesn't really matter what university you come from.
    For centuries a law degree has been perceived as an essential tool that would have opened the door to all sorts of working ambitions. It is only in recent decades that the real interest of legally qualified students has been to work as lawyers, sorry, solicitors. And, as most of us know, becoming a good lawyer is down to hard work, regardless to what firm you are in (City or Regional), and maybe a bit of luck. A good university degree can help you to have an interview, but it doesn't secure you a position.
    Finally, it is your client that will decide if you are worth it or not, and they normally don't really care what university delivered your certificate, they just care about you resolving their problem. For these reasons I also agree that a system of qualification (US & EU style) and a good competition is the way forward.
    Nothing, I am afraid, the Law Society can do to change that.

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  • Why is this happening in Britain one asks. I am a Brit working as a lawyer in the US. The market over here is way more saturated than in the UK, and many many more lawyers have been laid off. Yet the vast majority of people graduating from law school this year - probably a good 90% of them (at least of those who pass the bar exam) - will qualify as lawyers and be working as lawyers by the end of the year, probably making at least twice the average wage or a fair amount more than what they would have w/out a law degree.
    It's just that - as in the UK - there are not many top paying $160K NQ jobs in big city commercial firms. They'll need to settle for humble starting salaries of $80K at smaller firms or government departments doing smaller scale commercial deals/cases or non-commercial law like crime, family, or insolvency. That's still better than flipping burgers or manning the cash register at Walmart for $8/hr!
    Law still pays as a profession. It seems to me that all of these UK based LLB/LPC grads want to work at big London firms starting on the equivalent of 80,000+ quid/year. They then complain that they sent out 50 CVs and didn't get a response. Well, not likely in this market if all you have is a redbrick 2.1 and some mooting honours. They need to think laterally or be less short term minded. Small firms are crying out for trainees but the grads won't settle for 20-30,000 quid, even though chances of being kept on and made partner earlier are much better than at the big firms, the hours are better, the work more interesting, and yes - lucrative too - esp, after 2PQE.

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  • I must say I have enjoyed reading the various comments about the state of the legal profession in this jurisdiction. As someone who qualified and practiced extensively in another jurisdiction before coming over here, my views are from a different perspective.
    I honestly do not blame the Law Society for it's caveat on a career in law. The legal field is oversubsribed in most jusrisdictions, however in this jurisdiction, it's made even worse by the variosu routes involved. In the jusrisdiction I originally qualified from, there is no confusion as regards who a lawyer is. A lawyer simply is someone who has been called to bar after taking the bar exams.A law degree is a pre-requisite to admission to law school which sets the bar exams, a law degree takes 5 years to complete, law school takes a year. In Engalnd and Wales however, you do not even have to study law to become a lawyer, you could read "david beckham studies" in University, take a conversion course and proceed to other portions of which ever route you pick. Infact the term lawyer can be widely interpreted here, it includes legal executives, licenced conveyancers etc. With a situation like this, it's not surprising that finding legal work is extremely diificult as there are simply too many people in the field.
    In the firm I work work in which I honestly do not consider a real law firm though it's supposed to be a subsidiary of a major law firm, I have a few LPC graduates as colleagues. I actually feel bad for them as the realisation that they may never become Solicitors is hitting them. In that same firm there are many unqualified people, some even in positions of authority who only got the job because they had connections in the firm. The issue of getting jobs in law firms through connections isn's limited to city firms.It is however disheartening to see people appointed as team leaders without knowing basic legal concepts. An assitant team leader did not know what a "tort" is.
    I studied law admiring the brilliance I read in Judgments of English cases, I sincerely hope people with brilliant legal minds and genuine passion for the law find a place in the legal field.

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  • This may sound harsh but students that take the risk of taking on substantial debts to enter a saturated profession can only blame themselves.
    I have no sympathy for them and they should take responsiblity for their own naivety and stop looking for some one else to blame. If a law student is not capable of understanding the extent of the risk he/she is taking, then that individual is not suited to be advising clients on business affairs or any other aspect of law.
    The only benefit to some students is that they may learn a significant lesson and would be unlikely to repeat the mistake in the future.
    My advice to those that are in substantial debt without a a TC would be to declare yourselves bankrupt and get rid of your debts.
    After that, they can start over and pick a less risky career. Ideally young people should look to move into what is in demand.

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