Law Society starts campaign to scare off wannabe lawyers

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  • I don't want to be harsh, but PLEASE do a little research before forking out for the LPC. The legal profession is oversubscribed, which means downward pressure on salaries. Check out solicitors' average earnings: not much higher than those of a police officer or a nurse, despite the extra study and long hours. Britain needs engineers and scientists, not more default-option lawyers.

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  • Just take the New York bar and then qualify as a UK solicitor via the QLTT - shimples!

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  • I am shocked and saddened by some of the views I have read about this topic. Contrary to what some of the observers seem to think, you do not have to have been public school, oxbridge, select university etc educated or come from a priviledge background in order to aspire to be a lawyer or even be a good lawyer.

    From my experience what you need to be a good/successful lawyer is interest in the law, the will to work hard and determination to succeed - regardless of your family and or ethnic background you will achieve your aims in life if you prepared to work for it.

    I came to UK in 1983 from Nigeria with 3 pounds in my pocket without any qualifications. Today I am US and UK dual qualified. I studied law (2:2) at a new uni and I speak English as a second language. I have heard the sort of views expressed on this and related topics so many times - you speak with foreign assent, you dont speak proper english, you have not been to Russell Group, select etc uni, you studied at a new uni, and how can I forget, you are black, you have too much against you, no one will touch you. Its all nonsence. If you are determined you will get through.

    I admit getting into the law is extremely competitive and difficult because legal education cost so much.

    I agree with the first commentator, that the law society should consider abolishing the LPC and Training Contract, including the GDL. Let every one who wants be a lawyer get a law degree and let everyone sit the same Bar Exam set by the law society. The institutions that provides the LPC etc now do not have to loose out. They can provide tuition for the Bar Exam but all candidates will sit the same Bar Exam.

    The Law Society should also condsider abolishing the 3 year PQE rule prior to setting up on your own.

    The problem here is not only to do with the costs of legal education and limited opportunities. The issue is that there are far too many restrictions and obstacles one must overcome prior to becoming a fully qualified lawyer and then setting up on your own- namely LPC, TC and the 3 yr rule The Law Society should be bold enough to consider whether the long and cumbersome process is still required.

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  • I'm a General Counsel and I have had a CV sent from a recruitment consultant with an applicant desperately seeking to go in house with excellent academics from Eton and Oxford having also spent four years in a 'magic circle' firm. I would seriously reconsider a career in Law the whole market has changed. If you are smart you will pick a subject at degree level that you genuinely enjoy and if at the end of it if you seriously want to pursue a legal career persuade a law firm and get them to pay for the courses. Otherwise you can carry on along the path that you chose in the first place. Most law firms and recruiters look favorably upon first degrees other than law.

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  • Maybe if she hadn't gone to South West Polytechnic she'd have gotten a job...

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  • About time. This has been going on for years with the result that Conveyancing bucket shops have been a sort of purgatory for Trainee Lawyers awaiting Training Contracts. The Law Society has finally awakened to the problem because bucket shops are not taking staff on and the numbers of semi qualified Lawyers out of work is growing along with the numbers of Qualified redundant Lawyers,
    To those who bleat on about the profession being elitist, I do not know how that works. You can do a Law Degree at any University, then you go into debt while you complete the Law Society finals, and then get a Training Contract and quaify earning millions of pounds a year if you believe the press.
    All Lawyers are "Fat Cats". That is the myth that has been peddled for years and students from poorer backgrounds have been encouraged by teachers and parents to follow that mythical dream only to find themselves still poor and heavily in debt.
    If elitism means that the poor are discouraged from becoming poorer and the only people who lose money are the wealthy, the elitism gets my vote.

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  • I have very mixed feelings about this argument, as i agree with all of you to a certain extent..
    Firstly, these so called ' non select Universities..not good enough for City Law firms, AKA..Keele and Nottingham Trent, do have very bright students, who for very good enough reasons, never got a chance to attend Cambridge and Oxford, and may i remind the adamant commentor, that the problem starts from the bottom, while people are in primary schools, as you cant attend certian secondary schools if you went to certain primary schools and it goes on to the top.. hence graduates from Keele..bla bla..
    As for the Law society's big plan, its a plan ..yes..but the wrong plan.. i think its so easy to get into the LPC, with so many providers and very little checks/competition.. of course the profession is saturated... we are being sieved at the wrong stage.. and may i add at the stage after we have coughed up thousands of pounds to these organisations...
    Its a shame i guess that for some of us who are genuinely bright and hard working, and can almost certainly make something of this proffession by adding onto it, will never get a fair chance...
    U guys think u have it hard, try comming from Africa, studying at some university regarded as not good enough, being judged by the look of your name...its not fair at all..and knowing you are just as good as any of those being selected for training contracts.. or even better..as you have studied with them at Law school....that sucks...
    All the best to all of you looking for TC.. we will get there..somehow.. someday

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  • I have retired from practice after 25 years having been able to afford to give up full time work at 53. If you work hard and are persistent you can over come all of this negative bunkum. It was just the same in 1978/79 there were no articles unless you had family connections and even then you might have to wait months until the next vacancy came up. If you want to do it you can achieve anything so less of the excuses about student debt, the credit crunch and I dont have have any connections just believe in yourself and be persistent. Some of you out there think that the law owes you a living, it does not!!

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  • Writing as managing partner of a seven fee-earner practice I'm afraid I see short-sightedness on both sides of the interview desk. Even in a recession (and our turnover is down like so many others) a fantastic candidate is worth seeing.
    We recently took on two people who "sold" themselves to us with their common sense and affability when we weren't expecting to offer posts. One was a litigator who had been ill for years and out of the profession. His charming, and properly punctuated letter got him a chat with us and a part-time post. The other was a newly-qualified lady whose excellent CV and letter again got her a chat with us and an offer of a part-time post.
    Both are on part-time consultancy agreements with us. We provide training, pay the praticising fees etc and while neither has sufficient work yet to justify us offering a full time paid service contract, they can further their careers, are out of the pool of unemployment, are helping to market the firm and themselves and in return we get two great individuals at manageable cost given the economic situation.

    So partners should be looking at the great recruitment opportunities this time presents, especially given the fact they don't need to pay expensive (and often useless)recruitment consultants to get people right now.

    And let's be realistic on the other side. Your candidate letter and CV are your one opening shot at getting a position. If you write "University's" when you should have written "universities" or use "who" when you should have written "whom" or have a 2:2 at degree level which isn't counterbalanced by a distinction in the LPC, then I'm just not going to see you. I can train someone as a lawyer, but I want to know the candidate has excellent language and written skills and common sense. If you can't even punctuate properly, or you write me a covering letter on lined paper (yes I've had them on sheets torn from an A4 pad) or you offer to see me at your (rather than my) convenience, then your missive will go straight into the shredder.

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  • I attended the College of Law in 1996 and even then there were many people (including me) who had not secured training contracts and had funded the course themselves. I went to the University of London (not a former poly), attained a 2:1 joint honours (which included law), went to a grammar school prior to that; yet that was not enough to secure a training contract with a well known firm. At one point, I actually considered other options outside the law, even getting offered a post with HM Revenue and Customs as a Customs Officer. However, I used my contacts and initiative and first obtained temporary employment working at a County Court. I then worked as a volunteer for a local law centre and the citizen's advice bureau. It was this experience which gave me the edge over other applicants for TC's and in the end I secured a TC with a 3-office 10 partner firm outside London. I had to wait and wait but when the time was right, the offer came.

    I could have given up and nearly did. I'm afraid there is much to be said for "being in the right place at the right time" and using your contacts. Even now, I use my contacts to get other work. Sadly, it sometimes does come down to who you know; but there are always ways of getting to know the right people.

    I have always been realistic with my expectations. I was never going to get in with a City firm; mainly because I had not attended a select university and select school. And I must add here that on the LPC , I met Oxbridge graduates who, if asked to write a simple letter to a client, weren't able to. One student never even used to bother turning up on time to LPC classes, yet had a TC with a top London firm!

    But I am a firm believer that if you really want something and are realistic, then you can have a careeer in law. It just may not be at the top end of the profession to start off with. I have since held posts as legal counsel within blue chip companies. I have instructed lawyers in City firms and sometimes they have made fundamental errors on various matters (that I have picked up on) or worse, they cannot make make decisions on anything or use initiative. I accept that this may be a minority of such lawyers but the profession paints them as being the cream of the crop when in reality some of them arent and are only there because they went to a good university.

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