The Beginner's Guide to a Career in Law 2021

What do I need to know about the postgraduate law courses? In brief, this is the compulsory

Howmuch longer will it take to qualify if I choose a non- law undergraduate degree? It only takes one year longer to

vocational stage that must be completed before you do either the training contract (solicitor) or pupillage (barrister). The LPC and the Bar course are usually one-year courses, but each can be done two years part time, or by distance learning. Many providers around the country offer the courses, including our sponsor, Nottingham Law School. Alternatively, CILEx offers a Graduate Fast Track Diploma.

qualify if you choose a degree other than law. After graduating, you will need to complete a law conversion (such as the GDL) which covers the key parts of a law degree, before progressing onto the Legal Practice Course or Bar course.

Are postgraduate law courses expensive? Do I have to pay for them myself? The total cost of qualifying

I keep hearing about the new SQE: what is it and how will it affect me? The SRA plans to introduce

as a solicitor or barrister should not be underestimated. Over and above the £9,250 per year that you are likely to have to pay for your undergraduate degree, you will have to pay as much as £12,050, £17,285 or £16,000 (plus living costs) for, respectively, each of the GDL, LPC and Bar course in 2020-21. And unlike undergraduate and master’s degrees, postgraduate loans are unavailable for the GDL, LPC and Bar course (unless they include a master’s on top of the core qualification). For this reason, it’s best to have a training contract or pupillage before embarking on any of the courses – many large firms/chambers offer sponsorship (usually covering course fees and maintenance grant) to their future trainees/ pupils. At the very least, you’ll have a job at the end of all the study. Bank loans are usually the preferred option for those who self-fund. For more detailed funding advice, look at the ‘Finances’ section on LawCareers.Net.

the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in 2021, which will replace the LPC as the exam that all solicitors must pass in order to qualify. The idea is to ensure that all qualified solicitors are of the same high standard, regardless of which route (ie, university, equivalent means or apprenticeship) they take to get there. Unlike the GDL and LPC, the SQE is not a course but a series of exams, which are divided into two stages. Universities and law schools are currently developing new courses to prepare students for the SQE. There is still uncertainty around its implementation, including potential new SQE preparation courses, affordability and quality of training. Anyone who commences a law degree, GDL or LPC before September 2021 can qualify through the old system. Check the SQE page on LawCareers.Net for the latest information as we find out more.


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