How to use this book
• Which postgraduate courses will you have to take? • Which bodies regulate and represent lawyers? • Why are vacation schemes/placements and mini-pupillages so important? Stage 2: Getting up to speed Once you have clearly establishedwhat needs to be done, youmust maintain an upward learning curve by regularly immersing yourself in the legal world and behaving, in effect, like a ‘mini lawyer’. You should read information provided specifically for aspiring lawyers such as LawCareers.Net’s newsletter, LCNWeekly, but also keep upwith the professional legal press (eg, The Lawyer and Legal Week ), the national and international business press (eg, the FT and The Economist ) and specialist websites such as LegalFutures.com. In doing so, youwill begin to recognise the key news, themes and debateswithin the profession, see how the different parts of the law relate to each other and identify leading figures and organisations. Check out “The legal scene” in the handbook as a jumping-off point; your goal is to be sufficiently well informed that you could hold your own in a conversation among lawyers and engage in topics such as: • What are the major developments in the legal profession over the last year? • Have there been any major law firmmergers recently? • What are employers doing to improve diversity within the profession? • How will solicitors qualify through the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)? • How have legal aid cuts impacted access to justice? • What issues are likely to impact the industry over the coming years? Stage 3: Analyse yourself Your investigations into the basics of the law and ongoing contact with the profession should already have given you a good idea of the attributes that employers are looking
The LawCareers.Net Handbook (LCNH) is designed to be your companion and adviser throughout your journey to becoming a solicitor or barrister. It is important that you use it correctly to get the maximum benefit. You are embarking on a learning process: learning what lawyers do and the different types of law that they practise; learning about the different types of organisation involved in law; learning how to become a lawyer and – possibly most importantly – learning about yourself, what you have to offer the profession and how to sell your skills and personality to employers. We advise you to divide your research and planning into stages. If you complete each one in order, you should have the knowledge and understanding required to make an impact when it comes to recruitment and selection. You should also remember that you need to continually top up your expertise – it’s much easier to learn steadily and gradually than try to cram in everything at the last minute. Stage 1: The basics A solid base of knowledge is important. Without this, your appreciation of your choices and opportunities will be severely diminished. The “Becoming a lawyer” section of the handbook introduces you to the core challenges ahead of you, while the “Solicitors” and “Barristers” sections explore the two main branches of the profession in more detail. Once you have done this preparatory reading, you should be able to answer the following questions with confidence: • What are the differences between a solicitor and a barrister? • What are the other types of lawyer? • What are the different types of law firm and who do they serve? • What are thedifferent typesof practicearea? • How is a set of chambers organised? • What is the timetable for becoming a solicitor/barrister?
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BECOMING A LAWYER
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