Today, our featured career is ‘Lawyer’. A career in law is challenging, but comes with immense rewards. As a lawyer, whichever route you specialise in, you will need to read a lot of information, stay up to date with current (often changing) legal terms and practices, and be able to apply these to new cases. To study law, you can either study a certified law degree (LLB), or you can study any other undergraduate degree and then take a law conversion course (Graduate Diploma in Law, GDL).
Broadly, there are two main types of lawyer: solicitors and barristers. Solicitors primarily work from law firms and offices, proving legal advice for clients or their employer. Barristers are specialists in advocacy (supporting others to express their views and wishes). Barristers are able to represent clients and members of the public in court: many are self-employed (working in offices called chambers), or work for government departments and agencies. As a note, in some cases solicitors may also be able to represent in court, but not at the same level as a barrister, and this is not a typical part of their role. For a more complete summary of the differences between solicitors and barristers, click here.
To become either a solicitor or a barrister you will need to undertake further training after your LLB or GDL. Recently, changes to the training for both solicitors and barristers has been announced, and the training routes may change over the next few years. Therefore, if you are interested in a career in law, you should keep up to date with the most recent training requirements – the Oxford University Careers Service pages below have further information on these updates.
Current Role: Trainee Solicitor, Wright Hassall LLP
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Durham University
Brief Biography: Prior to university, Gemma Clark undertook two placements in law firms, to gain experience and observe life as a solicitor. Having studied her undergraduate degree at Durham University, Gemma Clark was awarded a training contact at the law firm Wright Hassall LLP, who funded her to study the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at The University of Sheffield. Having completed the LPC, Gemma Clark joined Wright Hassall LLP as a trainee solicitor, undertaking a series of ‘seats’ within different sectors of law during her two-year training contract, including: employment law, property law and probate law. This included a challenging period working within employment law during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the introduction of the furlough scheme.
After finishing her training contract, Gemma Clark plans to begin work as a full solicitor. In her spare time, she enjoys baking (especially brownies), scrap-booking and playing sports.
As a lawyer you will need excellent verbal communication skills, and to be confident in persuasive speaking (this is particularly true if you are interested in becoming a barrister). For today’s activities, you will be guided through the steps to write and deliver a persuasive speech, with speaking, debate and dialogue experts, Noisy Classroom.
Want to know more?
To find out more about working as a lawyer, either as solicitor or a barrister, take a look at the following explore-a-career pages:
- Oxford University Careers Service
- National Careers Service
To explore other career options that might interest you, there are lots of tool available! We recommend starting by exploring job sectors and occupations on the following websites:
Talking to people who are currently doing a role you are interested in, organising some work experience where you can shadow someone doing this role, or reading first-hand accounts from people working in the area you are interested in can all help you find out more about a particular job!
To find out more about studying a subject at University, you can also talk to St John’s Undergraduates on The Ambassador Platform (TAP) by clicking here!
Share with us!
We would love to see any examples of work that you do during your Inspire Summer School. This can be a photo of something you have made, a picture you have drawn, some written work (e.g. the start of a speech, or the answer to a question we asked), or some thoughts you have about what you have learnt! Submit your work to us through this form.
All pupils who share their work with us by August 31 2021 will receive a certificate of participation in the summer school and will be entered into a prize draw! A £10 Amazon voucher will be awarded to each winning entry, selected randomly from all submissions. If you give us permission, your entry may be shared on Inspire Digital and our social media alongside your first name.