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Farheen Syeda, Insight Project: Pathways to Law: The Qualifications Needed and What They All Mean!

Insight Project will be publishing a series of blogs over the coming weeks. The third week's blogs focus on pathways to a legal career.

This blog is written by Farheen Syeda, Insight Project Team Lead

Pathways to Law: The Qualifications Needed and What They All Mean!

Abstract: Are you interested in becoming a lawyer? Here are some pathways

If you are interested a long and competitive journey awaits and here are all the pathways residents of the United Kingdom and Canadians willing to study in the United Kingdom can take.

Students in the United Kingdom:

There are many routes students can follow to qualify as a lawyer, such as:

  • A traditional route- to become a lawyer, students will need to complete a qualifying law degree (LLB); or

  • Students can study any subject of their choice at the undergraduate level and complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course.

If students would like to become a solicitor:

  • Students are required to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and secure a training contract with a law firm and pass a Professional Skills Course;

  • Another possibility involves completing a Solicitor Apprenticeship, a six-year, Level 7 program directed at post-A-level students, paralegals, and chartered legal executives; or

  • However, please be aware that in September 2021, the qualification process of solicitors in England and Wales will be reformed, with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), this exam will replace the GDL and LPC.

If students would like to become a barrister:

  • Students are required to finish three components of training:

o law degree;

o vocational component, the BTC; and

o pupillage.

  • However, since September 2020, barristers can satisfy the aspect of the vocational component in different ways thanks to the introduction of new bar courses, which act as a replacement.

Students in Canada:

Students in Canada who want to become a lawyer are required to study any subject of their choice at the undergraduate level in order to write the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to be admitted into law school.

In comparison, Canadian students can skip the process of obtaining an undergraduate degree and writing the LSAT, should they wish to study in the United Kingdom instead. This doesn’t mean students with an undergraduate degree are at a disadvantage, having an undergraduate degree accelerates the process as students are only required to do two years of school by completing the program known as JD Pathway instead of LLB, which is three years long.

Whichever path students choose to pursue leads to either writing the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) exams or doing an Masters of Law (LLM) in order to begin the articling period and get accredited as a lawyer in Canada all while writing the bar. Additionally, students who finish high school are also able to apply to law school in the United Kingdom, which gives them an early start.

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