Universal guidance for a career in law
Those considering a career in law are generally faced with a number of dilemmas:
Should I become a lawyer?
Should I study law, or should I study for another subject and then do a conversion course?
Should I become a barrister or a solicitor?
Are there any meaningful differences between practising as a barrister or solicitor?
What are the chances of finding a training contact?
What are the chances of finding a pupillage?
In which area of law should I practice?
Should I study law?
A law degree is a challenging degree, but one which equips you with good research and reasoning skills, and one which brings you closer to understanding social structures. A law degree requires a great deal of reading, but requires little to no mathematical related abilities, spacial ability and similar. Due to the large amount of reading, it requires good organisational skills.
Should I become a lawyer?
To answer this question, one needs to think about the question:
Why do you wish to become a lawyer (barrister or a solicitor)?
In deciding whether to pursue a legal career, you need to first consider the following:
1. Whether it is the legal system you would like to be part of, as opposed to for example, academia.
This requires you to first understand how the legal system works. For example, what are its objective and purpose, what is its composition, what are the statistics of salaries, satisfaction etc.
2. Whether you are comfortable with the type of work a lawyer (barrister, solicitor, or other) does.
For example, what is the day-to-day work, who are the clients, how they are charged, do you gain new knowledge as you work, and if yes, what type of knowledge?
3. Whether the work provides sufficient incentives for you.
For example, you may wish that your work contributes to other individuals or society. Incentives are important because, heavy workload can lead to burnout, if for example, making money is not a sufficient incentive for you.
To deciding on incentives, you need to understand the legal system. For example, a common incentive provided in applications/interviews is that as a lawyer one can contribute to justice. However, while that may happen, as a lawyer generally you will represents those who need your services. In addition, to build a reputation and to make a living, generally one needs to win cases.
Explaining to schools pupils about a career in law
Human Behaviour, Law and Society
This book is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand, from a scientific perspective, justice-related dilemmas and issues that have persisted with humanity for over 2500 years – at least from Sophocles’ time. Knowledge covered in this book is important for all justice professional, and particularly for decision makers and for lawyers dealing human-related matters (matters other that those purely technical such as contract drafting).
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