In the United Kingdom a law degree usually takes three years to complete. If you already have an undergraduate degree, you can effectively convert it – whatever it is – into a law degree using accredited conversion courses, which are usually referred to as a CPE or a PgDL. Following that you need to complete both a one-year professional qualification at law school and some on-the-job training in a recognised law firm. Once you have done all of those things, you are effectively a solicitor and free to practice in a firm.
But be aware that having done all the training, and managed to find yourself a job, it puts you on the lowest rung of the law profession. While you may think that you know a lot and you are ready to take on the world, you actually still have lots to learn and it will be many years before you are confidently plying your trade. There will be new cases that you will need to research and court cases to attend, all of which will boost a solicitor’s experience and standing. But it is difficult for someone practicing law to break out of the field in which they have started their studies and reach into new areas to seek clients in.
The practice of law involves a huge number of sub-sets, and is so complex that lawyers will specialise in one or two areas and have knowledge of perhaps another one. Among the main areas of law are:
- · Criminal Law: – The system dealing with crime and punishment is one of the most well-known, with many TV shows based on it.
- · Family Law: – Focusing on issues related to divorce, child support, and domestic issues, it is a huge topic.
- · Conveyancing: – The one area that touches most people, Conveyancing deals with the sale and transfer of property.
- · Advocacy: – This is the process by which a suitably qualified person argues in favour of a policy, idea or cause. Legal advocacy involves a solicitor supporting the case or cause of someone bought before the court
In addition to these areas, there is Immigration, Wills & Probate, Prison law…..the list goes on. Luckily a solicitor can get to grips with these other elements of law by taking training courses built specifically around the section of law concerned. By taking on these extra parts of the law can make a solicitor very much more employable as well as increasing their abilities.
There are many courses available to help the expanding solicitor reach their goals. Known as Continued Professional Development (CPD), these courses are accredited by the SRA and The Law Society to provide Police Station Accreditation, Magistrates Court Qualification, and The Children’s Panel Qualification.
Many of these extended courses are available to do in your own time and CPD online is a growing field. In this manner, a qualified solicitor may continue to practice their current fields of expertise whilst gaining more and broader qualifications in other areas of the law.