Where to Find Funding for Legal Training

Posted by Frank on May 30, 2015 under Studying & Practicing Law, UK Law | Be the First to Comment

Before embarking on a career in the law, you will need a lot of training in the complex intricacies of the British legal system. All this training requires funding, both for payment of fees and to meet your living expenses. Some of this training can be pricey, and not all of it will qualify for assistance from the Student Loans Company.

For some of “the professions,” such as teachers, there are government schemes to provide help with training costs. This is unfortunately not the case with the legal industry. However, there are a few options available for funding.

What are the Costs of Legal Training

The first step in training for a legal career will be a degree. Aside from living expenses, these will carry standard university tuition fees – currently up to £9,000 a year in England and Wales, as well as in Scotland unless this is your home region. The degree lasts three years.

If you study a subject other than law, then you will have to undertake a Graduate Diploma in Law, commonly known as a conversion course. This can cost between £7,500 and £10,000.

After you graduate, further training will be necessary. If you aim to become a barrister, you will have to complete a Barrister Practice Training Course (BPTC), costing at least £11,000 and potentially up to £16,950.

If you aim to become a solicitor, on the other hand, then after graduation you will have to complete a year-long course known as a Legal Practice Course. The price tag on this is lower than that attached to a BPTC, but still will still come in at £8,000 minimum and up to £13,500.

Total fees associated with legal training, therefore, can be up to £53,950 for barristers and £50,500 for solicitors. If your degree is in law and you don’t need a conversion course, this knocks £10,000 off each figure, but still leaves over £40,000 in fees.

Funding Options

For your first degree, you will qualify for student loans to fund your study just as any other student does – assuming you have not attended university before.

For your training after graduation, there are a few options available to you. One possibility is a specialist loan. While the Student Loans Company may no longer be willing to help you, some private lenders offer loans specially designed to help with legal training costs. You could also potentially qualify for low-interest postgraduate loans known as Professional Career and Development Loans (PCDL).

There are also some scholarships and bursaries available. For solicitors, these come from bodies such as The Law Society, while barristers-to-be may be able to access schemes from the likes of the Bar Council.

A few very lucky students may be able to get a sponsor – a legal firm who pays for their training on condition you work for them after you qualify. Sadly, these are very few and highly competitive. Usually, the only students who even get a look-in are first-class graduates of Oxford or Cambridge.

Qualifying as a Solicitor: What Happens After you Graduate?

Posted by Frank on April 18, 2015 under Studying & Practicing Law, UK Law | Be the First to Comment

If your career goal is to become a solicitor, graduating from university is only the first part of the process. There are further steps you must undertake within the industry in order to qualify to practice as a solicitor.

If this is the path you want to pursue within the legal industry, you will have the following routes open to you after your graduation:

If You Don’t Have a Law Degree

If you are currently studying or have graduated in a subject other than law, then the road to being a solicitor isn’t entirely closed to you. However, your first step after graduating is to return to university and do a law conversion course, in which you will intensively study core areas of the legal system. After that, you can then proceed along the road to becoming a solicitor in much the same way as a law graduate.

Legal Practice Course

The first step for law graduates will usually be the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This is a vocational course tailored not just to the law but to the role of practicing solicitors specifically. This step will usually take a year, or can sometimes be taken part-time over a longer period, and will help you develop the skills you will need for your career as a solicitor.

Recognised Training

After completing your LPC, you will move onto a period of recognised training within the legal industry. Usually, this will involve taking on a training contract with a firm and working within the industry as a trainee solicitor. This will allow you to learn about being a solicitor and develop the skills and knowledge you will need for the role on-the-job in a real-world legal practise assisting with genuine cases.

Professional Skills Course

As part of this period of training, you will also complete your Professional Skills Course (PSC). This will be the part of your training period that most closely resembles a formal, academic education. You must complete and pass your PSC in order to qualify as a solicitor and go into practise.

Alternative Means

As part of a drive to provide more flexibility for those who want to pursue a legal career, the concept of “alternative means” was introduced last year. This allows qualification to be granted to people who have gained experience within the legal sector which brings them up to the same standards of knowledge and skill as somebody who has followed the above route in full and completed a training contract. This isn’t really a route that can be relied upon, and so far only one person has qualified through these means. However, for those who may want to pursue a career as a solicitor later but want to enter a different legal position after graduating this is an extra route that may be open in the future.