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.
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.
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.