Solicitor, barrister, law, FreethsWith over 25 years of legal experience, Mike Copestake, chair of the E4E board and Senior Partner for 21 years and now Consultant at Freeths LLP, has the following advice to offer those interested in a career in law:

In England and Wales lawyers are divided, broadly, into 2 professions – solicitors and barristers. In very general terms, barristers specialise in court work and solicitors do everything else. There is a wealth of information on You Tube and on various websites about lawyers and how you become one – many of them delivered by students or recently qualified lawyers. The problem is that there is so much information that it can take a long time to trawl through it all to obtain the information which you want.

The purpose of this article is to highlight those You Tube videos and websites which, between them, give you the quickest ways for young people to find out what solicitors and barristers do and how you qualify to become one.

I am going to start with a video by Chelsea Angeles, who is a current University student. It is called “Solicitor or Barrister Which One Should You Choose (Salary, Hours, Employers, Work Experience)”. Whilst she is clearly focussed on the large London law firms, she delivers an interesting and entertaining video on the difference between the two branches of the legal profession and their characteristics. She has also done a number of other videos on life as a Law Student.

Liam Porritt has done a couple of interviews with a young lawyer at one of the large London based Law firms called “Day in the life of a Corporate Lawyer [The Honest Truth]” and “Corporate Law – The Truth {Money, Sleep, Travel}”.

For a really good documentary on what Barristers do see “The Barristers.Game On”. This documentary in six parts on the path four students take to qualify as barristers.

For the viewpoint of a 17 year old doing A Levels and looking to becoming a lawyer see Jasaron AS.

The downside to all of the above is that they tend to be focussed on becoming a solicitor or barrister via a University degree. To qualify as a barrister you will need a degree – view information from the Bar Council. However, it is possible to qualify as a solicitor via a legal apprenticeship. For videos on life as a legal apprentice and how to qualify see Rox Pariss and a video by LawCareers Net.

To become a legal apprentice, you will still need 3 A Levels. For alternative ways to qualify as a solicitor I recommend the Law Society’s website. See information from the Law Society here  and the website of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)

If you have any queries, I suggest that you contact your Head of Careers and ask them to contact E4E. The local solicitors profession in Derby City are always willing to deliver careers talks at your school.