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HOW TO BECOME A SOLICITOR: The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A UK Solicitor

The journey to becoming a solicitor requires high levels of professionalism, commitment, determination and skill. You will need to be 100% prepared to see this journey through from beginning to end, in order to become a qualified UK solicitor.

HOW TO BECOME A SOLICITOR:

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming A UK Solicitor

The journey to becoming a solicitor requires high levels of professionalism, commitment, determination and skill. You will need to be 100% prepared to see this journey through from beginning to end, in order to become a qualified UK solicitor. This ultimate guide takes you step-by-step through the entire process of how to become a solicitor, qualities and skills required, educational routes, interview techniques and gaining employment.

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BECOMING A SOLICITOR

You will embark upon many challenges, experiences, fulfilments, pitfalls and commitments on your path to becoming a solicitor. Becoming a solicitor can be complex, stressful and overwhelming, but the rewards and opportunities are lucrative. As a solicitor, you are expected to provide a legal service to clients that cater to their needs and requirements regarding legal issues.

The role of a solicitor is to work directly with the client to ensure a rapport is built, and understand the client's needs, goals, ambitions and requirements, in order to provide a solid basis for resolution. A solicitor needs to be vigilant in deciding what the best course of legal action is, and how they can help their clients in the best possible way.

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Choosing the right path

Not only will you have to make a decision of becoming a solicitor, but you will also need to make a decision based on the type of lawyer you wish to become. Many solicitors are specialised in a particular area, depending on their interests, skills and knowledge. It is important that you make the right decision when choosing what area of practice you wish to partake. Choosing the right path is not always easy, and can come with several setbacks and challenges, but if you really want it, you will need to put in that extra time, effort and commitment.

Typical areas that you may wish to specialise can be categorised under the following headings:

  • Commercial issues - Issues related to businesses. Settling disputes, helping new companies get started, serving as an advisor for complex and corporate transactions.
  • Personal issues - Issues such as divorce, family disputes, quarrels concerning children, buying or selling properties, wills, criminal litigation.
  • Private and Public disagreements - Protecting the rights of individuals who may have been unfairly treated or injured, and ensuring that they are rightly and properly compensated.
Administrative & Public LawTechnology, Media & TelecommunicationsSportsAgriculture & Rural IssuesAviation & Aerospace
Advertising & MarketingDefamation/Reputation ManagementFraudProfessional DisciplineBanking & Finance
Personal InjuryCorporate Finance/ Mergers & AcquisitionsCharitiesShipping & TradeDispute Resolution
Intellectual PropertyEmployment, Pensions & IncentivesClinical LawConstruction & EngineeringEnvironment
Capital MarketsCommercial Property & Real EstateLife SciencesProfessional NegligenceCorporate Tax
Housing/Tenant & LandlordEnergy & Natural ResourcesImmigrationCompetition & EU LawFinancial Services
Insolvency & RestructureProjects/Project FinanceOutsourcingCrimeCrime Insurance & Reinsurance
Company & CommercialCivil Liberties & Human RightsPrivate ClientFamily & MatrimonialMedia & Entertainment

Do you have what it takes?

If you want a job that is easy money, lucrative money and stress-free, then a job as a solicitor is not for you. If you want a job that makes lucrative money based on a challenging career that focuses on implementing advice and support for legal aid, then this job could be for you.

As a solicitor, there are numerous skills and qualities that are essential to make a successful lawyer:

Motivation;Empathy;Eye for Detail;
Commitment;Legal Knowledge and Understanding;Perseverance;
Strong Levels of Communication;Critical Awareness;Willingness to succeed.

Of course, this list of skills and qualities are not extensive, and there are many other skills that will be put to the test in the day of a life of a solicitor. You will be expected to uphold a professional demeanour that provides a quality service for not only the law firm you are working for, but for the clients who put their trust in you.

THE PROCESS

STEP 1 – Education

The process of becoming a solicitor is extremely hard work and requires a great deal of time and commitment. You will need to gain several qualifications to become a qualified UK solicitor. A simple structure of the entire process is formulated below:

Educational Qualifications to study Law.

Work Experience

Creating a strong CV and Covering Letter

The Application Form

Law Assessment Centres

The Interview

The Job Offer and Negotiating your Deal

There are different routes in which you can embark in order to become a solicitor. These routes include:

The Law Graduate Route

The Non-Law Graduate Route

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executive (CILEx) routes

Here is a breakdown of the key stages of two routes of how to become a qualified solicitor, and highlights what you will be expected to undergo before enrolling on to the admissions of qualified solicitors.

The Law Graduate Route

Degree in law – 3 years

Legal Practice Course – 1 year full time

Period of Recognised Training including Professional Skills Course – 2 years full time

Admission onto the Roll of Solicitors

The Non-Law Graduate Route

Degree in any subject – 3 years

Common Professional Examination/ Graduate Diploma in Law – 1 year full time, or join the (CILEx)

Period of Recognised Training including Professional Skills Course – 2 years full time

Admission onto the Roll of Solicitors

STEP 2 – CV, APPLICATION AND INTERVIEW

In order to gain a law training contract, you will need to demonstrate a strong CV, covering letter and application. These are crucial steps for improving your chances of being offered an interview.

Below are some examples of the CV, covering letter, and application questions that you can use to tailor your answers to improve your format, style, writing techniques and perception.

EXAMPLE CV


(SAMPLE B)

Nicolas Johnson

(Address)

(Telephone)

(E-mail address)

Overview

• Admitted as a solicitor in December 2003 having been called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in November 2001

• Advises in all areas of property litigation, including landlord and tenant matters, possession, trespass, insolvency as it relates to property and development disputes

Education

• Oxford Grammar School

• LLB Laws (Hons), University of Manchester

• BVC, Inns of Court School of Law

• PGDL, City University

Qualified

22.11.01 Barrister (Lincoln's Inn)

17.12.03 Solicitor

Career

Mid-Tier Law Firm LLP – 2003 to present

• Advising clients on alienation of leases, including the transfer of leases held by OK supermarkets to independent retailers and the sale of several London restaurants, including X, Y, Z and T.

• Acting for the landlords in ABCLimited v Good Stores Limited in successfully obtaining an injunction to require the tenant and a third party to surrender an under lease that was entered into without consent.

• Representing StarsJupiter in resisting a claim for an injunction based on alleged rights of light to restrain the construction of a strategically important residential development in the City of London. Confidential settlement terms which enabled completion of the development were agreed immediately before trial.

• Acting for the claimant in GenProp Limited v XYZLimited in successfully defeating the defendant’s application for summary judgment against GenProp’s claim for an injunction to restrain the defendants from using dry dock facilities on the River Thames in breach of a deed of covenant and substantial damages. The claim was later settled during trial on terms that the defendants would be subject to an injunction, and would pay damages and costs.

• Advising a developer in relation to a claim for increased overage payments by a borough council following the regeneration and redevelopment of Trowbridge, Hackney.

• Representing clients, including OK Hotels and StarsJupiter (see above) against property professional, including solicitors.

• Advising clients including ABC Estate and XYZ Offices Group in relation to portfolio management, including in particular landlord and tenant/development issues.

• Representing private client in relation to a substantial claim against insurers for non-payment under an insurance policy following subsidence damage, and in a claim against a damp proofing company.

Barrister (non-practising) – 2001 to 2003

• Landlord and tenant possession claims

• Consumer credit repossessions

• Mortgage possession claims

• Enforcement proceedings

• Small claims hearings

• Applications for summary judgment and to set aside judgment

• Bankruptcy proceedings

Mid-Tier Firm Paralegal – 2001

• General employment/civil litigation advice

Interests

• Sport

• Travel

• History

EXAMPLE COVERING LETTER


Date

Name of recruiter/employer (if available)

Name of firm

Street Address

City firm is located

Dear Mr./Ms.-------/Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to apply for a Training Contract at (Name of law firm) as advertised on your graduate recruitment website. Currently, I am in the second year of my law degree at Birmingham University.

While at university, I have sought out experiences that are relevant to a career as a solicitor. Recently, I undertook a three-day insight placement at XXX Law Firm. There I shadowed a trainee in a property law seat and also spoke with partners from other areas of practice in order to broaden my knowledge of working as a solicitor. In addition, I also had a two-week placement at the high street firm XYZ, where I was able to observe solicitors as they acted for local businesses that wished to expand. While in this placement, I was commended for the commercial awareness I displayed in highlighting the potential disadvantages of said acquisition when asked to draw up a list of relevant issues affecting a chain of vet surgeries purchasing another practice.

This guide will teach you how to conduct a strong and effective CV and Covering Letter in order to improve your chances of a successful application. Law firms require strong levels of professionalism and therefore your application needs to reflect this. You need to demonstrate high levels of professionalism in every aspect of your application in order to secure that all important training contract.

EXAMPLE APPLICATION FORM QUESTIONS


Why have you chosen to apply to our law firm?

"After extensive research, I believe that your law firm is a highly successful business that builds trusting relationships with their clients through a service that is committed, professional and prosperous. I believe that my skills are tailored to your firm and I am certain that I can bring a lot to your company, as well as learning invaluable skills and knowledge from established professionals such as yourself."

Give examples of work experience relevant to a career in the law industry.

"Whilst completing my legal studies, I did my utmost to ensure I gained relevant work experience that will help on my journey to becoming a lawyer. I took it upon myself to gain several weeks work experience at a law firm which allowed me to gain a feel for what I could expect if I decided to pursue this career. I also participated in the Vacation Scheme whereby it provided formal experience and understanding regarding the world of the legal profession".

IMPROVING YOUR CHANCES

There a number of ways in which to better your chances, both as a trainee solicitor and as a qualified solicitor. These include:

  • Pro Bono Work
  • Westlaw UK
  • Law Societies
  • Online Forums
  • Law Fairs

All of the listed, are different ways in which you can gain work experience before applying for a training contract with a law firm. A law firm likes to see that you are serious about becoming a solicitor, and what better way to prove this by gaining experience and that extra knowledge that will be a valuable asset when it comes to applying to law firms. This professional guide will teach you ways that will allow you to improve your chances of gaining that all important training contract. The guide includes extensive information and insight in putting your application ahead of others, who are ultimately applying for the same position you are!

This guide will:

  • Help you to decide whether you are right for the job as a lawyer, and whether the job is right for you;
  • Understand the important stages of the selection process and what is expected;
  • Give you a step-by-step guide through the application process and everything you need to know in terms of education, skills, qualifications and experience;
  • Give you an insight into what employers are looking for in regards to potential employees and gaining that all important training contract;
  • Guide you through the interview stages of the application and provide you with sample questions and answers that you can use for your own interview;
  • Provide a unique interview with a qualified solicitor and partner of a law firm;
  • Provide tips and advice throughout the guide to ensure you are fully prepared for your journey of becoming a solicitor.
  • Provide a unique interview with a qualified solicitor and partner of a law firm;
  • Provide tips and advice throughout the guide to ensure you are fully prepared for your journey of becoming a solicitor.

TOPICS AND INFORMATION INCLUDED WITHIN THIS GUIDE:

  • The role of a solicitor;
  • What you need to know before applying to become a solicitor;
  • The essential skills, qualities and requirements needed to become a successful solicitor;
  • Providing different areas of practice in which you can embark upon;
  • Whether the job is right for you;
  • Top 10 reasons why to become a solicitor;
  • The downfalls of becoming a solicitor;
  • Different ways to improve your work experience;
  • The opportunities available to you.
  • The different routes of becoming a solicitor;
  • How to better your chances;
  • How to gain that all important interview;
  • Actual sample responses for interview questions;
  • The importance of staying connected;
  • Building your CV and creating your covering letter;
  • Sample CV's and cover letters to improve your own;
  • The law assessment centre and what is included, and what to expect;
  • Useful tips to guide you through the selection process of becoming a solicitor.

HOW TO BECOME A SOLICITOR:

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming A UK Solicitor

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A guide packed full of insightful information, advice, tips and guidance to improve your chances of becoming a UK solicitor!

A professional guide that contains all the information you will need to know regarding the entire selection process.

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HOW TO BECOME A SOLICITOR:

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming A UK Solicitor

How to Become a Solicitor Comprehensive Guide

  • The role of a solicitor
  • An empirical study conducted with qualified lawyers
  • Completing your application
  • Create the ultimate CV and covering letter
  • Make the most out of networking
  • How gain your training contract
  • Sample interview questions and answers
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