Choosing to be a solicitor as a profession can be both rewarding, and intellectually challenging. Since there are many areas of law you can specialize in, the work varies.
A solicitor is different from a barrister. When someone is looking for legal advice, they will first see a solicitor first. If the client needs more specialist advice, the solicitor will recommend a barrister.
Solicitors and barristers both offer legal advice and can represent their clients in court but, barristers often do advocacy work, representing clients in the higher courts.
Becoming a solicitor takes a lot of commitment because you have to study and train for a minimum of 6 years and the competition for training contracts is high.
Qualifications Required To Be A Solicitor
To be first accepted at a law degree, you would need five GCSEs at grade C or above, in English, Maths and sometimes a subject such as a foreign language and a minimum of two A levels, and three A levels at A grade for the most popular courses.
There are also routes to qualify that don’t involve a law degree like completing an apprenticeship or through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives but these routes take longer.
To finally qualify to be a solicitor, you would need to study law full time for 6 years. However, it will take longer if you have a degree in another subject.
If that is the case, you must complete the Graduate Diploma in Law which can be taken full-time for one year, or part-time for two years.
After your law degree, you need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) which will provide you with practical skills and legal knowledge. You can take it full time for one year, or part-time for two years.
After completing your LPC, you’ll begin your period of recognised training, which is the final step towards qualifying lasting for two years.
Salary Of A Solicitor
If you are a trainee solicitor, your salary will range from £19,000 per year in smaller commercial and high street practices to £43,000+ per year in larger commercial city law firms. While the average solicitor salary is between £35,000 and £48,000 in London and £18,000-£35,000 outside of the capital.
When you become a qualified solicitor, your salary in large city firms will be from £50,000 to £70,000 with some law firms paying up to and in excess of £100,000. Your starting salary in regional law firms and high street practices tend to be slightly lower, ranging broadly between £22,000 and £45,000+.
When you become a partner at a law firm, your salary will be around £100,000 per year and depending on the size and type of law firm, it can reach £1,200,000.
Should you become an in-house solicitor, your salary may be less compared to private practice solicitors, ranging from £50,000 to £100,000 depending on how long you have been in the business.
Duties Of A Solicitor And Skills Needed
- Give expert advice on everyday issues like buying and selling homes, and dealing with relationship breakdowns
- Help businesses with commercial transactions
- Protect individuals’ rights, and ensuring they’re treated fairly by public or private bodies
- Doing pro bono cases in certain circumstances, for example for people who are unable to pay for legal services
- Researching cases and legislation
- Preparing letters, contracts, wills and other legal documents
- Liaising with clients and other professionals such as barristers
- Representing clients in court or at tribunals
A solicitor’s work can be divided into two sections: Contentious Legal Work which involves resolving disputes between two or more parties, usually in a court or tribunal and Non-contentious Legal Work which deals with the legal aspects of a client’s business or personal matter, such as managing a company merger or making a will
To be a successful solicitor, you will need:
- intellectual ability – the law is complex
- Since no two days are the same, you would need to be flexible
- strong oral and written communication skills
- Commitment as it will take time and resources to be a solicitor
Employers may also look for personal skills such as:
- a capacity for hard work
- personal integrity and an ethical approach
- commercial awareness
- being able to communicate with people at all levels and win their respect
Now that we have given you the rundown for the profession of a solicitor, you can decide if you want to choose this field or not.
Being a solicitor is a rewarding job but one that you need to work hard for! Not to mention, it will take a lot of your time, 6 years worth of, to be precise.