Solicitors advise clients on legal matters and settle disputes. At IDR Law we are a firm of contentious probate specialists working together to solve disputes concerning the way an Estate is administered after death. In Legal Practice, no two days are ever the same – it’s a challenging and rewarding career choice, and there are several different routes to qualification as a solicitor.
Graduate routes to qualifying as a solicitor
The traditional route to becoming a solicitor involves completing a qualifying Law degree (LLB) at university or, if you’ve studied an undergraduate degree in another subject, you can take the one-year conversion course, graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
Whether you’ve obtained an LLB or your GDL, the next step is to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This can be done full time over a year, or over two years part time.
After completing the LPC you’ll need to undertake a two-year period of recognised training (often referred to as a training contract). During this time, you’ll need to pass a professional skills course. Once the period of recognised training is complete, you can apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for admission to the roll.
Most Law graduates study the LPC full time.
However, you might choose to study the LPC part time if you’ve already got a position at a Law firm, for example as a Paralegal or administrative assistant.
How can working as a paralegal support you in qualifying as a solicitor?
Paralegals play an important role within firms and support lawyers in their work, for example, carrying out administrative and research tasks and drafting legal documents. In many firms, paralegals are client facing, and are responsible for their own caseload under supervision of a qualified solicitor.
Working as a paralegal gives you valuable experience of working within the legal profession, possibly within your chosen field, and allows you to earn a salary while continuing your route to qualification. It also allows you to build a network of contacts and increases your chances of securing your period of recognised training.
Note: From Autumn 2021, the GDL and the LPC will no longer be routes to qualification and will be replaced by the SQE (Solicitor’s Qualifying Examination). Non-law graduates may take an SQE preparation course to prepare for the SQE.
Non-graduate routes to qualifying as a solicitor
The CILEx route to qualification
CILEx is the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. To become a Chartered Legal Executive, you don’t need a degree, but you must have completed three years of qualifying employment as well as passed the CILEx Level 3 and Level 6 diplomas in Law and Practice. Legal executives usually specialise in one area of Law. From Autumn this year, Chartered Legal Executives will be eligible to qualify as solicitors through the SQE.
The Apprenticeship route to qualifying as a solicitor
For post A-level students who want to become solicitor but decide university isn’t for them, apprenticeships can be a good route into the legal profession. These take around six years to complete and involve practical learning through work experience at a firm, with time to complete academic studies. As with all aspiring solicitors from September this year, solicitor apprentices must pass the SQE assessment to qualify as a solicitor. *
IDR Law have just recruited a new paralegal but watch this space as more roles will be opening up over the next 12 months. Read our recent blog to find out a bit more about paralegal life at IDR Law.
IDR Law is an approachable, boutique, firm and the only one in the country dealing solely with inheritance dispute resolution. Whether you’re a law firm, or an individual who feels they would benefit from our expertise, get in touch here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01423 637050.