I was asked for The Lawyer Portal to write up a blog post about careers in law that are still accessible without a place at university! I thought I’d share it on here too as there are some really great options that might widen your horizons to careers that are out there for you!
1 – LEGAL APPRENTICE
A legal apprenticeship is a great way to learn the law on the job – a unique experience that gets you employed by a firm immediately and starts you on the path to becoming a solicitor! The apprenticeships don’t require any UCAS points, just GCSEs with some firms also looking for A level qualifications. Starting salaries range up to £18,000, and there are some great schemes accessible for you such as the Fieldfishers ‘Steps2Success’ scheme. The apprenticeships are starting to become more recognised in firms, so if you can’t see one advertised online don’t be afraid to show some initiative and approach firms directly to ask if it’s an opportunity they could offer you!
2 – LEGAL EXECUTIVE
Becoming a Chartered Legal Executive is an alternative route into a legal career that costs less than a standard UK university degree! CILEx requires 4 GCSEs including English and an entrance exam to gain a place onto the programme. What’s great about this route is that you can study and take the exams in your own time, allowing the course to fit flexibly around your life so if you want, you can have a job alongside it! The course allows you to specialise into an area of law, so the everyday work grind is similar to that of a solicitor! You also have the option to qualify as a solicitor after becoming a ‘Fellow’, most people who go down this route are also normally exempt from training contracts! Definitely a great option to consider.
3 – PARALEGAL
Paralegal work is such a diverse option for your career without a degree. With plenty opportunities to be in different sized firms or working in an in-house team, being employed as a paralegal allows you to interact with the law and lawyers everyday with a qualified lawyer. Sounds like invaluable experience right?! Work ranges but can often involve supporting lawyers with client work – missing out on the degree doesn’t sound too bad when you’re straight into this paid legal career! Since you already have your ‘foot through the door’, there is often flexibility to train on the job in the firm you’re in, so your solicitor dream may be closer than you think.
4 – LEGAL SECRETARY
Legal Secretaries are the back bones of most firms and in-house teams. Requiring no legal knowledge but great communication skills – this could be the perfect opportunity for you! The secretaries carry a lot of responsibility and many also have direct access to the board through attending board meetings – opportunities many senior partners or management may not be able to access. If responsibility and communication are two words you’d use to describe yourself, check out this role.
5 -HER MAJESTY’S COURTS AND TRIBUNALS
Your local court may also be able to provide you a legal career opportunity without a degree. If hands-on court hearings attract you to law more than sitting in office meetings, an usher role could be the perfect role for you. Ushers handle the logistics of the court; ranging from ensuring witnesses, defendants and lawyers are all present to prepping the court room for hearings. The work can vary from being administrative to rushing around the court, but one thing is for certain, the work with involve a lot of work with the law! This may not be the long-term solution for you, but the role could open up some great experience and networking opportunities.