My aim for ‘Lucy Does Law’ is to use platform as an accessible community for ALL students. In light of this, Sophie from @non_law_students has kindly written a piece about entering the legal career from the perspective of a non-law degree student!
Studying a non-law degree does NOT mean that you are at a disadvantage. The most important thing is to understand how your skills are transferrable to Law. For example, if you study English, you are able to read and process information quickly, drawing out the key points. If you’re a STEM student reading this and wondering where you fit in, fear not. Many of the top firms run events specifically for you, to ensure that you understand the value of your academic background in the legal industry.
As a non-law student, I wish that someone had given me more insight into the application process. The most pertinent piece of advice I can give you is to network and apply to legal opportunities as soon as you decide that law interests you. Submitting applications during your first year will allow you to reflect and improve upon all the factors which impact your applications: writing style, extra-curriculars, commercial awareness. I have found that the most efficient way of keeping up with these deadlines is through Legal Cheek. Securing a vacation scheme at an earlier stage will also make your life easier when applying for the GDL – it is likely that the firm will contribute financially. However, if you don’t manage to secure one then there are always ways around this so don’t get too stressed about it! I am in my final year and still haven’t secured a contract yet.
It is also valuable for students to be aware of the in-house options available to you, such as PWC, Deloitte and BBC. All of these big companies offer legal vacation schemes and training contracts. One advantage would be the experience gained from working in a business. There are many pros and cons to training in-house, but if you are interested in the areas in which those companies specialize, then they would be a great place to look at!
Any work experience is good experience as long as there are transferrable skills. Most obviously, if you have worked in customer service before, then you are someone who may be great at dealing with clients. If you have interned in a company’s marketing department, you might be someone who finds creative ways to solve problems. Further, any legal experience is good experience. In-fact, it may be valuable to compare life at a smaller firm versus a larger firm or working for private clients (individuals) versus commercial clients (companies). Just remember to take every opportunity, ask questions and network.
If you are a non-law student planning on pursuing a career in law, then you will have to study the GDL followed by either the LPC (to become a solicitor) or the BPTC (to become a barrister). I have just received my offer from the University of Law, Moorgate. My decision to study here was due to the fact that I intend to work in London and Moorgate would be a fantastic location to network with firms. I would recommend reading up about the various institutions in order to decide where suits you the best, as there are campuses all over the country. The University of Law and BBP may be good places to start considering.
Finally, whether you study a Law degree or not, if you are interested in pursuing a legal career, commercial awareness is crucial. Check out my Instagram @non_law_students as I post about lots of resources which might help you! If you are not interested in commercial law, it might sometimes feel as though your options are limited, but they’re not! Check out legal500 for some amazing firms which specialize in other areas.