Article written by Guest Writer, Jack from All About Law
According to the latest statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency there are just fewer than 90,000 law students in the UK. The majority of those will be studying English and Welsh Law. All About Law – The Law Careers Website recently took a sample of over 2500 students and took at look at what aspiring lawyers are aiming for in the future.
The statistic that had the greatest significance, in my opinion, was that twenty-eight percent of aspiring lawyers are not sure what they want to do in the future in terms of a career. As I am sure you are aware it is not uncommon for students to be unsure of their future aspirations but it is rather more important for those interested in pursuing a legal career. The main concern is that in order to ensure you have an equal footing with your peers’ you must begin preparations as soon as possible.
If we use the route to becoming a solicitor as an example we can see that the vast majority of the larger law firms recruit students in their second year; the ultimate aim is to obtain a training contract. Training contracts are easier to get if a candidate has experience such as a vacation scheme and so trying to get a training contract without a vacation scheme makes the former more difficult to achieve. As vacation schemes also only run for second year law students or for final year non-law students it can make life more difficult (by no means impossible) if you wait until later in your university career to start working towards the goal of obtaining a training contract.
The difficulty lies in the fact students who are not sure what they want to do and wait until the second or third year may find themselves at a disadvantage compared to the other 49% of their peers who had decided they wanted to be a solicitor from the first year. Catching up on work experience, open days, talks, and workshops can become a Sisyphean task and you may simply run out of time and never be able to catch up with your peers.
This argument does of course presume that because you do not know what you want to do you aren’t doing anything to prepare yourself for a legal career. It may well be that many students are participating in vacation schemes, pupillages and a whole variety of different activities in order to help decide which type of legal career they hope to pursue and although they have some ideas they aren’t exactly sure. In this case I don’t think there is a thing to worry about and in fact students in this bracket it could be argued are better prepared as they have explored all the options and decided based on experience.
Although, if we scale up the 28% to all law students in the UK it equates to around thirty thousand students! I hope that if you are one of those students who aren’t sure what they want to do, you are keeping your options open and are not writing yourself off before you need to.
All About Law – The Law Careers Website