Do you feel passionate about justice?
Are you interested in Law?
Then a career in Legal Services could be the right option for you!
The law affects everyone in society whether that is in a transport, social or business context; it has a powerful presence in our daily lives. Every person will have an encounter, or a need, for the law at some point in their lives. Every business, school, hospital and corporation also requires legal services to secure their establishment’s legal standing and help in solving any legal situations they might run into from time to time.
The legal industry is a highly specialist environment and in some cases requires a significant amount of qualifications and training to work in and succeed. Professionals working in this field offer support and guidance to those who are facing a legal issue or need to make decisions within the law. They often focus on one particular area of law to specialise in; these range from Crown Prosecutors and Barristers to Solicitors and Trademark Attorneys.
It’s important to note that just because an individual is working in the Legal Services doesn’t mean that they have to be a highly qualified barrister or solicitor! This is a common misunderstanding about this sector, but in fact this sector covers many roles: including the running of the courts, paralegals and assistants. These employees are also required to have fundamental knowledge of the law.
This sector is divided in the following four key areas:
A Barrister often deals with cases which are presented in the Crown Court. Individuals can choose to either defend or prosecute, based on their personal preferences. Often a prosecution barrister will work for the Crown, whereas a defence will be privately employed. This may sometimes lead to a difference in salaries.
Their main role is to give specialist legal advice to solicitors and other professionals within the industry, as well as representing clients in court. A Barrister can specialise in any area of law, from criminal to family and contract law. The ultimate aim is to build a case in favour of their client and to then present it to the judge and often a jury.
Even though the role of a Solicitor is very similar to that of a Barrister, their role is often to advise clients of their legal rights and to act accordingly. A huge chunk of a solicitor’s work is performed outside of the courts, drafting legal documents and meeting with various clients; it is very much a desk job. Their occasional work inside courts to represent their clients is at a much lower level than barristers.
A solicitor is likely to deal with cases which enter the magistrates court and similar to a Barrister who will either defend or prosecute, depending on their personal preference. The main difference between the two roles is a solicitor will often work on smaller cases and offer advice, whereas should a client need specialist advice they will call upon the support of a barrister.
With the rising of the ‘where there is a blame; there is a claim’ approach, solicitors and barrister won’t be short of work.
It is important to acknowledge that a Paralegal is not a qualified Solicitor; even though they may complete similar tasks they have not undertaken the formal training to gain the Solicitor Status. A Paralegal will specialise in one particular area of Law and may offer advice in that area of law only.
The role of Paralegal will vary depending upon the firm they work for and their tasks may include legal secretarial tasks to research and working with clients.
Many areas of a general day are influenced by law in one way or another, therefore many roles within the legal services included administrative work from Barrister’s assistants to court room clerks. These roles do not particularly require a high-level of formal qualifications; however their roles are extremely important in the smooth and successful running of the legal services.
Depending on which area of the legal services an individual chooses to work in will ultimately depend on what type of qualifications they require; as some roles require extremely specific qualifications.
There are three formal stages of training to become a Barrister:
There are two formal stages of training to become a Solicitor:
Should an individual wish to work as a Paralegal or the miscellaneous services they will require GCSEs A-C, and even though a formal law degree is not required a candidate will be expected to have at least a basic understanding of the law. Some employers may even request a BTEC related to Law.
The pay which a professional will receive will depend on which area they choose to work for; a breakdown of the pay grades are as follows:
Barrister: During the final stages of Bar Training an individual can expect to earn no less than £12,000 per year which may change depending on their employer. Once they have become qualified, a Barrister can earn anything between £25,000 and £300,000 depending on their experience. Top lawyers with excellent track record can earn up to and excess of £1,000,000.
Solicitor: A trainee solicitor can expect to receive national minimum wage, however once an individual has become qualified they can expect to earn anything from £25,000 to £75,000 depending on experience, location and employer.
Paralegal and miscellaneous service: Starting salary of £13,000 increasing for £18,000 with experience. In some cases an individual can earn up to £30,000 however this is based on experience, location and employer.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
The legal services industry in the UK employs more than 300 thousand people and contributes more than £20 billion to the UK Economy. London is currently one of the largest, if not the largest, centre for commercial and legal services in the world.
The sector has experienced growth in the past few years and it’s expected to continue with this trend as the wider economy and financial markets recover.