Law graduates' transferable skills give them an advantage in the non-legal job market, says Cat Pond
If you study law, you go into law. Simple enough, surely? Well, not to the growing number of law graduates currently branching out into a variety of different sectors.
A glance at a selection of university surveys on the destination of legal graduates, and a chat with my fellow law students, reveals a wide range of jobs taken after the completion of their studies.
Finance has an unsurprisingly large presence, but the property, marketing and voluntary sector are all well represented. Of course, there are the more unusual onward paths taken. One survey showed graduates becoming ski chalet hosts and taking on animal husbandry roles.
Law graduates Flora Duguid and Cathryn Kozlowski have both opted to take gap years before doing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in order to hunt for training contracts. Is this sensible? Or are they being overly risk averse?
In the meantime, Cathryn, who wants to work in media law, has turned down a paralegal job with a small firm specialising in family law. RoundMyKitchenTable co-host Kevin Poulter, a solicitor at Bircham Dyson Bell, is aghast at Kathryn’s decision.
But Guardian law journalist Alex Aldridge reckons Kathryn has probably made the right move, recommending instead that she have a look at options like Accutrainee, the new scheme that allows LPC graduates to qualify as lawyers by training at a number of different firms (although Accutrainee pays less than City firms and doesn’t necessarily lead to a full-time job). Flora and Kathryn are suspicious about Accutrainee, though – maybe a little too suspicious, in Alex’s view.
The quartet go on to discuss law firms’ obsession with A-level results and their practice of recruiting two years in advance.
Other than a short-lived campaign to occupy the Inns of Court, there are few examples of law students engaging with issues affecting the legal profession, says LPC student Cat Pond
During the recent public sector strikes, I was struck by the size of the turnout and the vehemence of the strikers. For many of them, this was the first time they had ever gone on strike - the government’s programme of cuts seeing them to take that final step of walking out.
The strikers’ very public expression of militant discontent started me thinking about whether the same drive to protest could lurk somewhere within law students. With the exception of 'OccupyTheInns', a law graduate who recently wrote several posts for Legal Cheek, I’m not aware of any law student campaign trying to affect change in the legal profession. In some ways, this is surprising. Surely it would follow that in exchange for engaging in the arduous legal education process and training contract or pupillage hunt, law students would want a say in the running of the legal profession?
First, the bar’s awful ‘Pupillage Portal’; now the solicitors' regulator has run into criticism for its handling of students' online registrations. Cat Pond investigates
A key obligation of the wannabe solicitor is the requirement that they register with the Solicitors' Regulation Authority (SRA). Strict deadlines are enforced and the nervous Legal Practice Course (LPC) student is told sternly that non-compliance will result in ejection from the course.
This process will likely be the first brush many have with issues like professional conduct and suitability, as well as with the regulator itself. And they do say first impressions count.
Sadly, the impression myself and fellow classmates have received has been far from positive. The process this year has been marred by what appeared to be a series of blunders, leaving many students stranded in bureaucracy during the busy time at the start of their courses.