After spending his 20s as an actor, rising to fame in Eastenders and Strictly Come Dancing (see below), Chris Parker decided he wanted to get serious and become a lawyer....
'Mike', who has just begun an undergraduate law degree, wants to know what it takes to get a first. His email is below...
With many law firms and barristers’ chambers using strict minimum A-level requirements to filter wannabes, how you performed at school is of critical importance to becoming a lawyer.
But does it matter what A-levels you do? Is a law A-level better than one in a foreign language, for example? And are grades all that count to legal employers?
Legal Cheek’s Kevin Poulter elicits the views of sixth form student Marc Craig and Bircham Dyson Bell HR adviser Hannah Lewis, before re-living his own A-level maths glory days through a moving monologue in which he claims repeatedly that exams have got easier.
Craig and Lewis disagree. Listen to their intellectual jousting below.
I like Legal Cheek and I like Alex Aldridge who runs it. Nonetheless, it has recently gone all tabloid on the issue of funding for pupillages, and I have told Alex so.
Last week, a tenant at 5 Pump Court, writing on Legal Cheek, argued that barristers should be taxed £3 per day – or the price of “less than two cups of coffee a day” – to fund pupilages, with all sets of chambers compelled to take one pupil per 25 tenants. Under the proposal, pupils would be paid £25,000 per year.
The idea has been taken up by the anonymous paralegal whose idea was to occupy the Inns of Court because he hadn't got a pupillage. He is confident that the proposal would “also have extremely positive repercussions for the outrageous situation with regard to lack of pupillages at the Bar.” He adds: “Force barristers to pay a contribution towards pupils’ training and more pupillages would undoubtedly flow from the wider availability of funding."
To which I can only respond: Stone. Cold. Wrong.
Barrister-to-be Jack Smith, whose LNAT score didn't correspond with his other academic results, isn't convinced by the undergraduate law application test
With A-Level results improving each year, it’s only natural that university law faculty admissions tutors seek to distinguish between the best applicants via an additional test. For many institutions, the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) forms an integral part of the sifting process. However, I question whether the LNAT is really fit for that particular purpose.
I took the LNAT several years ago before I applied to university. Four out of the five universities I applied to required that I sit the test, so I dutifully obliged by attending my local test centre. A note on the test centre: as a prospective law student, your local test centre is a building which you will enter twice in your life. Once to do your LNAT, and once to do your driving theory test. Neither are particularly pleasant experiences...
A state-school pupil who was invited to Oxford University for an interview for a place to read law decided against going along – and wrote her own letter of rejection to the university. In it, she said Oxford “did not quite meet the standard" of other universities.
I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law (Jurisprudence). I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application...
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.