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BBC takes ‘fresh look’ at the legal profession with new podcast for aspiring lawyers

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‘Not All Lawyers Have Law Degrees’ champions atypical routes into law

The BBC’s legal division has launched a new podcast series aimed at aspiring lawyers who don’t fit the cookie cutter mould.

When Lucy Moorman, executive producer of the ‘Not All Lawyers Have Law Degrees’ podcast, trained to become a barrister some 25 years ago, you had to have 12 formal dinners in your Inns of Court and dress in a black robe surrounded by ‘benchers’. She explains how being ‘called to the bar’ — the ceremony at which barristers are formally recognised to have passed the vocational stage of training — could well have meant being quite literally being called to the bar to finish a drink, so far as she was concerned.

Language and its potential to become exclusionary, is a key talking point in the first episode of the podcast where BBC lawyer, Brigit Morris, chats to well-known barrister and author Mohsin Zaidi about his journey into law and the advice he received along the way.

The barrister recalls the awkward moment when some rather colourful messages popped up on his iPad while he was assisting a Supreme Court justice with a speech on marriage equality.

Featuring some of the BBC’s own lawyers, alongside guest speakers, the episodes look at different career paths and what each individual wished they knew when first embarking on their legal career. Other episodes are more practical, with guest speakers from the likes of the Law Society, The University of Law, Inns of Court and graduate recruitment — offering guidance on qualifying, funding, support and applying for jobs.

Each episode is intended to be wholly relatable, particularly for those from backgrounds still underrepresented in the profession. A recent episode, for example, features Leila Lesan, policy advisor for social mobility at The Law Society. Lesan explains the practicalities of becoming a solicitor, how to access funding, and why she looks for “potential over polish” in a candidate.

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The launch of ‘Not All Lawyers Have Law Degrees’ comes amid a major shake-up to the route to qualification as solicitor in England and Wales — namely the Solicitors Qualifying Examination.

In April of this year, the BBC announced its partnership with ULaw to launch its new SQE apprenticeship for graduates. The new pathway enables apprentices to combine studying for the SQE at ULaw with two years qualifying work experience (QWE) across four seats in the BBC’s legal team in London. The broadcasting giant’s apprenticeship route will replace its traditional training contract programme which saw wannabe lawyers self-fund the LPC.

‘Not All Lawyers Have Law Degrees’ is a podcast from the BBC Legal team, available on Apple, Spotify and Acast.

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11 Comments

Anon

Not all lawyers have law degrees, some of them went to St Paul’s and studied Geography, Classics or English at Oxford

(24)(0)

These people

No-one studies “classics” at Oxford, darling. One studies Literae Humaiores, but the cognoscenti call it Greats.

(6)(1)

FGS

This helps the speakers more than it helps applicants.

People with EED at A Level and 2:2s from Kingston should absolutely NOT be encouraged to take out £30,000 loans for the GDL/BPTC/LPC because they ‘dream’ of being a lawyer.

Get into entrepreneurship, retrain in a STEM subject or pick up new skills in coding/tech as a way of potentially earning a lucrative living without the need to face debt and disappointment.

(20)(1)

Wokie Woke

This is so problematic! A 2:2 from Kingston is the same as an Oxbridge first!!! Stop being so elitist. 🤬

(7)(1)

Anonymous

God, I noticed the Bar Council is pushing a panel that is talking about institution blind CV processes. It’s coming, heaven help us all.

(5)(0)

Lol

It’s okay, chambers will still be able to tell who went where by looking at spelling/writing style (the polytechnic students will write things like “Im passionate about justice and like helping people and stuff”)

(5)(3)

Virtue Signalling

They can hide the institution name, but if someone’s CV says ‘Queen’s Scholar, Westminster School’ or ‘Head Boy, Haberdashers’ Aske’s’, I don’t see what exactly the Bar Council is trying to achieve?

(2)(0)

Eaton Sq.

This is a bad idea. If you need a podcast to tell you this you lack the research skills needed to succeed at university or in practice. Please go into another career.

(4)(0)

Anon....

I know a guy, who didn’t do very well at A-level, and is much like an individual you comment on above, has graduated with a 3rd from a second class university and has even managed to get a job at a firm. Yes, it is high street, and I am sure that he only got the job because he represents an under represented group of people within the industry. That being said, I am not sure I would want him representing me, but however, it goes to show that it can be done.

Now, the majority of people in that position shouldn’t be encouraged, however, what about an older individual who is changing careers and has several years of valuable experience? It totally depends on the circumstances.

(1)(6)

Facts, yo

What most people consider ‘valuable experience’ isn’t what the Bar considers valuable or ultimately, marketable.

Most chambers would still rather take a 27 year old from a Public School and family money for a BCL than a high street solicitor with 20 years experience from a disadvantaged background.

(0)(0)

Anon

I presume there’s no way of finding out, unfortunately, but I’d assume there are still vastly more barristers with first-degree family members who are QCs than barristers who do not hold undergraduate degrees. Bravo to both the people featured if they did not, but it should not be sugar-coated.

(0)(1)

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