Video: Alternative routes to becoming a lawyer

Avatar photo

By The Careers Team on

How law students can make it into the legal profession without doing a training contract — the full discussion


As traditional routes to qualification as a lawyer undergo a huge shake-up, some of the long-standing assumptions about how to get a foothold in the legal profession are being challenged.

On Thursday evening Legal Cheek Careers brought together a panel of lawyers and recruitment experts at the forefront of developments in legal education and training and sat them in front of an audience of over 100 students, who got to ask them whatever questions they liked.

What emerged was a clear sense of a profession keen to make itself more open to potential new recruits, and in doing so willing to embrace a host of alternative routes to qualification that until a few years ago would have been unthinkable.

But will students who come through these new routes get treated the same as training contract do-ers? The message was a resounding ‘yes’, with the theme of the night how firms actively want the more practical, street-smart qualities that non-traditional types often bring.

Chairing the panel in the full video of the discussion above is Legal Cheek publisher Alex Aldridge, with the panellists, in order from left to right: Shaun Lawler, the first LPC graduate to qualify as a solicitor via the “paralegal shortcut” equivalent means route; Julie Brannan, head of education and training at the Solicitors Regulation Authority; Priya Krishan, director of legal education at Barbri and a former in-house lawyer at JP Morgan; Eleanor‎ Spencer-Damps, legal apprentice at Clyde & Co; Caroline Walsh, head of graduate and apprentice recruitment at Clyde & Co; and Kate Ace, co-architect of Mayer Brown‘s new earn-while-you-learn LLB and apprenticeship.

The event was hosted by New York Bar course provider Barbri International at the University of Liverpool’s London campus. Barbri provided drinks and canapés during the networking session and gave away a free return flight to New York in its post-discussion prize drawer. The lucky winner was Bournemouth University law student Marium Riaz (pictured below, with Barbri global chief executive Stephen Fredette and Barbri International managing director Sarah Hutchinson).

Congratulations to Marium Riaz, who won flights to New York courtesy of @barbri_inc

A photo posted by Legal Cheek (@legalcheek) on