What qualifications and training do I need?
What does a solicitor do?
A solicitor provides clients with skilled legal representation and advice. Clients can be individuals or companies and a solicitor can work in a number of different specialism areas.
They can work on house purchases, criminal matters, family matters, civil litigation, commercial work or with wills or trusts.
Some deal with a variety of problems, but most specialise.
Most work in private practices, with firms made up of partners.
They are instructed directly by clients and are governed by a professional body called the Law Society.
Skills and abilities
You need a high level of academic achievement, integrity, good communication skills, patience, discretion, a good command of language and problem-solving skills.
Qualifications and training
The Law Society governs the training of solicitors in
the academic and professional settings. Most, but not all entrants are graduates and non-law graduates take the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or a Postgraduate Diploma in Law.
The next stage is a legal practice course, which is one-year full time or two years part time.
The trainee solicitor then has to undertake a two-year training contract with an authorised firm.
During the course of this, a 20-day professional skills course is undertaken, usually on a modular basis.
What is the salary?
Salaries vary but graduate trainees can receive up to pounds 20,000 in London but provincial solicitors and smaller firms may pay slightly less. On average, qualified solicitors specialising in criminal law earn pounds 28,000 to pounds 30,000 (correct/checked). Others specialising in different areas can potentially earn far more.
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