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A graduate’s guide to getting into the legal profession

Posted in Candidates, Legal Roles

Published on 01 February, 2021

If it wasn’t daunting enough entering the legal sphere as a fledgling student, it certainly is now as the market adapts and flexes to the ‘new normal’ created by the pandemic. 

So, what should newly qualified law candidates do in 2021 to make themselves stand out in this line of work and land their dream job?

Qualifications are great, but not crucial

The legal jobs market is extremely competitive and because of this, a lot of legal firms ask for qualifications. Employers are usually looking for entry-level candidates to either have a BA or LLB university degree and an LPC or BPTC, or they need to be interested in pursuing the CILEX (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) route whilst on the job. 

However, there are cases where you can skip the university route; some firms offer legal apprenticeships instead to help you get on the legal ladder. 

Be passionate about your specialism

Employers look for entry level candidates to be passionate and knowledgeable about the area of law that they are applying for. Therefore, candidates need to consider their options when it comes to specialisms and be able to demonstrate in-depth and relevant understanding gained whilst at university or during any time spent involved volunteering in the sector. This could be in the form of work experience or law clinics (which are still taking place remotely at this time).

Any candidate looking to start their legal career needs to proactively research different specialisms and explore how these translate in the working world, as most of the time, this is very different to studying the subject whilst at university. 

In terms of picking your specialism early on, this is extremely important as, often, this will be the area of law that you will be tied to for the foreseeable future. Focus on where your passion lies.

Be prepared to innovate

As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has been hastily pushed online. Technology is, and will continue to be, a crucial element of any legal firm for the foreseeable future. 

Legal candidates need to not only show proficient digital expertise which can prove fruitful to client relationships, internal and external marketing and making certain tasks much easier and more effective, but they must also demonstrate an interest in innovation. 

To stay competitive, firms will need to grasp new technologies, such as AI and machine learning, with both hands and use them to bolster, improve and grow their current service offerings. New candidates need to show passion for professional development in these areas that, only a year ago, were nowhere near the forefront of the sector and perhaps weren’t even on their university syllabus. 

The legal industry will continue to be a challenging, yet rewarding, industry to enter. However, 2021 will undoubtedly see big changes for all legal firms in the UK, some of which will greatly appeal to the next generation of lawyers and will create a shake-up for the industry we couldn’t have comprehended only a few years ago. 

Senior Consultant - Legal Division

Sophia joined Cathedral Appointments in April 2016 as a Senior Consultant. She had previously run her own recruitment business but missed the buzz of working with fellow recruiters! Her law degree gives her a distinct advantage working with legal candidates and firms of solicitors. She is a great team player, good fun in the office and fab on a night out - although she can't really remember much the next day!

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A graduate’s guide to getting into the legal profession

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