There are three stages to complete to become a solicitor in England and Wales.
Stage One: Academic Study. The first stage is academic and involves you gaining a qualifying law degree ('QLD') that includes the seven core subjects. The LLB (Hons) course at the Wolverhampton Law School is a QLD. If you study a non-qualifying law degree (i.e. a different subject or your law degree does not cover all of the seven core subjects) then you can take a postgraduate conversion course, such as the LLM Common Professional Examination at Wolverhampton Law School before progressing onto the next stage.
Stage Two: Vocational study. The second stage prepares you for work in practice by developing your practical application of the knowledge acquired during your QLD. You will need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC), which is offered by a number of providers, including Wolverhampton Law School. This can be completed on a one year full-time and two year part-time basis. Places on this course are limited and it is therefore important that you apply during the first semester of your final undergraduate year or the final year of your conversion course to ensure your place. As well as developing your legal knowledge, the LPC also develops the key skills that you will need as a solicitor. Find out more about the LPC here.
Stage Three: Practical. The final stage to becoming a solicitor is practical. Before qualifying as a solicitor you will need to complete a training contract, in order to develop your skills and their application in practice. A training contract will typically be for a period of two years with a firm of solicitors or in the legal department of a local authority or commercial organisation. Once you have successfully completed the training contract you will be qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales.
There are alternative routes into the profession, though these are less common and do not guarantee qualification as a solicitor.
A number of employers, especially larger law firms, start interviewing students as early as the second year of their undergraduate degree so that they can begin training contracts immediately upon completion of the Legal Practice Course. It is therefore important to be thinking about your future career during your degree and making yourself an appealing candidate to prospective employers. The Careers and Employment team can help you address this.
You can find more about how to become a solicitor at www.lawcareers.net
There is a different route to becoming a solicitor in Scotland. For more information about this please contact the Careers and Employment team.