"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns." -Mario Puzzo

Depending on who you ask, lawyers can be described as blood-sucking parasites or real-life heroes who constantly look to help people and see justice served. The fact of the matter is that lawyers are essential in today's world, whether you love them or hate them.

Whether honest or not, lawyers do their best to uphold the law and ensure that the bad guys get put away and that the good guys aren't wrongly convicted.

So, without further delay, in today's article, we shall highlight some of the essential aspects and tidbits of information about lawyers to inform readers or curious ones who are on edge about studying the law full-time at uni.

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Which Type of Lawyer Earns the Most?

the money lawyers make
London-based corporate barristers tend to make the most money in comparison to other legal professionals in the UK. (Source: Unsplash)

If you're in it for the money, before starting law school or specialising in a specific area of the law, you probably are curious to know which type of lawyer earns the most annually. Knowing which lawyer makes the most is a tricky question to answer. Hence, it's important to state that to determine which lawyer rakes in the highest salary per year in the United Kingdom, the following factors need to be considered:

  • Which city the lawyer works in,
  • Whether the person is employed as a barrister or a solicitor,
  • Which law firm they are working for,
  • What type of law they have specialised in,
  • How many years of experience practising the law.

Why do all the previously mentioned factors need to be analysed to discover the average salary? Well, for instance, those who work in bigger cities at prestigious firms tend to have the opportunity for larger paychecks than solicitors working in rural areas at small law offices. Also, recently graduated lawyers will never make as much money as barristers who have owned their practice for decades. Lastly, the type of law that a solicitor works in makes all the difference since it is worth stating that those who engage in corporate or finance law will always make more than civil litigators or those who practice family law.

Nonetheless, it is essential to state that it is still possible to find a median or average of how much money barristers or solicitors can make per year in cities and towns around the United Kingdom when considering all the factors. 

Firstly, barristers tend to work alone and rent out a workspace at chambers; this means that a stable paycheck is not guaranteed, but the complete sum of earnings goes to the barrister when there are clients. Therefore, barristers tend to make a bit more money than solicitors and expect to receive an average yearly salary ranging between £50,000 and 200,000.

Secondly, since solicitors primarily work in law firms, they receive regular pay and tend to make a little bit less than barristers unless they are named partner or have years of experience. However, according to the statistics available for full-time workers, the yearly income of a solicitor in the UK is nothing to scoff at since they can expect to receive £62,000 per year. Don't be surprised, though, if solicitors in London or Birmingham make a salary of more than £100,000 per year. 

So, when all things are considered, we can safely say that, in most situations,  a barrister who works in the London area and who has experience in corporate or finance law is likely to make the most money annually. It isn't a surprise for corporate lawyers to earn more than £100,000 per year, even from the beginning of their career.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Study Law?

Preparing yourself to become a lawyer starts in secondary school by choosing specific GCSEs and A-Levels to help you more effectively succeed during law school. The following are a few GCSE and A-Level topics that young, aspiring lawyers should take:

  • History, 
  • Geography, 
  • Sciences,
  • Modern Languages,
  • Maths. 

Any topic that encourages and includes research, analysis, and communication will give students an edge when applying for law schools. What other qualifications are needed to study law?

The next major and probably most crucial qualification requires a qualifying law degree (LLB) at a reputable university in the UK. After a law degree was successfully given to a student, as of September 2021, the two sections of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) must be completed so that lawyers in training may possess the necessary skills to take on cases and defend clients.

Furthermore, after the SQE is passed, the next step is to qualify for and complete two years of required legal work at a law firm or similar place; this may include a training contract. Depending on whether an individual wants to become a solicitor or a barrister, there is a paid period known as pupillage that must be completed at a chamber or law firm under the supervision of more experienced legal professionals.

It is essential to state that the details mentioned above relate to the most typical pathway to qualifications; however, there are other qualifications such as CILEx Professional Qualification (CPQ) and other things.

How Many Years Does it Take to Study Law?

barristers and solicitors
One of the primary differences between barristers and solicitors is that barristers fight in the courthouse, whereas solicitors prepare cases at the office. (Source: Unsplash)

No matter where you live on planet earth, there is one sure thing: you have to go to law school to become a lawyer. To have clients, work at a firm, and boast the abilities required to stand your ground in the courtroom, a law degree at a reputable university is indispensable.

Thankfully, the UK is a further education Mecca with so many Unis to choose from that offer undergraduate law programmes. Such as? The following are five of the best universities for aspiring barristers and solicitors:

  • The University of Oxford, 
  • The University of Cambridge, 
  • London School of Economics and Political Science, 
  • University College London, 
  • King's College London.

The previously mentioned universities are pretty competitive so that that acceptance could become a challenge depending on your grades. Nonetheless, how long does it take to study the law to become qualified as a working lawyer?

We shall look at the A to Z process of how both barristers and solicitors become equipped with the necessary skills of a working lawyer.

Becoming a Barrister

Barristers tend to be self-employed and find clients by themselves; however, they are offered jobs at government entities, private companies, or charities when they do work in employed practice.

Before an excellent salary of over £100,000 can be enjoyed, aspiring barristers must complete the three following steps of education that takes about five years to complete:

  1. Finish a three-year law degree at a university in the UK or abroad, 
  2. Complete a year of studying and preparing for the Bar examination, 
  3. Conclude a one year trainee or pupillage program in chambers with experienced barristers. 

It is essential to state that barristers in training receive a minimum salary determined by the firm or chamber during the pupillage program.

After completing all three steps that take approximately five years, the hard work and studying pay off because a person can then be viewed as a working barrister!

The Time it Takes to Become a Solicitor.

Solicitors work for private firms and often work on cases as a team with other like-minded legal professionals. Solicitors are champions of justice and do all they can to protect their clients from any legal issues. Solicitors can participate in various fields of law such as civil litigation, corporate, finance, family, and tax law.

To become a working solicitor at a law firm takes approximately five to six years, and successful completion involves passing all the following steps:

  • A three-year degree-level qualification in law or another similar field of study, 
  • A solicitor in training must pass both parts of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE),
  • Finish two years of relevant full-time or part-time work at a law office or similar. 

Once the three previously mentioned steps are completed, the fresh and new solicitor must adhere to the SRA's character and suitability requirements. Why does it take between five and six years to become a solicitor? The completion of the SQE depends on how fast you are and how motivated you are to finish.

Do Lawyers Have a Healthy Work-Life Balance?

working and living the life
A healthy work-life balance is possible for lawyers if they put their phone down and decide to say no at times. (Source: Unsplash)

After years of observing past generations of working professionals getting overwhelmed, feeling burnt out, and experiencing stress, millennial workers are determined to have a healthy work-life balance, contributing to more favourable mental health.

A healthy work-life equilibrium results from keeping work in its place and enjoying a positive personal life outside of the office. 

Studies have shown that those who do their best to have a favourable work-life balance are happier at home and get more done during working hours. However, the question arises, are lawyers known for having a healthy work-life balance? The answer to that question hangs on two things:

  • The law firm, 
  • The lawyer. 

Traditional or old-fashioned law firms that are used to doing things their way might not see the benefits of a healthy work-life environment if they are focused merely on profits and deadlines and not the well-being of their employees. However, since we're getting deeper into the 21st century and times are changing, it is worth stating that many law firms now allow lawyers to decide between a conventional or flexible schedule.

A conventional schedule is more rigid, yet it allows those who are career-oriented to work long hours and develop themselves professionally. On the other hand, a flexible working routine allows barristers or solicitors to change their schedule and be more present for events in their personal lives.

Therefore, when it comes down to it, each working lawyer has the decision to choose whether or not they want to implement the aspects of a work-life balance and enjoy life to the full. If a positive work-life balance is determined, certain habits should be avoided and others to warmly embrace as they should be in today's world.

In conclusion, working in the legal field as a lawyer is a rewarding profession that should be explored if you love the law and seek to help others when faced with legal battles.

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.