While being a solicitor can be a lucrative and rewarding career choice, there are many times when you will be forced to work long hours, and deal with tedious and unexciting tasks. Anyone wishing to be a solicitor has to undergo academic, vocational, legal practice, contract training, and professional skills courses to qualify. The training process can take at least 4 years (full-time training) to complete. Outlined below are some of the key stages to becoming a licensed solicitor.
1. Academic Training Stage
Like any other attorney, a solicitor needs to study a qualifying law degree at an undergraduate level. Non-graduates, however, need to take a law conversion course before taking on a legal practice course. These courses can take one year each to complete. Some of the legal courses one should take for foundation include criminal law, equity and trusts law, tort law, property law, public law, and the European Union Law. Aspiring solicitors also receive advanced legal research training to equip them for tasks ahead better.
2. Vocational and Legal Practice Courses
These stages entail getting trained for professional skills, contract training, and even taking on a legal practice course. This helps prepare you for field work and how to handle clients, judges, and most importantly, the jury. The main aim of taking on these training courses is to help improve your communication skills, advocacy and oral presentation, client care, dispute resolution, interviewing and advising, negotiation, and additional legal research skills.
3. Professional Skills Course
This is one of the most important and an essential requirement for solicitors. Law graduates have to take on or attend PSC training which comprises of a 12-day full-time training. The core modules in professional skills training courses include professional standards and client care, communication skills and advocacy, and business/financial skills. Attendees have to take an exam after the training period for assessment.
4. Work as a solicitor
Upon passing your bar exams and other additional courses needed to become a lawyer, you can then get a certificate confirming you as a solicitor. The training period may however vary from one person to another, though most people take at least 3.5 years to be certified. One however has to take on small cases or even find a mentor to learn the ropes in the industry. The best thing about being a solicitor is that you get to earn more money in the long run, and also provide better representation to your clients. A career as a solicitor can be particularly lucrative if you specialise in one area of law, as is the case with this firm of search warrant solicitors: