HOW TO QUALIFY AS A SOLICITOR

I am a Personal Injury Solicitor at Personal Injury Pal which is the Personal Injury Department of Coley & Tilley Solicitors, Birmingham.

Helen Powell, Personal Injury Pal, Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham

My aim is to offer a step-by-step guide on “how to qualify as a solicitor.”

My background

I first decided I wanted to be a solicitor when I was giving evidence for the prosecution in a Magistrates’ Court.  I was in awe of the criminal solicitor who was vigorously defending his client.  I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue a career in law as a solicitor.

I have never been a criminal solicitor because of the unsociable hours which would have been impossible as my children were only young at the start of my training.

It was a struggle for me to complete the route necessary to qualify as a solicitor.  Not only did I have young children, but I also worked. Firstly, I completed my law degree which I did part-time.  Then the legal practice course and finally the relevant training before reaching my ultimate goal:- I was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in August 2005!

I have worked in personal injury since the Year 2000 only diverting once for one year when I trained in family law.

I do enjoy my job and have no regrets, although it is a tough career with plenty of challenges thrown into the mix, usually on a daily basis.  I meet clients most days, the phone never seems to stop ringing and then it’s back to the paperwork. There are decisions to be made, problems to solve, all of which require you to take the occasional risk.  I negotiate settlements and there is nothing more rewarding than at the end of the personal injury claim than handing my client a cheque for compensation for their injuries.  I do attend court, but it is less likely if you are a personal injury solicitor, than say if you are a family or criminal solicitor. I am also becoming more involved in marketing, including digital marketing.

THE DIFFERENT ROUTES ON HOW TO QUALIFY AS A SOLICITOR

The Law Graduate Route to qualify as a solicitor

  1. Degree in Law* (3 years full time)
  2. Legal Practice Course* (1 year full time)
  3. Training Contract** (2 years in practice based training)
  4. Professional Skills Course (12 days tuition whilst in practice based training)
  5. Admission to Roll – Qualified Solicitor     (6 years altogether)

*Part-time courses available.

**Training Contract –The Solicitors Regulations Authority have now published guidance (July 2014) allowing paralegals who have passed a legal practise course to qualify as solicitors without having to complete a formal training contract.  The SRA has stressed that the equivalent means of training will be no less rigorous.

The Non-Law Graduate Route to qualify as a solicitor

  1. Degree in any subject*(3 years full time)
  2. Graduate Diploma in Law* (1 year full time)
  3. Legal Practice Course* (1 year full time)
  4. Training Contract** (2 years in practice based training)
  5. Professional Skills Course (12 days tuition whilst in practice based training)
  6. Admission to Roll – Qualified Solicitor     (7 years altogether)

*Part-time courses available.

**Training Contract –The Solicitors Regulations Authority have now published guidance (July 2014) allowing paralegals who have passed a legal practise course to qualify as solicitors without having to complete a formal training contract.  The SRA has stressed that the equivalent means of training will be no less rigorous.

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) Route to qualify as a solicitor

Member Route

(No period of qualifying legal employment is required – but you need a training contract)

  1. CILEX exams undertaken
  • CILEX Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice
  • CILEX Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice
  • CILEX Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice
  • (4 years part-time usually whilst gaining employment experience in legal work)
  1. Graduate Member of CILEX
  2. Legal Practice Course* (Usually employed and would probably opt for part-time 2 years)
  3. Training Contract** (2 years in practice based training)
  4. Professional Skills Course (12 days tuition whilst in practice based training)
  5. Admission to Roll – Qualified Solicitor     (8 years altogether)

*Full time courses available.

**Training Contract –The Solicitors Regulations Authority have now published guidance (July 2014) allowing paralegals who have passed a legal practise course to qualify as solicitors without having to complete a formal training contract.  The SRA has stressed that the equivalent means of training will be no less rigorous.

Fellowship Route

(This route involves working and training under the supervision of a solicitor for 2 years after gaining membership therefore exempt training contract)

  1. CILEX exams undertaken
  • CILEX Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice
  • CILEX Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice
  • CILEX Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice
  • (4 years part-time usually whilst gaining employment experience in legal work)
  1. Graduate Member of CILEX
  2. Completion of 5 years employment experience in legal work, including at least 2 years consecutive experience which falls after the completion of CILEX Level 6 exam
  3. Fellowship of CILEX
  4. Legal Practice Course* (Usually employed and would probably opt for part-time 2 years)
  5. Professional Skills Course (12 days tuition whilst in practice based training)
  6. Admission to Roll – Qualified Solicitor     (8 years altogether)

*Full time courses available.

Graduate “Fast Track” Diploma Route

(Exempt training contract)

  1. Law Degree (3 years full time)
  2. Graduate “Fast Track” Diploma* (Usually employed and would probably opt for part-time 2 years)
  3. Graduate Member of CILEX
  4. Completion of 5 years employment experience in legal work, including at least 2 years consecutive experience which falls after the completion of Graduate “Fast Track” Diploma
  5. Fellowship of CILEX
  6. Legal Practice Course* (Usually employed and would probably opt for part-time 2 years)
  7. Professional Skills Course (12 days tuition whilst in practice based training)
  8. Admission to Roll – Qualified Solicitor     (10 years altogether)

*Full time courses available.

(More detailed information can be found on the Law Society website and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executive’s website.)

Helen Powell, Personal Injury Pal, Personal Injury Solicitors Birmingham certificate

Personal Injury Pal, Personal Injury Solicitors, Birmingham wish you luck in whatever career you choose to pursue!

We are happy to help with any queries.  Please contact Helen Powell on 0121 643 5531 or by emailing her at helen.powell@coleyandtilley.co.uk