LCQT: Questions, Answered
For those who couldn’t make it, here are some of the Law Careers Question Time panellist answers! It was a great evening, with some great contributions by both the professionals and students.
Here are a couple of responses I managed to scribble down in time…
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What are the biggest factors impacting the legal profession?
– Levels of funding and government cuts
– Legal aid cuts, and a lack of profitability, less lawyers for legal aid people to go to
– Demand for mediation and arbitration is increasing in demand (lawyers are having to adapt their skills)
Where are the big growth areas of law?
– Contracts and EU procurement growth area (difficult to recruit lawyers in that area)
– Commercial property goes up and down with the market, after credit crunch, decline, as the market increases it comes back up
– Planning law; as planning is the most dynamic area of property law
As a paralegal, what are you responsibilities?
– Dealing with clients, solicitors, agents
– Draft enquiries, request searches, mortgage reports, sale reports
Should you become a paralegal first?
– Ignore the mad rush to get a training contract, take time to find out what you are interested in, get experience with simple things like preparing bundles: you can only benefit from more experience!
– When we recruit, the more they can show they have done to show they know what it is like in court the better
– Being a paralegal gives you the ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines, manage client demands, and I would recommend it
Would you recommend the CILEx route?
– It’s good if you’ve gained qualifying employment already. The awful bit is the work based learning record. It’s so boring.
– Advantages are that as an Exec you can now be an A grade fee earners, and earn at the same level as a solicitor. There is no longer a distinction.
What do you think of the proposed SRA Super-exam?
– The idea of external assessment is fine, but the problem is that it will be multi-choice. Also the number and intensity of the exams you have to sit may be a step back to the old times.
– There also may be disadvantages as some of the groups that are meant to be advantaged.
– I wonder whether it will achieve the benefits it says it will achieve? Is the training burden being shifted from providers to employers?
Should you take the LPC before or after applying for TCs?
– Figures say that many do, though employers will take on the person even if they haven’t passed – but there is heavy emphasis on work experience
– Doing the LPC first helped hugely when I took on the paralegal role – core subjects are particularly good – as you pick up many skills that are vital as a paralegal too, and you know how you to interpret things better
– The LPC is very expensive; and city firms really don’t care as they recruit two years in advance and will look at your whole profile
Do you have any advice for your younger self?
– Don’t think of things too narrowly – don’t have only one path in your mind – there are many different areas, don’t feel you need to specialise too soon – don’t be niche too early
– Have an open mind, you don’t have to stick to the lawyer path, being a lawyer isn’t a means to an end, it is just a job
– Have more confidence, self-confidence, not arrogance
– Don’t be in such a rush to get to that end goal, enjoy your studies, and the journey on the way
– Have a back-up plan if it doesn’t work out, it is good to have something to fall back on – what are you going to do if it fails? It can be something completely different! It’s prudent, you can always go back to law later
– Get as much experience as you possible, grab every opportunity you can
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A big thank you to all the panellists who took the time to come, and for their great contributions, and helpful advice!