The legal profession – fact or fiction

1 March, 2021

To celebrate National Careers Week the second year paralegal apprentices have put together a series of blog posts. Mia Hardiman begins the week with this blog post which sets out to uncover the reality of working in the legal profession. Across the rest of the week we will bring you blog posts on how to start a career in law, also an interview with a Partner, The Paralegal Manager and a newly qualified Associate to gain an insight into how the law has changed throughout their careers. Keep an eye out for these blog posts coming later this week! For any further information about National careers Week, please visit https://nationalcareersweek.com/.

Before joining Cripps Pemberton Greenish in 2019, much of what I thought about law firms came from popular television series or films such as ‘Suits’ and ‘Legally Blonde’. Now 18 months into my paralegal apprenticeship I have a much better idea of what it is really like to work in a law firm I am sharing the below to shed some light on what I have found to be fact and fiction during my career so far.

 

Fact

There is always a variety – There is more to the legal world than just criminal law. Most law firms specialize in a variety of areas such as corporate, private client and real estate. Whilst studying you will learn about most of the main areas but there can be opportunities to branch out into niche areas such as Intellectual Property Law if you wish.

Soft skills are key – Skills such as good communication, social intelligence, decisiveness, flexibility and responsibility are put into practice every day with a career in law. These attributes are the foundation on which legal work is built upon and will put anyone in good stead to kick start their journey into law.

It is hard work – Dedication and resilience are essential when working as a legal professional. It is difficult to adapt sometimes to the fast pace of legal work, but one thing is for sure, there will always be something new and different to learn and you will never be bored.

 

Fiction

Law firms are cut throat, ruthless and old fashioned – Despite public opinion, lawyers are people too and the idea that we are all stuck in the dark ages most definitely does not apply to a modern law firm. No matter how long anyone at Cripps has been working in the legal profession, everyone is approachable, welcoming and above all professional.

Lawyers attend court everyday – This is a common misconception about the day to day life of a legal career. Yes, contentious work can be a large part of the law but there are so many other areas of non-contentious work that the majority of lawyers work in.

A law degree from university is the only way to become a lawyer – Although a law degree is one way of starting your legal career, it is not the only option. Apprenticeships are becoming an ever more popular route for individuals to get their foot in the door; both paralegal and solicitor apprenticeships are offered by many law firms and in house legal teams of companies and councils.