Thursday, 30 July 2009

To pursue a dream: A futile exercise or a passion worth striving for?

Just as I was pondering my career options post-degree, whether to apply for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or do a Masters, or pursue something else entirely, having been made to feel like I wasn't good enough and would never get anywhere by a law lecturer who shall remain anonymous (not just me I hasten to add, he told an entire lecture theatre this), I was very recently reminded that I should never give up my dream. This being a dream, a vision, a passion, call it what you will, that I've had for several years. I've always wanted to study law, to get into the profession, to make a difference. I'd never envisaged doing anything else. But then I was told I was naïve. Maybe. But I'd rather be naïve than attempting to enter the legal profession because I was being seduced by the idea of the Magic Circle, the mega salaries and the extravagant bonuses. I've never been interested in working in the elitist firms and earning a fortune. I want to work in the legal profession for truly altruistic reasons. I want to help people. I want to make a difference. And to be honest, I'm not bothered if I'm not making a killer fortune.

The Law Society have recently (28th July 2009) tried to dissuade potential students and applicants from embarking on a career in law. I know there is a recession and that lawyers across different sectors are being laid off, and that training contracts have been made even more scarce, and as a result of this, it's going to get increasingly harder to progress from a degree to a career. Fair enough, I know it's expensive. Degrees and professional qualifications are not cheap. Students need to be realistically aware of the debt involved. But what about those of us that have that dream, that vision, that passion of having a career in law? The comments on the above article certainly made for interesting reading.

Anonymous | 28-Jul-2009 7:46 pm
"Now it is open to anyone with £10,000 and a dream. It is a shame all round."

Yes it is a god damn shame that those of us with a real passion for the Law are being dissuaded, discouraged and shoved out of the door with not so much as a backward glance. Who wants a generic work force? Surely passion and dreams are the keys to having an amazing career that we care about and genuinely approach with enthusiasm?

Saying that, students are constantly being fed the idea that the route to a career is a rosy path. Degree, LPC, training contract (TC) and ta-da you've made it. Sorry, but these days it's just not that simple. To believe that this is the only route to becoming a solicitor is misleading. I for one, thought that was the only way. But then my eyes were truly opened. There are alternative routes. Having the LPC qualification under your belt does not guarantee you a training contract. However, at Law School, the idea of undergoing formal training with the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) is much under-publicized. It's a much more affordable route, and you don't have to have a 2 year training contract to complete at the end of it. And you can enter it at any stage, whether that's without any professional qualifications, with a law degree, or with or without the LPC. This is definitely a route I am going to further research.

Some of the more positive comments on the above mentioned story are more in line with my way of thinking.

Anonymous | 28-Jul-2009 10:13 pm
"This is all about personality. If one has an abundance of drive and ambition (and a bit of technical ability) one will get very far in this profession. The art of bullshit needs to be learned in these tough times. The Law Society needs to back off."

Anonymous | 29-Jul-2009 10:45 am
"The job market as a whole is suffering. If law is your passion, if it is truly what you want to do with your life, then nothing can stand in your way."

Jack Vance | 30-Jul-2009 0:30 am
"But if you have a 2.1 from a decent uni and interest in and aptitude for legal practice, then you should get a position somewhere if you are more open minded and less short term focused. Someone who is focused will always do well in whatever legal practice area they choose. I don't care if it's criminal law. The top criminal lawyers in England make very good money. Become an expert in whatever field you choose and you'll do very well."

If you take anything from this, it should be that your dream is the one thing that nobody can take from you. Go after it, chase it, pursue it, make it real, make it happen, no matter who puts you down or the obstacles that may stand in your way.

Anonymous | 30-Jul-2009 8:56 am
"I recommend anyone who truly wants be a solicitor and didn't get their first or doesn't have the family connections, get off your ass and get creative!!!"

Believe in yourself, believe in your dream and have the courage to fight for it. Stand your ground, fight your corner and say your piece. You will get there in the end if you want it enough. Your passion is worth striving for.

Until next time,

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