There are certain things you need to be a lawyer. You’ve got to be determined. Hard-working. Switched on to the world around you. But at PRIME, we know those are traits anyone can have. They can’t be bought. They don’t come from private school education, or your parents’ finances. They’re part of who you are, and the person you want to be. So if you want to work in law, you can come from any background at all. Any culture. Any social group. If you’ve got the right attitude, you can become a great lawyer. It all starts here, with legal work experience from PRIME.
Before you go looking for legal work experience, you might want to know more about what it means to be a lawyer. Here are the three main roles in the UK:
The experience you’ll find with most of our firms is the kind of work you’d do as a solicitor. It’s typically all about working with businesses to provide legal advice. If a client wants to build a skyscraper or copyright a piece of technology or open shops in a new country, they’ll come to you as a solicitor.
Most solicitors work for a law firm, but if you’re in-house counsel, you’ll do the same work for just one company. It might be a bank, a search engine, a TV company – all kinds of businesses have in-house teams. Instead of working with lots of different clients, you’ll work only for your company, specialising in their industry.
If you’re thinking of lawyers in terms of making an argument in court, those are usually barristers. They’ll generally only get involved once a case has to go to court, and they’ll be hired by solicitors to represent their client.
If you enjoy your work experience and want to take it further, you might pursue a career as a solicitor or a barrister. If you end up with a firm like those who make up PRIME, then you’ll start as a trainee solicitor for two years, then work your way up to associate. Then, for those ready to be challenged at the highest level, you could even aim for partner. At every stage in your development, you’ll become a more senior lawyer, known in your field. You might even become a judge one day.
How you apply will vary from firm to firm, and you’ll find out how to apply on each company’s profile. That said, there are some tips we can give you, no matter where you go:
Don’t worry about trying to look impressive. Our law firms aren’t expecting you to have experience – but they’ll look for enthusiasm and ambition to succeed.
As much as you can, double-check your application for spelling and grammar. If that’s not your strong suit, ask a parent, a teacher, a sibling – anyone who can be a second pair of eyes.
Chances are, your firm will ask you some pretty straightforward questions – but it never hurts to make sure you’ve checked. Did you answer the right question? Is there anything you’ve missed?
We use a specially developed tool to help ensure that all participants in PRIME programmes come from less socially mobile backgrounds where access to the profession is particularly difficult. This means we can understand your achievements in the context of your personal circumstances and compare your application fairly with the benefit of more information. You can learn more about CRS
Students’ experiences are better when we all work together, and that’s clear to see in the following videos and case studies:
Watch Emma's story
"The PRIME Programme has made me realise it doesn't matter what background you come from, what school you come from - it's about you as a person and what abilities you bring"
Emma De Costa
Josh Redmond, Hogan Lovells trainee, completed the PRIME Pathways to Law Programme with Hogan Lovells and the Sutton Trust. In his film he talks about how being yourself is important to succeed in a career in law.
Watch Josh's story
My Week at Irwin Mitchell
"Everyone at Irwin Mitchell was so welcoming and kind, it made me feel part of the team in every department I worked in. Before my experience at Irwin Mitchell, I didn’t consider Law as a pathway for me in the future, however after this breath-taking week, I now have my mind set on Law.”
Burges Salmon has Worked with over 750 Young People in Local Schools
“Bright Sparks definitely sparked my interest in studying law at university. It was a very fulfilling experience which gave me an unprecedented access to the legal profession, I would highly recommend it”.
Former Bright Spark and Law Student at the University of Bristol
Golddy's Story with Trowers & Hamlins
"My PRIME week at the firm was incredibly enjoyable and continues to be my favourite work experience placement by far. The friendly feel of the place, the detailed insight I received into its day-to-day practices and the unique way it overlaps into being a city firm, but also a regional and international firm attracted me. "
From PRIME Student to Summer Student
“I was part of one of the first intakes of students in the PRIME initiative, whereby a small number of secondary school students are shown a taste of what life is like in a law firm. I can honestly say that that week was one of the most exciting things to have happened to us all year! It was that experience, led by Brodies, that first opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in law.”
Sengova's Ladder to Law
"Through the PRIME accredited Hogan Lovells’ work, I attended further insight days at the firm. These were very helpful as I participated in workshops with other students where I analysed case studies on commercial deals that Hogan Lovells had worked on. I was able to further understand the roles that lawyers play in business."