Updated: Aug 27
By: Brigitte Whyte
Do you remember the moment when you made your first conscious choice about your career? How old were you? Was it a difficult decision? Do you remember thinking about becoming something else other than what you eventually chose? Thankfully, we are not all the same. People have different aspirations and interests that drive them towards various professions. A lawyer is one of those roles that comes with certain preconceived notions of prestige, exclusivity, and wealth. But why would someone want to be a lawyer? That’s a funny story… We all have our own reasons for wanting to be something—but what if it’s not just any lawyer but an immigration lawyer who works with asylum seekers? Let me tell you why my student wanted to become a lawyer…
A funny story why my student wanted to become a lawyer
I’ve worked with students from all over the world over the past few years. One of my students was from Iraq and she wanted to come to the UK to study law. She had heard that in the UK law was one of the most respected professions. When I asked her why she wanted to come to the UK and study law, she said: “Because it is a challenging degree and only smart people can achieve it.” I told her that in the UK not only do we have a lot of smart people, but there are also a lot of rich people so it’s not really a fair competition. She laughed.
Why do people want to become lawyers? Let’s start with the obvious first.
It’s not just about money!
If you want to become a lawyer for the money alone, you may be in for a big surprise. Becoming a lawyer has never been lucrative in terms of starting salaries when compared to other professions and industries. According to uk.talent.com, the starting salary for law school graduates in the UK is £22,000. This is significantly below almost every other graduate degree with the average starting salary for graduates in the UK being £25,000 per annum. However, the worst part is that these numbers only represent the median salary which means that there are a lot of people who earn much less than this.
Reasons People Don’t Become Lawyers
Law schools are expensive to attend. This makes the idea of going to law school less than appealing for some people, with the added uncertainty of finding a paralegal job or training contract after graduating. If you want to become a lawyer, you need to ask yourself if you are able to make this kind of financial investment as a student as you will likely need to take out student loans which you will be repaying once you start working.
It can be a long and tedious process. Becoming a lawyer is not something that happens quickly, as it can take years to go to law school, pass the SQE, gain two years of experience and start working as a solicitor on qualification.
You Can Help Change The World
There are many other ways to go about changing the world other than becoming a lawyer. However, there are very few paths that lead to the kind of social impact that being a lawyer can bring. You can help people win in court. You can defend people’s rights and provide a service that benefits so many different people from all walks of life.
You Can Become Rich and Famous
The potential to become rich and famous is perhaps one of the most attractive reasons for some people. Not only is it difficult to become rich and famous as a lawyer, but it’s also highly unlikely. This requires you to work with high-profile clients on high-profile matters and involves an element of luck.
You’ll Meet Important People (Networking Opportunities)
Lawyers network with each other more than any other profession. They go to events to meet others in the profession on a regular basis and become part of a powerful and influential network. Studying law also gives you a chance to become friends with other students, which opens up opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise. You have the chance to build long-term relationships with people who will become powerful in the future.
Choosing a career is not easy, and it can be even more difficult if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The best advice for those who are in their early twenties is to keep their options open. There’s no need to rush into a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life. Take your time, explore different options, and follow your heart. Choosing a career is a very serious matter, but it does not need to be a stressful one.