Pros and Cons of being a Solicitor

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6 October 2019

Pros and Cons of being a Solicitor

Unlike the law, quite often the decision to become a solicitor is not always black and white. 

In a sector and profession that continues to grow in popularity, are you motivated and determined enough to fight for every case? To take on the good and the bad, and really put the hours of training and work in? 

Ultimately, the work of a solicitor is wide and varied and it’s true when they say in this profession, that every day is different. 

However, before you make your decision, check out some of JWP Solicitors pros and cons of being a solicitor. 

Advantages of becoming a solicitor 

  • Respected Occupation. The role of a solicitor is highly valued and respected in the UK, and it can also be highly rewarding by working to achieve a successful outcome for your client or community. 

  • Excellent career progression. Within the law, there are numerous different types of law firms to work for, from family solicitors in Wakefield to criminal or divorce specialists in the city. There are also different areas which you can specialise in, and continuous challenges all pushing you further with exciting career prospects. 

  • Work is varied. You can be involved in all areas of life and provided with the opportunity to work on a variety and diverse set of cases. 

  • Work as part of a team. Within law firms, you will work as part of a team with support from your colleagues, legal secretaries, paralegals, etc. all at your aid. (Teamwork and people skills are essential for a positive team environment). 

  • Financially beneficial. A qualified solicitor starting salary can range from £25-£40k in small to medium-sized firms. £58 to £80k in large commercial and city firms and for Partners within law firms, salaries can range from upwards of £100k. 

  • You can work as a solicitor advocate. Similar to barristers, a solicitor advocate has the right to represent clients in court (providing they have advocacy training), meaning you can have the best of both worlds, carrying out advocacy work as a solicitor without the instability associated with the bar. 

  • You have the opportunity to set up on your own. After qualifying and gaining the experience you need, nothing can hold you back from starting your own business if this is your overriding ambition. 

  • You’re challenged. With complex cases, evolving cases, and more, every day is different. Problem-solving, strategizing, and firming hypotheses will all be key skills of a good solicitor. 

  • You get to argue for a living. If you enjoy the challenge of a healthy debate, the justice system could be the perfect career path for you. 

  • Develop transferable skills. The skills you learn through your academic experience can be transferred to several other professions such as legal consulting, publishing, administration, banking, technology, and more! 

Disadvantages of becoming a solicitor 

  • Competitive. Due to the popularity of this profession, competition for securing a training contract within a law firm is fierce. Today, there are more students graduating in law than there are training contracts available, making their time at university useless unless training can be carried out to qualify as a solicitor. 

  • Training contracts don’t always guarantee a job. In some firms, It is common practice for only a select few trainees to be kept on after their contract has ended, meaning for others they are left looking for other law firms to join! 

  • Long working hours. Depending on the size and where the firm is locatedworking hours will vary considerably. For example, a solicitor who works in the city in corporate law will most likely work longer hours than someone who is focused solely on conveyancing or personal injury. It has also been reported that most solicitors will work for more than 50-hour weeks. 

  • Being a solicitor is stressful. With long hours, a competitive jobs market, as well as a diverse range of clients, a solicitor’s role, at times, can be extremely stressful. Unfortunately, in this role, you will always face deadlines as well as billing pressures and harsh client demands, and all of these combined can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. 

  • Law school isn’t cheap, and paying back student loans can be crippling, especially for those newly qualified and based outside of the city. 

  • More self-serve websites available now. People are now using solicitors less and less, due to the number of sites currently online offering to provide the information or documents at a fraction of the cost, (this doesn’t mean they’re any good, just a cheaper alternative). 

  • You can’t pick and choose your clients. It’s a fact that you won't like all of your clients, but you must represent each of them to your highest ability to keep your reputation high. 

No one said that being a solicitor was going to be a walk in the park. That’s why it’s essential to know the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a solicitor, so you are walking into your chosen profession with your eyes wide open. 

From the perspective of Wakefield solicitors, JWP, if you have what it takes and you want it bad enough, then becoming a solicitor can indeed be a very rewarding career. 

Alexzandra Kennedy