Until you graduate, the only thing likely to be on your mind is getting a first-class degree. Spending three years away from home only to come away with a 2:2 would feel like a waste. Regardless of the final mark you get, once the graduation ceremony is over, your next step is to find a job. Law students have a number of different avenues to explore, fortunately.
Litigation is one such area, covering a wide variety of topics. Cases that usually involve commercial transactions or resolving disputes come under the litigation umbrella. To get into a role, you need to possess a huge amount of knowledge, but by working your way up through the ranks of a law firm, you should be able to represent clients in complex, exciting cases.
A law degree of some kind is essential. You can either study for an LLB undergraduate law degree or a Graduate Diploma of Law (GDL). When pursuing a career in litigation, you also need to know about the following:
- Commercial law
- Resolving disputes
- Financial contracts
- Regulations in different industries
Litigation is a fast-moving area, so you need to be on top of the latest developments. You can never be too sure when there is a landmark case that triggers a change in commercial laws.
You need to look at getting an entry-level role in a law firm specialising in litigation and arbitration. Starting out as a trainee barrister, your role will most likely involve plenty of research on individual cases between two disputing businesses. Going to a law firm such as Withers Worldwide can help you on the right track.
Once you have your foot in the door, learning new skills on the job is a must. Find a niche area of litigation like contract disputes and become a specialist in that. In your law firm, learn from people in more senior litigation roles. Lawyers with years of experience behind them can give you a few pointers for your first case as a solicitor or lawyer.
Some of the skills you will need are note-taking, the ability to communicate in a clear, concise manner and negotiation skills. The latter is arguably the most important, as in a case between businesses, you will need to use all of your knowhow to get the best deal for your client.
With over 137,000 practising solicitors in the UK and a sizeable proportion of them based in London, litigation is a popular career path. However, by picking the right degree, doing your research and learning on the job, you stand every chance of adding to that number.