I am currently looking to apply to university but am stuck with a dilemma. I have always been interested in a job as a lawyer specialising in crime. However I am also very interested in history, so am undecided what to do. Is there any advice that could be given as I’m stuck between the two and know that at some point I want to become a lawyer or barrister.

Leah caprani

Leah Caprani, Junior Lawyers Division, says…

First, I completely understand how difficult choosing a degree can be. Well done for being proactive. The legal profession is currently in desperate need of criminal lawyers due to the legal aid cuts, so it is great that you wish to qualify into that area.

Depending on when you intend to start your degree, you may have a choice as to which route to qualification you can take.

Currently, you can either undertake a qualifying LLB law degree or study another subject (such as history) before converting to law through the GDL conversion course. The GDL is becoming an increasingly popular route into the profession and also applies to aspiring barristers.

There is, however, a new route to qualification, the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), which will be introduced in autumn 2021. While the finer details of the SQE have not yet been confirmed, generally candidates must pass two separate exams (SQE 1 – a multiple-choice legal knowledge exam and SQE 2 – a soft skills exam). A law degree is not required and it is likely that a similar GDL-like conversion course will be available for non-law students.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has produced a useful SQE page which explains the routes in more detail and more guidance can be found on the JLD website.