On Friday 18 October, we held ‘So You Want to be a Lawyer?’ – our annual Pathways to the Professions career exploration event. The event was open to local s5 (and some s6) school pupils registered on the Pathways to the Professions programme. Also attending the event were some pupils registered with Reach Edinburgh.
The aim of the day is to help the s5 and s6 (second-last and last year of high school) pupils, who have shown an interest in studying law, gain a deeper understanding of the variety of legal careers available. Pupils are also given the chance to interact with members of the profession by working with them to discuss legal scenarios and how they might be solved. Finally, pupils take part in a debate in order to gain more confidence in speaking publicly and, in turn, start to work on some of the skills needed by members of the legal profession. Teviot Debating Hall was the venue for the day. (Photos below)
We were delighted this year to have input from The Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates, both of whom sponsor the event and are supporters of Pathways. We were honoured to be joined by Lady Wise, Scotland’s most newly-appointed female judge. Lady Wise helped us to open the event and also took part in the ‘Day in the Life’ section of the day where those in the legal profession – or who had studied law and gone in a different direction – talk about how they ended up in their current role. As the name suggests, colleagues also give insight into what a typical day for them might include.
We were also supported by colleagues from HBJ Claim Solutions, RBS Legal, Capital Defence Lawyers and Edinburgh Law School. The speakers were from a variety of different legal areas of work and covered: criminal law; family law; commercial law; intellectual property; property and trusts.
The pupils fed back that they had found the day very useful with most rating the ‘Day in the Life’ section (hearing directly from members of the profession on how they got to where they are) the most useful. The pupils really got their teeth into the debating section and, as ever, the atmosphere was tense. This is the last time we will be able to debate Scottish Independence at this event without knowing the result of the referendum! All pupils who spoke spoke well and we saw great evidence of teamwork – another essential ‘lawyer’ skill.
So, all in all a successful event that was well-liked by the pupils. Many had not realised that not all lawyers appear in court, nor that people can move from practice into academia – and vice versa!
Pupils came away knowing:
- People in the legal profession come from many different backgrounds and there is no one ‘lawyer’ mould.
- Law is wide and varied and there are many different roles within it.
- Not all who have a law degree want to be a lawyer.
- Not everyone starts out with a firm idea of exactly where they want to be. It’s important to try and find out what it is you like about a subject. Do research on courses. Look at university websites. Attend open days and ask questions.
Our lovely venue, Teviot Row House (left) and the Debating Hall all set up and awaiting the arrival of our guests and speakers (right).