May 08, 2013— read in full
Career profile: Employment lawyer
Are you good with people and careful over details? Employment lawyers play an important role in making sure that workers and their employers are all treated fairly. Read on to learn more about this vital job.
An employment lawyer represents and advises employers and employees. They handle disputes relating to every aspect working life.
On the job
Many people are attracted to employment law because it is a mixture of person-orientated law, and commercial law. Typical issues that the employment lawyer is trained to deal with include pensions, sexual discrimination, maternity leave, redundancies and dismissals.
As an employment lawyer you could work for a firm representing employers, or for one working in the interests of employees, like a trade union. A lot of their work is non-contentious, such as advising companies on contracts and employment policies, but they can also help to settle disputes that arise in the workplace. There is also some advocacy involved if the cases reach the tribunal stage.
Course entry requirements
Most undergraduate law courses require eight GCSEs at A and B grades and three or more A-levels, or equivalent qualifications. You do not have to study any particular subjects - even law A-level isn’t a requirement - but it is important achieve high grades. Entry requirements do vary according to each institution, so check their prospectus of your preferred university to find exactly what is needed.
If you don’t study law at undergraduate level you will have to get at least a 2:1 (like a grade B) in your first degree to get onto most postgraduate Common Profession Exam or Graduate diploma courses (also known as a conversion course).
What does the training involve?
There are two routes you can take. You could complete an undergraduate law degree, followed by a one year Legal Practice Course (LPC). After that you’ll need to be trained ‘on the job’ on a two-year training contract with a law firm.
Alternatively, if you don’t choose law as your undergraduate degree it is still possible to train as an employment lawyer. You’ll need to take a ‘conversion course’, either a Common Profession Exam or Graduate diploma in law for a year before starting the LPC followed by the two-year training contract.