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Desperate for some direction

Published on Sunday, 10 Jun 2012
Christopher Aukland

Advice seeker (Jay): I'm a recent law grad from the uk and have been studying towards gaining admissions for pcll (conversions) I only gained a 2:2 in my degree but have exceptional circumstances, I'm worried that I won't get into the course and have no other career option?

I have been working as a legal secretary for the past 6-7 months but this is definitely not the career path I want to go down or pursue!

I've looked at a variety of different jobs but really all I want to do is to be a lawyer! If that doesn't happen then I really don't have an alternative as everyone is looking for 2:1 candidates these days!

Career Doctor (Christopher Aukland): The path to becoming a lawyer is not easy and a strong academic background is really a pre-requisite to pursue this career. As you’ve rightly pointed out, having a 2:2 for your law degree can make it challenging to gain a training contract in Hong Kong. Based on the information you have provided, my initial suggestion would be to first of all seek as much advice as possible from within the industry and the academic institutions to which you want to apply in order to realistically assess your options as to whether your goal of becoming a lawyer is achievable.

Other positive steps you can take towards your goal is to gain more experience working as a paralegal instead of as legal secretary and get some hands on and more relevant experience. Your chances of securing a training contract with some paralegal experience under your belt will be much higher than working as a legal secretary. I also recommend that you target smaller Hong Kong based law firms to begin with as the vast majority of international law firms do ask for 2.1 law degree as a minimum requirement. Another approach is to start with the firm you are already working in and explore whether there are internal opportunities to take on more paralegal duties in your current role, then gradually work your way up to becoming a lawyer or use this experience to move to another firm.

If after taking further advice you decide that pursuing a career in the legal sector is not a realistic option, then you will need to reassess what you are looking for in your career and try and identify another career to pursue. To help you with this seek guidance from your peer group, university careers centres, and recruitment consultants to find out what other career options you have.

Good luck!

Commenter (Nel): Correct. IF you are without 2:1, it is very difficult for you to enroll for the PCLL. However, you may then try other jobs like Paralegal, etc.

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