Law career timeline for prospective trainee solicitors and barristers

Year one

 Solicitors and BarristersBarristers only
September Join a society and get involved. The obvious one is Bracton Law Society, but it could be another such as debating or business.  
October Make the most of practical law activities on your law course, such as virtual law firms, mooting, debating & Pro Bono.  
November Develop contacts & networks with the law profession eg: Expert & Mentoring.
Attend Law Fair and pick up free law publications such as Target Law.
Start visiting court, sitting in on trial. You should also think about pro bono work and get involved with Mooting and Debating.
December Look out for open day or formal experience programmes with law firms where year 1 students are eligible.

Prospective barristers should look out for open days and opportunities to visit Inns of Court.

Look out for special barrister’s evenings and events.

January Develop commercial awareness by reading outside your subject including economic and political news stories.  
February If you are beginning to wonder about non-law careers, attend other events and think about other options. Make an appointment with a careers consultant to discuss options.  
March

Think about your options for next year and concentrate on getting good grades. Most law firms ask for a 2:1 from your degree.

Speak to your personal tutor if you have concerns or want to chat about your progress.

 
April Research the kind of law firms you want to apply to. Select a manageable number for you to ensure you can make every application excellent.  
May-August Gain a variety of law related experience such as work shadowing, court visits, voluntary work or get a part time job for the summer. Research Inns of Court and funding offered for scholarships. Also look at different types of barrister sets and chambers London and regionally based.

Year two / Penultimate year

 Solicitors and BarristersBarristers only
September Law firms recruit law students three years in advance so you will apply this academic year to start LPC after final year and your training contract the year after. Make sure you check and plan BPCT funding possibilities and obtain the application details for the BPCT.
October Discuss with a Careers Consultant what sort of solicitor you would like to be, including areas of practice and firms to target for application. Apply for mini pupillages and continue to gain law related experience. Gain 2-4 experiences if possible across a variety of sets and areas.
November

Continue to gain law related insights through attending law presentations, events and the Law Fair.

Continue to attend workshops and read up about how to demonstrate commercial awareness.

If you haven't started on activities to improve your advocacy skills, now is the time to get involved with Mooting or Debating.
December Apply for vacation schemes and training contracts with preferred law firms. Some will be a combined application, some separate. Do a mixture of both. Decide whether you can pay for the LCP yourself of want a funded LPC.  
January Take time to reflect whether a career in law is what you want and if not, start exploring other careers you can do with a law degree Research opportunities to attend Pupillage events such as TARGET jobs Law National Pupillage Fair in London in March.
February Consider Training Contract applications and make applications well before summer deadlines.  
March Investigate and engage with LPC providers.  Attend Pupillage Fairs.
April If you have been unsuccessful in getting a vacation scheme placement, consider options for the summer such as a volunteering project overseas. Try to build up 'global acumen'.

If you want to gain legal work experience, try smaller firms or niche firms that might not have formal vacation schemes.
 
May-August If you have not got a training contract offer, keep trying, some application deadlines close at the end of July. Continue to build relevant experience and networks especially mini pupillages and enquire about pupillage applications.

Final year

 Solicitors and BarristersBarristers Only
September   From now until November (usually first Friday in November) applications open for Inns' Scholarships. Apply now!
October Consider the LLM as an option and make applications directly to University providers.  
November Apply for the LPC through the Central Applications Board if you haven't already done so (training contract or no training contract). Apply for the BPCT through the Central Applications System.
You will also need to take and pass the BCAT (Bar Course Aptitude test).
December   It is especially important that you are on course for a 2.1 if you are intending to practice as a barrister.
January Consider further Training Contract applications based on progress so far.

The submissions window for applications for pupillage opens.

You have until 31st May to join an Inn of Court. Make sure you have done all your research.

February   The submissions window for applications for the pupillage closes (very early in February).
March Enrol with the Solicitor's Regulation Authority as a student member (if still required).  
April   Attend pupillage fairs and look for opportunities not through the online portal.