Routes to becoming a healthcare lawyer

Friday, November 15, 2013 12:00 AM

We blog about the routes you can take to become a healthcare lawyer.

In this tough economic climate, people are doing everything they can to boost their employability. One way many do this is by venturing into further education. This shift is shown in the rise in university applicant figures - The Guardian recently reported that there is already a 3.5% increase in numbers, according to figures released from UCAS.

Law is traditionally seen as a reliable subject that will provide people with a job for life – after all, we’ll always need lawyers. For this reason, competition can be tough. You’ll need something that will set you apart from the rest and your choice of course can help you do this.

With a different NHS shocker hitting the headlines almost on a daily basis, healthcare lawyers look set to be more in demand than ever before. Specialising in advising various healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies, becoming a healthcare lawyer can be one of the most rewarding ways to put your law skills to the test.

What course?

Generally speaking, you can become a healthcare lawyer with a standard law degree. This is because you can specialise in the subject during the latter parts of your training. However, in order to ensure it’s the correct route for you, you should choose a degree that has a healthcare law module, to give you a taster of your future career. There are courses that do this at the University of Southampton but it’s possible to find others using the UCAS course finder

Once you have completed your degree, you’ll be well on the way to becoming a healthcare lawyer. After graduating, you will need to register with the Solicitors Regulation Authority who will verify the completion of your studies. You will then need to begin the vocational part of your studies; the legal practice course and the training contract.

The training contract is usually completed through a law firm. There are many of these throughout the country, but it can be tough to get on to. Sintons, a law firm with specialist healthcare lawyers, has a great graduate scheme. Instead of just judging you on your academic performance, they invite you for a week’s work experience to really get to know the way you work and you as an individual. If you are successful, they will train you in a specific area of law, allowing you to become fully qualified in that subject.

Is university the only option?

No – not at all. There are other options that don’t involve a degree. If you are already working in a legal office, you can join the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. This is incredibly competitive, involves several examinations and could take a long time to qualify.

Another route is to take the Common Professional Examination or Graduate Diploma in Law. It is possible to do this without a degree, but you will have to have a suitable alternative qualification.

You can find out more information about these alternative routes on the Law Society website.

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