Law is a highly rewardng career and it was always something that I had in mind as a career path. I was attracted to the fact that it required logical thinking to be applied in a practical way, for the benefit of someone who has sought your advice in a time of need; the opportunity to help people was the biggest attraction of all.
I have now been qualified for two-and-a-half years and I thoroughly enjoy my career as a solicitor. Yes, it can be highly demanding at times but I always take the view that the hard work you put in is balanced by the rewards.
A career in law can have both professional rewards - the opportunity to work up the career ladder to become a partner, an advocate, or in time, a sheriff - as well as personal rewards - there have been a number of times when I've felt heartened at achieving a good result for a client who was in desperate need of legal assistance.
There are also a wide range of areas in which you can choose to work. These range from fields in which I practise, including criminal law and civil/family/children's law, to other areas such as corporate law.
For those of you intending to study law, the first step is to speak to a careers adviser. They can guide you as to which universities to apply for and what grades are needed etc. Another fantastic port of call is, of course, the Law Society of Scotland, who have launched the LawScot Foundation, which is worth looking into.
Alongside this, I would recommend doing a work experience placement. I used to shadow solicitors to court for a week or two during my summer holidays. This was very enjoyable - the first time I watched a trial was the moment I made my mind up that I wanted to have a career in criminal law!
It's also a good way to make contacts and connections which will stand you in good stead for when you are applying for your traineeships. You might, like I did, undertake your summer placement at a small legal aid firm who aren't looking for new members of staff, but it's more than likely they will know of someone who is. Or, like most of my friends, there are always opportunities to work with large corporate firms and, like them, eventually commence your contract with the same firm.
So, it's worth getting a feel early on for the different areas of law, what they are like and in which area you feel you would enjoy working. From there it is simply a case of working with firms to get more work experience and from there, in combination with your studies, you can progress into working in that particular area(s). I'm sure whichever field you choose to work in you will have a highly rewarding career in law. Good luck to you all!