Routes to law in Guernsey and Jersey
The typical routes to becoming a solicitor or barrister for local students require them to leave the island to gain a law degree and ultimately to go on to undertake the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and a pupillage (for barristers) or the Legal Practice Course and a Training Contract (for solicitors). For those who know at the outset that they want to live and work in the Channel Islands, however, there is another route to achieving the same goal.
An alternative path
For some years, we have offered an alternative path to qualification that provides varied and relevant experience on the way to becoming a trained legal professional. This starts with permanent employment at the firm as a paralegal within the candidate’s chosen practice area: corporate, dispute resolution, trusts and private wealth or property.
After completing a law degree (or a non-degree and a law conversion course), a paralegal begins employment with Carey Olsen and undertakes the BPTC before going on to study to become a Guernsey or Jersey advocate. The BPTC exposes the individual to the gamut of legal knowledge, with core modules such as criminal litigation, civil litigation and advocacy with the option to pick from a wide range of other subjects.
The benefits of the BPTC route
The biggest benefit is that study can be done in conjunction with working over a two-year period. Each paralegal has the chance to do the work of an associate under supervision. They learn about team dynamics and how the legal profession works in practise while earning a salary. Bursary students and even those on work experience with us get a potted version of this experience.
What sets a good firm apart?
It is ultimately the culture. Young lawyers need mentors – people who can advise them not just professionally but also on their personal development. We foster a culture of inclusivity where trainees can experience cross-team working and feel empowered, where they are encouraged to speak directly to partners and to step out of their comfort zones, where they can question and feel valued in the wider work environment.
Nick Jehan, corporate associate
Nick knew he wanted to return to Guernsey to work after studying for a law degree at Exeter University and completing a Masters in European Law in France. He chose to take the BPTC route and Carey Olsen sponsored his studies while he worked in the corporate team.
What Nick had to say about the BPTC
“The BPTC covered both criminal and civil law with a range of ancillary and optional modules. What particularly appealed about this qualification was that, alongside the core teaching, we were given valuable insights in the areas of advocacy for clients, ethics and managing client relationships alongside the core subjects. This gave me skills I would not necessarily have developed had I taken other paths to qualifying."
“Working at Carey Olsen at the same time gave me the ability to exercise my skills and grow in confidence in my dealings with clients.”
“The experience was highly motivating; I felt Carey Olsen was investing in me and supporting my desires to qualify as a Guernsey practitioner. I was doing associates’ work under team supervision, I had a dedicated mentor and I was able to apply my learning directly to the job.”
Nick has worked for Carey Olsen for three years. He was promoted to associate in December 2016 and intends to qualify as a local advocate within the next three to five years.