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Suits, The Good Wife, How to Get Away With Murder, Boston Legal, Law and Order… the list can go on. Over the years, there have been dozens of successful legal based television series and films that have proven extremely popular among viewers. 

But do these high-action shows reflect a true image of the legal sector? 

 

TV Glamour or Reality 

We’re sure that it’ll come as no surprise to you that, although many of the cases portrayed in legal films and TV shows are based on real-life cases, most have been embellished to make good viewing. 

Whether it’s helping people in need or winning a great settlement in divorce proceedings, the outcomes can be just as impressive, but what these shows do not depict is the hours of hard work the legal teams put into the detail-orientated legal paperwork that underpins each case. 

It is elements like this which is causing somewhat of a rumble in the sector and many established experts are claiming that although these shows are encouraging young people to start a career in law, they could be doing more harm than good. 

Jo-Anne Pugh, the Director of LPC Programmes at Leeds-based BPP Law School, recently spoke on the topic after the release of a report on the future of legal practice. She said: 

“[Some students] don’t understand that law firms will want recruits who can add value in very different ways and don’t just want the Harvey Specter ‘rainmakers’ and deal brokers who have been traditionally feted.”

With this in mind, we decided to look at the data to see if this glamorisation is leading to disillusionment and higher drop-out rates. 

 

(source: Suits Facebook)

 

Do University Dropout Rates Reflect This?

According to Channel 4 research and the Higher Education Statistics Agency, one in ten UK undergraduates will drop out of university before their second year of study begins, and some subjects have higher rates than others. 

The study reveals in the 2015/2016 academic year, the law school dropout rate was 5.7% - the 13th highest dropout rate of any university subject. 

However, the ‘Patterns and Trends in UK Higher Education 2017’ report has revealed very little change in the total number of law students when compared to 2006/2007. In fact, in the 2006/2007 academic year there were 88,780 students and in 2015/2016 there were just 115 less (-0.1%), 88,665.

So, even if tv shows like Suits and films like Legally Blonde do vamp up reality, it doesn’t appear to be having a remarkable effect on the number of students taking up studies or law school dropout rates. 

 

Do You Dream of a Career in Law?

If you’re considering a career in law and would like to learn more about legal jobs in South Wales, please read our careers page or contact us to learn more about what life is truly like as solicitors in Cardiff. 

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