ip target image
You are currently browsing our site with content tailored to students in your country

Our cookies

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience with personalized content, relevant ads and enhanced functionalities. By allowing all you agree to the use of cookies as per the cookie policy and remember you can manage your preferences anytime.
The basics
THE UK: Subject Guides

Law careers

Law is a highly desirable career path, given both its honourable reputation and the financial rewards. find out more about this exciting career path.

Crime scene

Law is a highly desirable career path, given both its honourable reputation and the financial rewards. Before deciding which firms to apply to for training contracts, graduates are advised to do at least one period of vacation work. This gives them an insight into the firm, as well as a chance to shine, and allows the firm to assess their prospects and suitability as a lawyer. If you decide a career as a lawyer isn't for you after all, your law degree will still give you the skills to go into almost any other area, including business and management roles

Thinking of working in the law field? Here are a few options for you:


Barristers give specialist legal advice to solicitors and other professional clients, and represent individuals and organisations in court at tribunals or public enquiries.

Qualifying as a barrister requires following up your law degree with a Bar Vocational Course (BVC), which runs for one year, or two years if undertaken on a part-time basis. You will need to be admitted to one of the four Inns of Court before registration on the BVC. There is always great competition for places but, once you are there, the training is excellent.

In the UK, working for one to two years as a pupil is the final stage of qualification for the Bar. During pupillage, students gain practical training under the supervision of an experienced barrister. Training used to be unpaid, but now the law firm is obliged to fund graduates throughout the pupillage. Only then are students qualified to practise law.

Within five years of being called to the bar, a self-employed barrister's earnings can sit anywhere between £40,000 and £200,000. Salaries for employed barristers again vary widely, ranging from £25,000 to £130,000. The ratio of self-employed to employed barristers is currently around 4:1. A top Queen's Counsel (QC) can earn upwards of a million pounds a year.

The Bar Council


Solicitors advise clients about the law, and act on their behalf in legal matters. Your clients could be individuals, groups of people, companies or public organisations. Most solicitors choose to specialise in a particular area of law, such as property, family or employment law.

To become solicitors, law graduates must take the Legal Practice Course (LPC), which lasts for one year (two years part time). They then complete two years on a training contract, sometimes known as 'articles'. Under the contract, the trainee traditionally works in four different areas of law, known as 'seats', for six months each, then completes a professional skills course before acceptance onto the Law Society's roll of solicitors.

A solicitor's salary depends on the type of client and the size and location of the firm that employs them. The Solicitors Regulation Authority currently recommends a minimum trainee starting salary of £16,650 a year outside London, and this can rise to over £150,000 a year for a partner in a large firm or a head of an in-house legal department.

Solicitors Regulation Authority


Paralegals carry out legal work, although they are not fully qualified solicitors or barristers. Employed by law firms, civil or criminal courts, private companies or the public or not-for-profit sector, paralegals prepare legal documents, carry out research, interview clients and witnesses and attend court, as well as typing, filing and other general clerical tasks. With further experience, they might eventually carry out most of the work that a solicitor does.

Some employers will prefer you to have a law degree, and some may even ask for the solicitor's Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the barrister's Bar Vocational Course (BVC). Many law graduates take jobs as paralegals if they have not yet found a solicitor's training contract or barrister's pupillage.

Starting salaries for paralegals are normally between £16,000 and £25,000 a year, and can rise to up £40,000 with experience. Top salaries in large law firms can reach £70,000 a year.

Institute of Paralegals
National Association of Licensed Paralegals

Some other law-related career paths:

Court Legal Adviser
Court Reporter
Crown Prosecutor
Family Mediator
Immigration Officer
Legal Executive
Patent Attorney
Police Officer
Probation Officer
Victim Care Officer
Welfare Rights Officer 

Related Articles:

Studying law in the UK

Law: The Reality of Studying and working


Study in the UK


'Study in the UK' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the UK into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook
Want to check which program suits you the best?
Find out with our new "Course Matcher" tool!

Must read

article Img

TESOL & Applied Linguistics at London Metropolitan University (UK)

Teaching others to speak the English language is a noble vocation in life which requires great patience – you can really make a difference and help people improve the quality of their lives. But it takes a very special person to fill this role, and passing a TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a requirement to qualify. In fact, international graduates of TESOL courses can make for excellent teachers of the English language. They

article Img

Become a wolf of Wall Street: Guide to common Finance terms

Captivating, fast-paced and challenging, the slick world of finance holds incredible appeal for prospective graduates. Despite its clear allure, beating the competition to break into the industry can feel incredibly intimidating. Not to mention how tough it can be to get around your head around all the jargon. Whilst this list can’t hope to cover it, our breakdown of common finance terms should make snagging the job of your dreams seem a little less scary.