The law sector is large and as a result there are various places in which you could be employed. These vary from the public to private sector and from large companies to small firms. Find out more about where you could work…
There are some key firms in the law sector that are well known in the UK. The public sector also plays a big part, however, and recruits some large numbers.
The private sector is made up of the magic circle firms, national and international firms, city firms and regional firms.
The five magic circle law firms are:
The magic circle, as well as Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (recruits around 85 trainees), make up the top six UK law firms. The average starting salaries at these firms is £38,000. Other large commercial firms include DLA (85 trainee places), Pinsent Mason (60 trainee places), Eversheds, Addleshaw Goddard (40-45 trainee places). The average starting salary at these firms is £36,000.
Training contracts and other legal service opportunities are available within in-house legal departments. This is a different role in that you will be advising your employer on relevant legal issues faced by them and your employer will be your sole client.
London and regional bar circuits made up of individual sets of chambers recruit general and specialist pupils depending on their area of practice. Most only recruit a pupil if it is likely to lead to tenancy. Over 460 pupillages were registered between 2009-10 (The BSB Pilot Statistical Report, 2011). There are 15,500 practising barristers and 80% of the bar is self-employed.
SMEs are organisations with less than 250 employees and an annual turnover of not more than 50 million euros. Working for a smaller company can be rewarding because you are more likely to forge a path for yourself within the company, although opportunities to try other departments may be limited.
SMEs are unlikely to use the testing and assessment techniques of larger companies, or follow lengthy recruitment procedures. SMEs are more likely to advertise their vacancies through the local press, university careers service bulletins, local graduate vacancy listings, jobcentres and word of mouth, rather than rely on their reputation and a presence at graduate recruitment fairs.
Careers services should have listings of jobs with small firms. See also the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) .
Most barristers and advocates (Scotland) are self-employed. Solicitors can be promoted to self-employed, profit-sharing partner within a firm. Solicitors can set up as a sole practitioner after being in practice for a number of years.
Find out more about self-employment.
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