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What can I do with my degree?: Law

Studying law doesn't mean you have to become a solicitor or barrister; many options beyond the legal profession will be open to you...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Employers value work experience as it can help to demonstrate that you have the skills that they are looking for.

Work experience that's directly related to the legal profession includes carrying out a mini-pupillage. This involves work experience and shadowing that lasts for one week in a set of chambers. Details of this can be found at the Pupillage Gateway . You can also search in solicitor's firms for law vacation placements.

You could try marshalling, where you shadow a judge, usually for anything between one day and one week. Or pro-bono work through organisations such as the:

Joining your university law society will also be helpful.

If you'd like to consider something outside of the legal profession then work experience in property development, the banking and financial sector, or HR departments in businesses can be useful. Taking on positions of responsibility through student groups provides good experience.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

If you qualify as a solicitor, you can work in a number of different legal practices. The widest caseloads come from high street solicitors' practices, which cover criminal, family, probate and business law. Opportunities are available through local and national government and large organisations often have in-house legal teams.

If you become a barrister it is likely you will be self-employed and will be a tenant in a set of chambers. Alternatively, you could look for employment with organisations such as the Government Legal Service, the Armed Forces legal services or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Outside of the legal profession employers can include banks and building societies, insurance companies and HR departments of large firms.

Find information on employers in law, accountancy, banking and finance, public services and administration and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

A law degree covers the foundation subjects that are required for entry into the legal professions. But the understanding of legal implications and obligations, combined with the ability to apply this knowledge in practice, is valuable in many parts of the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The range of skills that a law degree provides includes:

  • research skills using a range of sources, including verbal questioning;
  • evaluation skills and the ability to interpret and explain complex information clearly;
  • analytical skills;
  • reasoning and critical judgement skills;
  • the ability to formulate sound arguments;
  • lateral thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • the ability to write concisely;
  • confident and persuasive oral communication skills;
  • attention to detail and the ability to draft formal documents with precision.

Further study

If you intend to practise law after graduation you must go on to further study and vocational training. To become a solicitor in England and Wales you have to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC), followed by a paid training contract with a law firm.

If your aim is to work as a barrister in England and Wales, you need to undertake the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), followed by a one-year training period called a pupillage. Variations in training routes exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland for both roles.

Many professional qualifications are available in other areas such as accountancy, HR, marketing and business. To find a course that interests you, search postgraduate courses.

What do law graduates do?

A fifth of graduates employed in the UK are working as legal associate professionals, while over a third are in further study, either full time or part time while working. The high percentage of those carrying on their studies is a reflection of many legal professions requiring additional qualifications.

Many have jobs that are directly related to their degree, working in legal associate professional roles in the UK.

Graduate destinations for law
Destinations Percentage
Employed 52.9%
Further study 26.3%
Working and studying 10.8%
Unemployed 5.4%
Other 4.6%
Types of work entered in the UK
Legal, social and welfare 28.8%
Retail, catering and bar work 14.5%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 14.1%
Business, HR and financial 12.7%
Other 29.9%

For a detailed breakdown of what law graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
March 2015

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