A law degree is a gateway to a career as a solicitor or barrister, but it's not the only path you can choose. Many options are available to you beyond the legal profession
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Barrister's clerk
- Chartered legal executive (England and Wales)
- Company secretary
- Costs lawyer
- Licensed conveyancer
- Solicitor, Scotland
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Advice worker
- Border Force officer
- Chartered accountant
- Civil Service administrator
- Data analyst
- Data scientist
- External auditor
- Forensic computer analyst
- Human resources officer
- Patent attorney
- Political risk analyst
- Trading standards officer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Relevant work experience demonstrates to employers that you have the skills that they are looking for.
If you'd like to get some work experience that is directly related to the legal profession, you could do a mini-pupillage. This involves work shadowing that usually lasts for one week in a set of chambers. Details of this can be found at the Pupillage Gateway as well as at Chambers Student mini-pupillage listings. You can also search in solicitor's firms for law vacation placements.
You could try marshalling - shadowing 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, as well as anything else that gives you an insight into legal practices and the workings of the law.
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.
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. Take a look at the top UK law firms.
If you become a barrister, it's likely you'll 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).
Find out more about the reality of working in law.
Outside of the legal profession employers can include banks and building societies, insurance companies and HR departments of large firms.
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.
Discover the 7 skills you need for a successful law career.
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 a Bar course, 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 one that interests you, search postgraduate courses.
What do law graduates do?
Over a quarter (27%) of law graduates working in the UK are law associates, while 11% are working as solicitors. Legal professional, legal secretary, HR and industrial relation officer are also in the top ten jobs held by these graduates.
|Working and studying||14.1|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Legal, social and welfare||46.4|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||13.2|
|Business, HR and finance||10.3|
|Retail, catering and bar staff||7|
For a detailed breakdown of what law graduates are doing after graduation, see What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.