Law and Legal

Find out about careers in law, related careers and the different routes to becoming a solicitor.


Seeing a glimpse of how a solicitor works by watching shows like Law and Order, Suits, or the Split has perhaps fuelled your interest in law. There are many ways you can discover what working in law is really like by talking to firms, and related legal organisations. It’s advisable to do your research and find out what type of employer would be a good fit. Your options are much wider than being a solicitor or barrister:

Having a law degree is a great qualification to obtaining employment as the options it gives you are endless… you’re not restricted to becoming a solicitor. There are lots of different avenues you can go down if you have a law degree.

Inform.ed blog - Life after law with a premium drinks company

Other legal careers

Prospects - Law careers 

National Careers Service - Explore careers - Law and legal

Other related careers

gradireland - Alternative careers for law graduates

Different types of solicitor

There are many different types of solicitor roles too. Prospects provides a good overview of popular legal practice areas and the range of solicitor roles:

Prospects - Areas of law

Another factor to consider is the type and size of law firm/organisation. Chambers Student has helpful guides on finding out about law firms:

Chambers Student Guide - different types of law firm

Chambers Student Guide - choosing a firm by location

Private practice - working in a firm of solicitors

  • Big law firms; tend to be large commercial firms
  • Smaller, medium sized firms; high street firms


  • Involves working in the legal department of an organisation such as local or national government, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (in Scotland), NHS or a financial organisation. This means your employer is your only client.

Some solicitors continue to work as solicitors throughout their career and some may go on to become partners of the firm they work at. Other solicitors may decide to enter other careers such as becoming an advocate. In Scotland, advocates perform similar roles as barristers in England and Wales but undertake a rather different training process:

Advocate - Scotland

Barrister - England and Wales

What are the different routes to becoming a solicitor?

One way to think about this is through jurisdictions.

The Scottish legal system is separate from England and Wales, with its own legal rules, courts and professions, giving rise to different entry and training arrangements – our flowchart provides an overview of the routes towards qualifying as a solicitor.

View the "What are the routes to qualifying as a solicitor?" flowchart in your web browser (pdf version) or access it in the downloadable Microsoft Word version:

Further information

Solicitor - Scotland

Solicitor - England and Wales

LawCareers.Net - Training as a solicitor in Northern Ireland

Qualifying in a country outside the UK

Routes vary:

  • Research firms which recruit into other jurisdictions
  • Check with the Law Society or Bar Council/Association for the country you are interested in – it usually involves passing a set of exams.

Practising Law in the USA

For information, visit our webpage:

Law - Specialisms

What are the key skills required to work in law?

  • Good academics are traditionally important to secure a place for further study e.g. if you are hoping to go on and be a Scottish solicitor, getting good grades in year 1 and 2 in your professional subjects in your LLB may help you secure a place on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at your preferred institution. Prestigious law firms receive a huge volume of high quality applications so academic results can be a reason why applications do not progress.
  • Research skills and the ability to assimilate information are required e.g. background work on a case, advising clients and assisting with decision making on complex cases.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills for public speaking to present and argue your case in court. A good understanding of law is essential to communicate complex information with clients using non-legal terms.
  • Attention to detail; for instance, to avoid overlooking crucial details in a contract or evidence to support a case.

Further information

Regardless of your year of study, here are some additional resources for reading or researching what a legal career is all about:



Legal Cheek

Scottish Legal News

The Law Society Gazette