Alternative career choices with a law degree

What non-solicitor roles are available?

A good starting point is this general overview from Prospects which highlights the key skills gained from the study of law and options beyond the legal profession:

Prospects - What can I do with a law degree?

The Law Society of Scotland also provides an overview of non-solicitor roles in the legal sector:

Law Society of Scotland - Alternative careers with your LLB


Advice work can be broad in scope, or focus on a specific topic such as debt, housing, employment, welfare, immigration or discrimination. You can also work with a wide range of people, or specific client groups, such as refugees. Discover what’s out there in more depth:

Citizens Advice

Provide free confidential advice and support to help people overcome problems such as legal, housing and financial matters. Volunteering opportunities differ by region:

Volunteering with Citizens Advice

Typical opportunities include:

  • Interviewing a client that has been sacked to determine whether they have been dismissed unfairly or not
  • Helping clients with debts to determine a repayment plan and negotiate with creditors
  • A Witness Service volunteer to support those appearing in court as a prosecution or defence witness in England and Wales

Charities and voluntary organisations

Goodmoves, run by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, provides some great advice about getting into this sector, and also advertises voluntary and paid opportunities:


Human Rights

Irrespective of who you will work for and your role, it is important that you are committed to social justice. Our webpage on “Human Rights”, gives some excellent information and advice on routes to entry, work experience and job hunting. It also includes inspirational alumni case studies:

Human Rights

Working with refugees

This article from targetjobs on working with refugees emphasises the importance of legal knowledge, gives pointers on gaining work experience and lists potential employers:

targetjobs - How to get a graduate job working with refugees

Business and Finance

Many law students use their law degree as a stepping stone into business and finance roles including accountancy, banking, risk, pensions and consultancy:

Management consultancy

Management consultancy is the practice of providing advice to organisations to improve their performance. A legal background is beneficial as responsibilities may include researching organisations and their structure, providing advisory guidance and recommendations to clients.

Search for vacancies using the keyword ‘consultancy’ on MyCareerHub:

MyCareerHub opportunities

Loss adjusting

The role of a loss adjuster is to investigate an insurance claim on behalf of an insurance company to establish the cause of the loss. A key element of the role is report writing; summarising evidence to advise insurers on the validity of a claim. This is a prime example of a role suited to a law graduate and the following job profile mentions that some large loss adjusting firms have graduate training schemes: 

Prospects - Chartered loss adjuster job profile

Criminal Justice

This covers a wide range of careers connected with the defence and protection of the country as well as the wellbeing of communities and individuals:

Police Service

Police Scotland has opportunities in both front-line and support roles:

Police Scotland - recruitment

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Office (COPFS), Scotland’s Prosecution Service

COPFS is Scotland’s sole prosecution service which acts on the authority of the Lord Advocate:

COPFS - about us

There are a variety of legal and non-legal roles such as:

  • Procurator Fiscal Depute - applicants must be qualified to practice as a solicitor in Scotland
  • Fiscal Officer – an entry level post.

COPFS - careers

Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA)

The role of a Children’s Reporter is to decide whether a child or young person needs to attend a Children’s Hearing and attending court is a key element of the role. Many reporters have a legal background and vacancies are advertised on the SCRA website:

SCRA - a day in the life - Children's Reporter

Policy and Administration

Policy work is about influencing opinion, advocating ideas and providing information in a way that supports the organisation’s remit. There are many opportunities in this field, across a very wide range of employers, including Scottish and local government, political parties, think tanks and charities:

Scottish and local government

Consider entering government work at a lower level and working your way up to policy positions. Search vacancies on the Scottish Government website:

Work for Scotland

Working for a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP)

Careers Parliament advertises a wide range of jobs working for MSPs, either at Holyrood or in a local office:

Careers Parliament 

MSPs are responsible for the recruitment of their own staff. If you are interested in gaining work experience with an MSP you could consider contacting them speculatively. Our webpage about creating your own opportunity gives more advice on this approach:

Create your own opportunity

Think Tanks 

Think tanks aim to influence policy and social issues by persuading politicians, policy makers, journalists and the public of the merits of their research and thinking.

Our blog provides a comprehensive overview on working in think tanks. It highlights that having the relevant transferable skills and experience, allied to a genuine interest in research and policy can count for just as much as a particular degree:

Inform.ed blog - Working in think tanks: Not just for Politics Graduates; Not only policy research

The Civil Service

The Civil Service helps the Government implement its policies and provides opportunities to work across a variety of departments in legal and non-legal related duties.

If you’re unsure where in the Civil Service you would be a good fit, try their Career Matcher feature:

Civil Service Careers - Career Matcher

Civil Service Fast Streams are accelerated development programmes to leadership positions. There are 15 different schemes available with some open to any degree subject. Details of scheme eligibility can be found within each individual scheme section:

All schemes - Civil Service Fast Stream

General entry vacancies (i.e. non-fast stream) are advertised on the Civil Service website:

GOV.UK - Civil Service job search


There are a variety of roles in this area from tax assessment, advice and collection and consumer protection to ensuring good practice:

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

HMRC is the government department with responsibility for customs authority, administering certain state benefits and collecting and administering taxes.

Whilst a job in the drinks industry may not seem a likely place for a law graduate, University of Edinburgh, Law alumna, Laura Torrance, HMRC Analyst with Diageo, shares how she navigated a successful career change in this blog post:

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

Working in tax requires the application of tax legislation to companies, businesses, individuals and partnerships. HMRC's graduate programme (Tax Professional) requires at least a 2:2 degree in any subject:

GOV.UK - HMRC graduate programme (Tax Professional)


Compliance officers work in a variety of organisations that are subject to external regulations: financial services, law firms, universities and pharmaceuticals. The compliance industry is generally open to graduates of all disciplines. Job vacancy sources are listed in this compliance officer job profile which also highlights that law degrees are popular with most employers:

Prospects - Compliance officer job profile

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The FCA regulates the financial services industry in the UK. They have a graduate scheme:

FCA - early careers

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

CMA enforce consumer law to protect consumers. Law and economics degrees are popular with the CMA but they also consider applications from analytical individuals. All CMA jobs are advertised on the Civil Service jobs website:

GOV.UK - Civil Service job search

If you want to find out more about alternative careers…

You can stay informed by becoming a member of the Scottish Young Lawyers’ Association (SYLA) – membership is free. Events are run throughout the year and topics have included “Alternative Careers with your Law Degree”. You can also listen to their podcast series, “Conversations with SYLA”:

Scottish Young Lawyers' Association

Access a recording of the “Alternative careers with your law degree” event which was jointly hosted by SYLA and the Law Society of Scotland. Hear from panellists who share their varied career paths following graduation:

Alternative careers with your law degree - event recording