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Legal Services

Law as a profession is popular with Law graduates and graduates of other disciplines. Most people think of either solicitor or barrister when they think of careers in the law however there are other roles including:

  • patent examiner, patent attorney or trade mark attorney
  • paralegal
  • legal executive
  • licensed conveyancer
  • barristers’ clerk

As well as analytical and research skills you need good communication and self-presentation skills, the ability to work with clients and have personal integrity and commercial awareness. You can develop many of these skills through activities you engage in at university. Gaining law related experience can help you decide if this career area is right for you, which roles to target and to demonstrate your commitment to, and motivation for, the law.

Also see our guidance for Law careers for non-law students

Law for non-law

Useful links

Introduction to the legal sector and job roles

Law careers & research resources

Advice for law and non-law students on how to progress your legal career, information on law firms, chambers and practice areas, work experience (vacation schemes and mini-pupillages) and graduate opportunities (training contracts and pupillage).

Other information:

Gain legal experience and search for graduate roles

Securing a law firm vacation scheme and/or a mini-pupillage at chambers is a great way to gain insight into a career as a solicitor or a barrister. Vacation schemes and mini-pupillages are posted on websites like LawCareersNet, Chambers, TargetJobsLaw, AllAboutLaw, on the University's myAdvantage platform and on firms/chambers websites (details of training contracts, pupillage and other legally related jobs are also listed on many of these sites).

Competition is fierce so check out other ways to gain relevant experience: Prospects – Law work experience

Smaller regional and high street firms might be willing to offer work experience following a speculative approach using a targeted covering letter and CV. To find small firms use Find A Solicitor and Find A Solicitor in Scotland

The following links are examples of websites with vacation schemes, mini-pupillages, training contracts and pupillage with deadlines for application.


Vacation schemes
Training contracts
The Legists

A specialist A.I. algorithmic data mining platform for law providing law graduate jobs, paralegal and training contracts with details on qualification route (LPC/SQE):


(Note vacation schemes, training contracts and other legal jobs are advertised on other websites including AllAboutLaw, Prospects, Target Jobs and myAdvantage)

Other legal learning opportunities

The Forage is a platform providing free virtual internships that are available to anyone. They have a wide range of programmes available including Law. Whilst these programmes may not have the prestige of traditional vacation schemes and mini-pupillages they provide an opportunity to gain an insight into law firms and law in practice. Look out for virtual legal internships offered by other organisations (e.g. University of Law, Bright Network's Internship Experience UK).


Law firms

Law firms typically recruit more than two years in advance for training contracts. For some law students this means starting to make applications for training contracts during your penultimate year often at the same time as you are trying to secure vacation schemes. Graduates from other disciplines typically apply during their final year. Large law firms have a multi stage application process and you need to successfully navigate each stage before proceeding to the next one. Many (but not all) use psychometric assessments after the application form Including Watson & Glaser (critical thinking assessment). Successful applicants will usually have gained some law related work experience (demonstrates commitment, insight and motivation). Those who don’t secure a training contract can continue to apply it just means there will be a gap between finishing university and starting the next stage of training.

The Bar

Competition for pupillage is even fiercer than for training contracts. Applicants may face rejection and those determined to pursue a career at the Bar may need to gain further experience before reapplying for pupillage. Applicants need to have completed several mini-pupillages as well as gaining other relevant experience. Recruitment for mini-pupillage is often on a rolling basis. The Pupillage recruitment cycle runs from approximately January to May each year with adverts live in December of the year before. Applications are made between January and February with offers made in May (based on the 2020-2021 cycle). Scholarship funding for the bar vocational course is provided by the 4 Inns of Court (Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple, Inner Temple).

Interviews and assessment centres

Many law firms use video interviews before inviting you to a face to face interview and/or assessment centre. Smaller, midsize firms and barristers chambers may use a more straight forward approach and invite you to face to face interview following a successful application (note this may include other assessment processes e.g. formal presentation, case study, advocacy or group exercise).

Law firms

The Bar

Law conversion courses (non-law graduates) and professional legal education (LPC/SQE and bar vocational course)


On 1 September 2021 the route to qualifying as a solicitor will change with the introduction of the SQE exam. Students starting degree courses (law and non-law) after September 2021 will need to take the SQE. The SQE is an examination that tests the application of legal knowledge to client contexts (SQE1) and legal skills (SQE2). Both law and non-law students will need to prepare for the SQE. For non-law students this will including taking a law conversion course (also required for entry to the Bar) as well as completing SQE 1 & 2 preparation prior to sitting the SQE exam. Whilst law students will already have an understanding of the legal theory they will need SQE preparation to enable them to understand how to apply their legal knowledge (SQE1) and to develop the skills required for professional practice (SQE 2). For information on law conversion courses, the SQE, and SQE preparation courses use the links below.


From September 2020 anyone pursuing a career as a Barrister who has not already started the BPTC must complete one of the new Bar courses (vocational component of the training for the bar) approved by the Bar Standards Board (current BPTC students have until 2022 to complete the course). Previously (BPTC) there was a centralised application system. This is no longer the case and applicants for the bar vocational course now apply directly to the course provider and can make any number of applications. A list of providers of the bar vocational course can be found on the Bar Council’s website.

Additional resource links

Law Careers Net Diversity Access Schemes – list of diversity projects and access schemes

Aspiring Solicitors – organisation committed to increasing diversity, provides information and support for students including skills development and networking

SEO/London – prepare talented students from ethnic minority or low socioeconomic backgrounds for career success. Their careers programmes partner with over 120 sponsor firms across 8 leading industries including corporate law, consulting and investment banking.

The AS Foundation - provides financial support to students who are the first generation to go to university, or from low income backgrounds and are interested in pursuing a career as a solicitor. Support covers financial barriers to studying and work experience related costs.

Rare Recruitment – diversity recruitment specialist. Vantage is a free online portal that connects students with top law firms and allows firms to target specific students based on different criteria and offer them opportunities.

Diversity Solutions events - Diversity Solutions was created to connect major organisations across all sectors with diverse talent. It services include careers events.

Law Society - Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division

Muslim Lawyers Association

Society of Asian Lawyers

Society of Black Lawyers

Law Society - Lawyers with Disabilities Division

MyPlus - leading experts in disability and student recruitment in the UK including law

All About Law – specialist legal platform AllAboutLaw have developed a number of diversity programmes in collaboration with law firms and offer a diversity bursary.

Bridging the Bar –increasing the equality of access to opportunities in the legal profession across all underrepresented groups

The Balance Careers – practising Law in the US with a foreign Law degree

Guide to studying Law in the USA (and in other countries)

Fullbright Commision - information on studying in the USA and postgraduate scholarships

Law Crossing – a US based legal employment website

Chambers USA – information on law firms in the USA

Vault Law 100 – opinions and observations on Vault’s top 100 Law Firms in the USA based on their annual survey and a directory of US Law Schools

Lexadin – world-wide law guide

Refugee Action – supports refugees & people seeking asylum in the UK

Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants – a queer activist group that, through fundraising and direct action, stand in solidarity with all migrants and refugees

The Justice First Fellowship – provides fully funded opportunities for intending lawyers who are committed to public welfare law to take up a two year training programme with one of the fellowships host organisations

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) – a group of lawyers who are committed to practising in those areas of law, both criminal and civil, that have traditionally been publicly funded

UVP - Unified Volunteer Platform – United Nations Volunteer – details of how to become a UN volunteer and the opportunities available

Working for UK Mission to the WTO, UN and Other International Organisations (Geneva) - GOV.UK – and other International Organisations (Geneva) - GOV.UK including internships and current work opportunities

UN Careers – Information on the UN Junior Professional Officer Programme and recruitment process

JPO Vacancies | UN Junior Professional Officer Programme – JPO vacancies

Human Rights Defenders – Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) are people who, individually or collectively, work peacefully on behalf of others to promote and defend internationally recognized human rights

Scottish Legal Aid Board – administers publicly funded legal assistance and advises Scottish Ministers on its strategic development for the benefit of society

Liberty – an independent membership organisation which challenges injustice, defends freedom and campaigns to make sure everyone in the UK is treated fairly