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
- 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 studentsLaw for non-law
- Law Careers Moodle
- Warwick Law School Careers
- Warwick Law School Blog
- Student Opportunity video playlist: Legal Interviews & Assessment Centres
- The Law Miracle commercial sector news
- The Wired Wig podcast
- CheekyLittleCareers legal articles
- 30 Minute Chat connects law students with lawyers for free one-off 30-minute career chats
Introduction to the legal sector and job roles
- Legal sector overview
- Overview of law jobs and job profiles
- Paths to becoming a lawyer (flow chart)
- Beginners guide to a career in law
- What kind of lawyer do you want to be?
- Becoming a solicitor
- How do you become a solicitor? (flow chart)
- Types of law firms
- Different types of law firms
- Becoming a barrister
- How do you become a barrister? (flow chart)
- Types of barristers chambers
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).
- Chambers Student
- All About Law
- TargetJobs Law
- Legal Cheek
- The Legal 500 - comprehensive database with information on the capabilities of law firms across the world.
- Chambers & Partners - providers of legal research and analysis.
- Warwick Library Resources/Law - Nexis Uni (firms and chambers in the news); Westlaw or Lexis Library for cases involving barristers or solicitors.
- The Lawyer Portal Note The Lawyer Portal charges £80 for a personal statement review – this is freely available from the Student Opportunity Job Search Team)
- Future Lawyers Hub
- Bright Network Career Path Guide - Commercial Law
- Commercial Law Academy LinkedIn group for aspiring commercial lawyers (free) - note charge for other services
- How to become a Family Lawyer
- How to become a criminal solicitor
- Top 10 tips on how to become a sports lawyer
- The Corporate Law Academy - information on applying to corporate law firms. Note some services are charged including application review and mock interviews (freely available from university careers) and TCLA premium.
- Guide to the Chartered Patent Attorneys Profession
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.
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):
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 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.
- Chambers Student: Law firms making successful applications
- TargetJobs Law: Legal Applications, CVs, Cover Letters
- LawCareersNet: How to write a cover letter, cv or application form, How to apply for a training contract: a 4-step masterclass
- Commercial Law School: application advice
- Assessment Day: Watson Glaser practice tests (note some of these are free and some incur a cost)
- The Lawyer Portal: Free Watson Glaser practise test
- Student Opportunity/careers: Aptitude and Psychometric Testing
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).
- Student Opportunity/careers: approaching psychometric tests and succeeding at interviews and assessment centres; Video Interviews
- Shearman and Sterling: Training Contract Interview Tips
- TargetJobs Law: Preparing for training contract and vacation scheme interview questions
- Chambers Student: How to succeed at interviews and assessment days
- AllAboutLaw: Training contract interview process
- LawCareersNet: How to prepare for a training contract interview (video resource)
- Trainee Solicitor Surgery: Training Contract Interview Questions - an essential guide
- YouTube: Law Interview top tips from Warwick students and law firms
- Legal case study interviews
- Legal case studies and written exercises
- Chambers Student: Pupillage interviews, what to expect
- TargetJobs: How to ace your pupillage interview
- Pupillage and how to get it: Interviews
- The Lawyer Portal: The Lawyer Portal
- The Secret Barrister: An idiot's guide to navigating pupillage interviews
- Inns of Court Scholarship Interviews: LCN feature - How to finesse your BPTC scholarship interview
- University of Warwick: Inns of Court Scholarship Interviews Questions
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.
- SQE at-a-glance - Solicitors Regulation Authority
- Law conversion courses: LawCareersNet - Law Conversion Courses
- SQE: SQE - LawCareersBlog; LawCareersNet SQE Hub; Solicitors Regulation Authority
- SQE preparation courses: LawCareersNet - A guide to SQE preparation courses
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
Law Society - Lawyers with Disabilities Division
MyPlus - leading experts in disability and student recruitment in the UK including law
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
Junior Lawyers Division – affiliated with the Law Society, represents training and recently qualified solicitors
Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys –including a section on careers
iProBono – links organisations with students and lawyers interested in pro bono work
Solicitors Regulation Authority -regulatory body for solicitors and law firms
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