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Legal Services (including patents)

Law is a popular profession for University of Warwick graduates both 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 will need good communication and self-presentation skills, be able to work with clients and have personal integrity and commercial awareness. You can develop many of these skills through activities that 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 can help you demonstrate your commitment to, and motivation for, the law.

Video playlist: Legal CVs

Video playlist: Legal Interviews & Assessment Centres

Video playlist: Routes into law
Other information available:

The mix of skills required will always depend on the specific job however the following skills tend to be important in the legal sector:

  • Commercial awareness
  • Communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management and organisation
  • Academic ability
  • Resilience and self-confidence
  • Research and analysis

Other significant skills recruiters look for include teamwork, problem solving, and creativity. For further information on skills valued by the sector and how to develop them: Prospects ‘7 skills for a successful law career’

Securing a law firm vacation scheme and/or a mini-pupillage at a chambers is a great way to gain an insight into a career as a solicitor or a barrister. However competition for places is fierce and there are lots of other ways to gain experience outside of these formal schemes. In addition gaining other experience will help you to stand out in applications for vacation schemes and mini-pupillages.

Use the link below to explore how to gain legal experience: Prospects – Law work experience

Consider whether you are interested in a specific role (solicitor or barrister), it might be too early to make that decision and you may ideally be looking for experience across both roles. Also consider whether there are any areas of the law that particularly interest you. This will help you target firms/chambers. Were you impressed by specific firms/chambers that you spoke to at the Law Fair or at a Law firm presentation on Campus? Use some of the websites listed below to research firms and the opportunities available.

myAdvantage – the University vacancy database with details of employers who are targeting University of Warwick students

Law Careers Net:

Chambers Student Guide:

Target Jobs Law:


InsideSherpa has collaborated with a wide range of graduate recruiters to produce virtual internships including Law firms – so if you haven’t managed to secure a vacation scheme it may still be possible to gain the experience you need.

Current collaborations with Law firms include:

  • Linklaters - Commercial Law
  • White & Case - The Future of Law is Global
  • Latham & Watkins - Mergers & Acquistions
  • Latham & Watkins - White Collar Defense & Investigations
  • Baker McKenzie - Begin your World Class Career
  • Pinsent Masons - Virtual Work Experience Programme
  • Leo Cussen Centre for Law - Human Rights Virtual Internship

Not all small firms will be in a position to offer work experience but many will consider it following a speculative approach using a targeted covering letter and CV. Whilst small firms may not offered the structured experience of larger firms with vacation schemes they do offer the opportunity to experience the delivery of legal services to individuals and small businesses. To find small firms use the following sites to research firms by location and practice area:

Find a Solicitor – free online service run by the Law Society for information on organisations/people providing legal services in England and Wales

Find a Solicitor in Scotland – contact details of law firms in Scotland

Local directories like Yellow Pages and Thomson will also have listings for law firms.

Law firms typically recruit more than two years in advance for training contracts so for law students this means making 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. Entrants to training contracts at law firms and pupillage at chambers will usually have gained a wide variety of law related work experience such as open days, vacation schemes, mini pupillages and other legal experience to demonstrate commitment, insight and motivation. For those heading down the solicitor route if you don’t secure a training contract during your penultimate (law students) or final year (other disciplines) you can continue to apply it just means that there will be a gap between finishing university and starting the next stage of your training as a solicitor. You could look at it as a great opportunity to gain more law related experience or maybe you might decide this field isn’t for you and choose to use the skills gained through your law/other degree in another sector. The great thing is the majority of graduate job roles advertised are for graduates of any discipline. For those heading for a career at the Bar the application timetable for pupillage 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 2017-2018 application cycle). Competition for pupillage is even fiercer than for training contracts. Those determined to pursue a career at the Bar may choose to gain further law related experience before reapplying for pupillage. Well researched and targeted applications are most likely to succeed which provide evidence of the skills and attributes sought by employers and show motivation towards their practice areas and clients. In addition to referring to the information sources below students are encourage to make use of the information and support provided by Student Careers & Skills and to approach their dedicated careers consultant for help with producing quality applications.

Chambers Student: Law firms making successful applications

Pupillage & how to get it

Chambers Student: The Bar – pupillage applications and interviews

Target Jobs Law: Applications and CVs

Target Jobs Law: Scholarship funding from Inns of Courts for the BPTC

Prospects: Applying for Jobs

Warwick Law Careers Blog

Applications – the Legal Sector: Youtube clips with advice from Law Firms on how to approach applications including ‘mitigating circumstances’

Commercial Law School Youtube channel

Careers Blog

Get your application right and the chances are you’ll get invited to attend an interview and/or assessment centre. Large 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 and you can use the link below to identify examples and practice taking similar tests. Large firms will often use video interviews before inviting you to a face to face interview and/or assessment centre. Smaller and many midsize firms use a more straight forward approach and are likely to invite you to a face to face interview straight away which may include other elements often found at an assessment centre e.g. formal presentation, case study or group exercise.

Use the following links to access information on preparing for psychometric tests, interviews and assessment centres.

Student Careers & Skills – advice on approaching psychometric tests and succeeding at interviews and assessment centres

Chambers Student – Pupillage interviews, what to expect

TargetJobs – Preparing for training contract and vacation scheme interview questions

TargetJobs – How to ace your pupillage interview

Preparing for Legal Interviews handout

Top Tips from students and law firms

Inns of Court Scholarship Interviews – sample questions handout

Watson Glaser - practice tests

Interview Feedback – feedback from Warwick students attending law firm interviews and assessment centres (Word documents)

Applicants may be asked questions at interview about how the law is changing and challenges for the profession. ‘Tomorrow’s Lawyers: an Introduction to Your Future’ by Susskind, Richard E (OUP 2013) predicts changes in the world of law and provides a guide to what future legal practice will look like and offers practical guidance to those who intend to build careers in law. The book is available from the University Library

See also: BBC Law in Action

Additional resource links

AllAboutLaw – careers information

Chambers Student – overview of profession & opportunities

Law Careers Advice Network – site covers contracts, pupillages, courses & finance

Law Careers Net – overview of profession, opportunities & facilities to personalise research & action

Lawyer2B – careers information

Lex100 – information on all major law firms in UK

InsideBuzz – register to access ‘An Inside Look at Law Firms’ Guide

The Bar Council – careers page

Middle Temple – The Pupillage Podcast

Wikijob – information on application and assessment procedures, typical interview questions

Trainee Solicitor Surgery – careers advice on how to get a training contract (free ebook offer)

The Lawyer Portal – guides and events for aspiring lawyers

Glassdoor – for jobs, reviews of companies and interview information

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

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.

Society of Black Lawyers E-mail:

Pathways Plus programme – Sutton Trust programme which supports students to build their experience and professional network

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.

Muslim Lawyers Association

Society of Asian Lawyers

Chambers Student - careers information and vacancy details for training contracts and pupillages

LawCareers.Net - careers information and vacancy details for training contracts and pupillages

Target Jobs Law – careers information and vacancy details for training contracts and pupillages

Pupillage gateway – information on the Bar Council and pupillage

Government Legal Service

Crown Prosecution Service

Recruitment & Employment Confederation – information on choosing the right recruitment agency

Agency Central – online search facility to find recruitment agencies

The Lawyer – legal vacancies including agency vacancies

Totally Legal - legal vacancies including agency vacancies

Law Gazette Jobs - legal jobs for solicitors

BCL Legal – legal recruitment agency for all types of legal jobs

Simply Law – job site

The Governance Institute – a career as a Company Secretary – work experience and insight days

Working and studying in the USA

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

International Student – guide on studying Law in the USA (and in other countries)

New York Bar Qualification – private training provider

Law Crossing – a US based legal employment website

Chambers USA – information on law firms in the USA

Law Society Directory of Solicitors

Legal Action Group – Legal Aid practitioners group

Find a Solicitor – The Law Society of Scotland

Law conversion (CPE/GDL) and LPC course – LawCareers.Net and Chambers Student and Prospects

CPE, Diploma in Law & LPC courses- course lists and application procedure

Bar Council – education and training site

BARSAS – application service for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

Bar Standards Board

Law Society 

Law Society of Scotland

Junior Lawyers Division – affiliated with the Law Society, represents training and recently qualified solicitors

Association of Personal Injury lawyers

Bar Council – comprehensive guide to the bar and how to train as a barrister

Bar Standards Board

British Institute of Comparative and International Law

British Insurance Law Association

British Maritime Law Association

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys

Fulbright Commission – information resources for those wanting to practise law in the United States

Legal Aid Agency

Institute of Legal Executives

Institute of Paralegals

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators

Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys –including a section on careers

International Association of Entertainment Lawyers

International Bar Association 

iProBono – links organisations with students and lawyers interested in pro bono work

Solicitors Regulation Authority -regulatory body for solicitors and law firms

The International and European Law Society at the University of Warwick

Human Rights Careers website with a wide range of career related information on HR including free online courses, entry level jobs, paid internships

Working in Human Rights Handout 2015

Careers Blog – How to get a job in Human Rights 2014