How to become a Lawyer in the UK

How to become a Lawyer in the UK

Working as a lawyer can be very rewarding in many ways. Perhaps you have strong feelings about social justice or simply would like to work in an industry where you can be generously rewarded financially. As a profession that is likely to be always in demand in society, the profession of lawyer is also one of the most promising professions that you can choose in the future.

The UK has always played an important political role in world affairs, with English remaining one of the main languages ​​of global communication and the main language of international law. Qualifying in the UK as a solicitor means you will be fully prepared to communicate, negotiate and work with partners and clients around the world.

There are a number of employment options available for UK law graduates. Many graduates go on to practice as a barrister or solicitor, and a UK law degree is recognized by the bar association in many countries around the world.

A law degree is also a qualification highly valued by employers with many transferable skills that can be applied to other industries. International students who have completed their law studies in the UK may be particularly interested in a career in international law, where they can work on human rights issues and advise NGOs or government bodies. There are also opportunities in large law firms that handle international legal matters.

To become a solicitor in the UK you will probably need an undergraduate degree and several years of training. It is a very demanding and academically competitive profession.

In this guide, we’ll look at the steps to becoming a qualified solicitor in the UK and explore:

Path to law school in the UK

The different legal professions and how to determine which professions to focus on

Various undergraduate law courses at UK universities

The best law schools in the UK and how to ultimately choose a university, including postgraduate options

We have a proven track record of helping students who want to pursue a successful career in the legal world and our programs are specifically designed to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

The Path to a Career in Law (International and UK Students)

Broadly speaking, there are four steps to becoming a fully qualified solicitor in the UK.

Step 1: Have an A level degree or equivalent institution

You will need at least three A-levels with high grades to get into law school. The top universities with the most competitive courses are likely to require three A or A* grades, although entry requirements are different for each university.

There is no specific A-level requirement for Law, but your course director will advise you on the best subjects, which are likely to include government, politics, geography, history and/or economics. A level law is not mandatory, but it can be useful to get an idea of ​​the subject.

The Law Foundation is an alternative route to studying law. Law foundations, such as the Kings Law Foundation, are typically one-year pre-university programs for international students that prepare them for the rigors of British law. At Kings A levels are based and Pearson are secured and recognized by a wide range of top quality UK universities.

Step Two: Complete a degree

To become a solicitor, you must complete a three-year (or four-year in Scotland) undergraduate degree. You can choose an LLB or a BA/BSc (see below for more on the differences).

Step #3: Take a Legal Education Course (LPC)

The LPC is the final stage of training to become a qualified solicitor. Obtained on successful completion of a law degree or other recognized qualification, it aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice and provide the practical skills required for a career as a lawyer. The LPC can usually be studied full-time or part-time.

It is important to note that any student starting in September 2021 will be studying for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which will effectively replace the LPC (and the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)). Those who have already started studying law, GDL or LPC before September 2021 will be able to qualify via the traditional route until 2032.

Step #4: Complete any professional training

The final step to becoming a qualified solicitor in the UK is to gain work experience on a legal training contract. This means spending two years in a law firm before becoming a qualified solicitor. During this time, you will also complete a professional skills course, which is a series of specialist training modules paid for by your law firm.

Below, we look at some of the steps that are part of the decision-making process when it comes to applying for a law degree.

Step 1: Determine if you want to be a lawyer or a barrister

The term “solicitor” is a general term for any person qualified to give legal advice as a licensed attorney. This includes solicitors and notaries and it is important to understand that there is some difference between them in the UK.

What does a lawyer do?

A lawyer is a person who defends or defends someone in court. Solicitors hire lawyers to represent a case in court and only step in when a lawyer is needed for the case. Lawyers are generally experts in various legal fields.

What does a lawyer do?

A barrister is a lawyer who works outside the courts and is in direct contact with clients to provide them with legal advice. Lawyers arrange initial meetings with clients and give advice on their specific situations. They also create cases if it is necessary to go to court. Solicitors are usually employed by a law firm or organization and will be paid instead of what would normally be independent lawyers.

What are the differences between a barrister and a lawyer?

Lawyers provide legal support, advice and services to clients who may be individuals, private companies or public sector organizations. They can often specialize in certain areas of law.

In England and Wales, solicitors represent individuals or organizations in court, investigate legal cases and advise clients on their cases. They are often self-employed, although some work for government departments or organizations such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In Scotland, defenders play a similar role.

Step 2: Decide whether you want to study a Bachelor of Laws (BBL), Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Law

If you want to practice as a solicitor in the UK, you need to study a three-year undergraduate degree (or four years in Scotland). You can choose an LLB or a BA/BSc, depending on your future plans or study preferences.

Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

LLB begins with the Latin acronym Legum Baccalaureus (also known as Bachelor of Laws). This is a law degree and is the first level of education if you want to become a solicitor in the UK. It teaches the seven ‘Essentials of Legal Knowledge’ and develops the analytical and practical knowledge and skills you need for a career in law. The seven core modules include Contract Law, Criminal Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law, European Union Law, Land Law and Property and Trust Law.

The LLB can be studied in various forms: the usual three-year full-time law form; as a two-year master’s degree; or part-time for four to six years.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Law

Instead of an LLB, some students choose to obtain an LL.B. or LL.B. in another lesson. These students must then complete a one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course before they can apply for the Legal Practice course.

Although this pathway may take longer, it may be suitable for students who are more interested in the academic side of law than in potential bar practice or admission to the bar, or who are considering a career in journalism, politics or businesses. of which they use skills. obtained in the correct university degree.

What are the differences between an LLB and an LLB/Bachelor of Laws?

The difference is that an LLB focuses exclusively on law, while a Bachelor of Laws includes modules in law and other subjects such as history or business. Bachelor of Laws students often study for joint specialist degrees, for example they can study law in German or law with criminology.

You can become a barrister or solicitor with a law degree. But unlike LLB Law, a Bachelor of Laws is not a proper law degree. This means you will probably still need to take a GDL – the one-year conversion course that all non-law degree holders take to qualify as solicitors (now replaced by SQEs).

Step 3: Choose the right law school

Once you have determined the type of legal career you want to pursue and the type of law degree you are most interested in, the next step is to research the different law schools in the UK so that you can apply for ‘UCAS.

Of course, it’s important to look at university rankings overall as well as subject-wise scores, but there are equally important factors such as:


Location and cost of accommodation

Graduate Employment Prospects

If you’re enrolling on a pre-university program at Kings, our specialist UCAS advisers will help you find the best university for your law course and put you on the best possible path to success.


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