Interested in a career in law? There are many jobs available in the law industry and, while some legal professions are well known, there is also a range of less popular roles that can be just as rewarding. This article will look at the types of jobs in law, the skills and attributes you will need to work in this sector as well as any qualifications you may need.
- Why work in law?
- Different jobs in law
- What skills are needed for a career in law?
- What qualifications help with a job in law?
1. Why work in law?
Make a difference
No matter what area of the law you decide to go into, there will be the opportunity to help individuals, businesses or organisations and make a difference to them. Over the course of a career in law, you could get involved in defending innocent people, protecting human rights or supporting those who are less fortunate.
Dynamic working environment
If you don’t have the personality to suit a desk-based nine to five job, a career in law might be perfect for you as it can often involve unpredictable hours in a fast-paced environment. Legal professionals work on projects that change day to day, with tasks ranging from meeting clients, attending court to liaising with colleagues.
Continue to learn
You don’t stop learning about the law once you graduate. The legal system is always evolving and a career in law means staying up to date with advances in the sector. People who work in law find themselves navigating challenging issues and thinking outside of the box to find solutions to problems.
A big bonus of a career in law is the amount you could earn, particularly if you continue to progress throughout your career. Salaries vary depending on the role type and the area of law you go into, but a vast majority of roles within law come with a healthy wage.
2. Different jobs in law
A solicitor advises clients on the law and acts on their behalf in legal matters. A client could be an individual person, a company or local or central government.
Barrister and barristers’ clerk
Barristers provide solicitors with specialist advice when it’s needed and represent people in disagreements, in court and in investigations. A barristers’ clerk manages barristers chambers (rooms used by a barrister or group of barristers) and provides administrative support.
Judges hear evidence in court, make rulings and pass sentences. This is a competitive role and you will have been working as a barrister or solicitor for a number of years before becoming a judge.
Paralegals offer legal support but are not qualified solicitors or barristers. This role involves tasks like undertaking legal research, preparing legal documents and sometimes giving legal advice.
Chartered legal executive
Chartered legal executives are qualified lawyers who specialise in a particular area of law.
A conveyancer is a legal professional who supports those buying or selling property.
Legal secretaries provide admin support to lawyers and legal executives.
Immigration advisors give advice on asylum claims, such as citizenships, employment and deportation, and represent clients in court.
Coroners investigate deaths and decide on a cause of death when a death is unexplained.
Mediators are impartial third parties who work with a range of people to come to an agreement without going to court, for example, separated couples or landlords and tenants.
Arbitrators work on alternative dispute resolutions, helping individuals and businesses resolve legal matters outside the court.
There are many jobs available to work in courts:
- Court administrative assistants help the courts to run smoothly
- Court legal advisors offer advice on the law to magistrates and judges
- Court ushers make sure everyone involved in a case attends court and knows what to do
3. What skills are needed for a career in law?
The exact skills you need to work in law will depend on the job. However, there are some skills that will benefit you in any role in the legal industry, such as:
- Public speaking
- Critical thinking
- Attention to detail
If you are interested in a specific role, we would suggest looking at the job descriptions for these roles to see what skills regularly appear. A lot of careers in law will list skills as ‘essential’, meaning you won’t be considered for an interview if you don’t have them. Looking at job descriptions will allow you to identify the skills you need in order to work on them.
Read our guide to the top skills that employers want to see on your CV.
4. What qualifications help with a job in law?
The qualification requirements for careers in law vary between job types.
To be a paralegal, generally speaking you will need a law degree.
If you like the sound of being a solicitor, you’ll need to get an undergraduate degree and then take the Solicitor’s Qualifying Examination (SQE). You don’t have to get a relevant degree, however it does help to get a law degree (LLB). If you study an unrelated subject at degree level, it might help you to do a law conversion course or SQE preparation course before taking the exams. The final part of the SQE is doing two years of qualifying legal work experience.
If the university route isn’t for you, you could complete a Solicitor Apprenticeship. This lasts for six years and is aimed at A Level students, paralegals and chartered legal executives.
If you are interested in becoming a barrister, the Bar Standards Board have put together a list of qualifications needed to become a barrister.
If you would like to become a lawyer, but are not interested in being a solicitor or barrister, you could become a chartered legal executive. There are a few ways to do this:
- In-work CILEX training (if you are already employed in the law sector)
- Level 6 Chartered Legal Executive apprenticeship
- CILEX Graduate Fast Track Diploma (if you have a law degree or law conversion course)
If you’d like to work in law but university isn’t the right path for you, don’t worry! There are still plenty of routes into the industry. For example:
- There are no set qualifications needed to become a legal secretary. You could do a college course, apprenticeship or work your way into this role
- To become an immigration advisor, you need to become a registered advisor with the OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner)
- To become a licensed conveyancer, you will need to pass the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) qualifications
- You can work your way into mediation roles through other jobs that have enabled you to develop the skills required
- While having a law degree is advantageous, there are no legal requirements when it comes to getting a job as an arbitrator
Last updated on 19 December 2022Share this article