The law impacts on every organisation within every industry, meaning career options within the legal sector are numerous and diverse. Lawyers work in both the public and private sectors, from arbitration in international corporate transactions to litigation on behalf of an individual. Working in the legal sector demands an ability to analyse and research, alongside strong writing skills, commercial awareness and resilience.
You don’t need to have studied law at university to go into the legal professions. Instead, you could take a conversion course after finishing your non-law degree.
Where can you work?
There are opportunities to qualify as a solicitor or barrister in both the private and public sectors.
- Private practice law firms – several directories provide an overview of the specialisms, locations, key contacts etc. of each firm, including The UK Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.
- Chambers – access a list of UK chambers on the Chambers and Partners site.
- Government – the UK government offers the Legal Trainee Scheme, with places in departments including the Government Legal Department (GLD), Commercial Law Group (CLG), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), National Crime Agency (NCA) and Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA).
- Corporate Companies – large corporates often offer in-house solicitor training contracts.
What’s changing in the sector
A recent Chambers Student blog explains how technology is driving change in the corporate legal sector. From the introduction of technology enabled contracting to the rise of legal start-ups, trainees are expected to engage with these technological changes and understand how they generate business growth and support client demand.
Brexit offers challenge and opportunity to the legal market. For an overview, visit the Law Society webpage on Brexit and the legal sector.
Training and qualification routes into the profession are changing. In 2021, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is expected to introduce the Solicitor's Qualifying Examination (SQE), a new method of assessment in England and Wales. Read more about this important change on the LSE's Law site. A list of FAQs can be found on the SRA website.
The Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) is also undergoing consultation and change, but the implications are not as clear at the time of writing. Stay up to date with developments by checking the Bar Standard Board regularly.
CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities in Law.
Law Careers.Net – excellent website for general information about training, including training contact and vacation scheme deadlines.
All About Law – good introduction to the legal sector.
Legal Cheek – good resource for blogs and keeping abreast of trends in the sector.
The Law Society – independent professional body for solicitors.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority – important resource for updates about training.
Bar Standards Board – barristers' regulatory body in England and Wales.
Bar Council – professional body representing barristers.
Chambers Student – great resource for comparing different employers and exploring their training contract or pupillage offers.
Recruitment websites and agencies include: Totally Legal, Chadwick Nott, Taylor Root, Chase Portland, Garfield Robbins
The Lawyer Portal – quizzes, guides and information about different careers in the legal professions.
Internship and work experience opportunities
Anti-Slavery – volunteer placements on a flexible schedule.
Center for International Environmental Law
Environmental Law Foundation
EU Trademarks and Designs Registration Office – 5-month traineeships offered twice a year.
European Data Protection Supervisor – 5-month traineeships available twice a year.
ICC - International Criminal Court – offers both legal and non-legal internships.
International Court of Arbitration – 2 months in length.
JUSTICE – law students can apply for this internship where they will undertake legal research.
Permanent Court of Arbitration – 3-month long internships.
SEO London – offers vacation schemes open to students from ethnic minorities.
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative