What can I do with a law degree?
A law degree is an excellent qualification that gives you a range of opportunities when you graduate. It will offer you numerous career paths in the legal sector, but you will also have a variety of transferable skills that will be valued by a range of employers.
Natural career paths following a law degree:
- Barrister’s clerk
- Chartered legal executive
- Company secretary
- Costs lawyer
- Licensed conveyancer
- Solicitor, Scotland
Career paths (transferable skills):
- Advice worker
- Border Force officer
- Chartered accountant
- Civil Service administrator
- Data analyst
- Data scientist
- External auditor
- Forensic computer analyst
- Human resources officer
- Patent attorney
- Political risk analyst
- Trading standards officer
These should only be used as a guide. Many employers will accept applications from students that have studied various degrees.
Those wanting to find a career within the legal industry should investigate doing an industry placement, pre-entry work is valued highly. Having pre-entry work will show that you are passionate and committed to a career in the sector. It will also put you ahead of your competition and advance your skill set.
A popular pathway for law graduates is to qualify as a solicitor or a barrister. With this, you can work in various legal practices, from criminal and family to probate and business law. Barristers will practise in a specific field of law and will be able to offer specialist legal advice. They do not deal directly with the public. When a solicitor can’t resolve a case, and it goes to court, this is when a barrister will become involved. There are other professions that would value your qualifications. This may include becoming a chartered legal executive, conveyancer, judicial assistant, paralegal, etc.
A great way to do this, if you are seeking a career directly linked to the legal profession, is by doing a mini-pupilage. A mini-pupillage is a short work experience placement that involves shadowing a barrister, possibly with the option of attending hearings in court. This is a first step and will give you a taste of the bar – they usually last one to five days. This will be unassessed and often involve shadowing in a set of chambers.
You can also get in touch with solicitor firms to enquire about placement opportunities. There may be opportunities to become a marshall and shadow a judge or you could enquire about doing pro-bono work (providing legal advice or representation free of charge) through organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Free Representation Unit. It’s also worth joining your university law society, as this will further develop your skills and insight into the industry.
How to enhance your CV
A law degree will provide you with the basic foundations needed to get your foot in the door to the industry. However, a deeper understanding of legal implications and obligations, and the skills to apply this are learnt elsewhere in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Following your graduation, make sure the following skills are highlighted on your CV:
- Research skills using a range of sources, including verbal questioning
- Evaluation skills and the ability to interpret and explain complex information clearly
- Analytical skills
- Reasoning and critical judgement skills
- The ability to formulate sound arguments
- Lateral thinking and problem-solving skills
- The ability to write concisely
- Confident and persuasive oral communication skills
- Attention to detail and the ability to draft formal documents with precision.
Unlike some other degrees, if you want to pursue a career in law, you must continue your studies and go on to do vocational training. There are various courses and qualifications you will need to complete in order to become a trained professional within the industry. For example, if you want to be a solicitor, you will have to complete the Legal Practice Course, followed by a paid training contract with a law firm. Similarly, if you want to be a barrister, you will need to undertake a bar course, plus a one-year pupillage.
What are law graduates doing?
After 15 months of graduating, 56% of law graduates are usually in full-time employment. 35% are working as legal professionals, legal associates (28%) or professionals (6%).
The BA (Hons) Law covers a wide range of legal subjects so that you are skilled in advising organisations on how to comply with their legal obligations and prepares you for success in legal or law-related settings. This degree will equip you with a solid understanding of how laws and regulations shape our society, enabling you to embark on a career in a wide variety of sectors that use law. You’ll also learn the knowledge and skills sought after by employers in law-related and business sectors.
A specialist MBA with Banking and Finance will develop your personal capabilities, skills and knowledge to prepare you for an advanced career in banking. You’ll study the workings of banks, investment firms and other financial institutions, learning to apply strategic thinking to real-world scenarios. An MBA equips graduates with a 360-degree view of the banking and finance industry. This level of insight is highly valuable to firms looking to recruit leaders with a deep understanding of the business.