If you have studied law and are wondering about your career options, routes into the most popular legal careers and how you might gain relevant work experience, the following information gives tips and pointers.
Options with law
If you have studied law you have four main career options:
- Careers that traditionally lead on from your degree (such as solicitor or barrister roles)
- Other careers within law firms (such as working as a paralegal or legal executive)
- Careers within the wider criminal justice system (such as court administration, offender management or probation)
- Careers outside of law and the criminal justice system that utilise the skills that you have developed through your legal degree such as: negotiation, advice, debate and research.
Download our leaflet on Law Careers for some suggestions. You may also also find some of our other guides useful:
Becoming a solicitor or barrister
There is a very specific route to becoming a solicitor or barrister which involves postgraduate study as well as vocational training. You will need to know about training providers, types of law firms, application deadlines, costs and levels of competition. Read more on our pages about Becoming a Barrister and Becoming a Solicitor.
What do UoW law students do six months after graduating?
Some students were undertaking training to become a solicitor on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or a Barrister on the Bar Professional Training Course, however others went into a wide variety of roles, including:
- Legal PA
- Case Worker for the CPS
- Legal Secretary
- Property Paralegal
- Volunteer Legal Adviser
- Probation Officer
- Trainee Financial Adviser
- Trainee Accountant
- Working for a fraud team in a bank
- Claims handler for an insurance company
- Debt Recovery Clerk
- Trainee Forex and Commodities Trader
- Probation Officer
- Benefits Officer
- Mental Health Support Worker
- Youth Residential Officer
- Civil Servant
- Personal Assistant
- Administrators for companies in sectors such as marketing, finance and manufacturing
- Teaching Assistant
- Youth Worker
- Support Worker in a school
- English Tutor for an agency
- Human Resource Assistant
- Public Sector Consultant
- Emergency Response Operative for Social Services
- Estate Agent
- Call Centre Operatives
- Retail Assistants, Supervisors and Managers
- Bar and Waiting-On Staff
Of those that were studying, the majority were undertaking the LPC and a smaller number the BPTC. Students were also completing LLMs (postgraduate degrees in law) and courses such as:
- MA in Human Resources
- PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) in Post Compulsory Education
- ILEX Fast Track Diploma
- On the job training for Financial Advisers
Work experience develops your skills and knowledge and allows you to find out about career options and vacancies that may never be widely advertised. Employers from all sectors value work experience and, in a competitive job market, can help you stand out from other candidates. If you are specifically focusing on a career as a solicitor or barrister, gaining work experience will improve your chance of being excepted onto postgraduate courses, training contracts and pupillages.
Some of the main ways of gaining experience relevant to careers in the legal and criminal justice sector are:
- Applying for structured summer/ winter placement schemes
- Applying for mini pupillages
- Contacting law firms speculatively to arrange work shadowing or placements
- Undertaking voluntary work for organisations providing legal advice to the community (eg the Legal Advice Centre run by the University of Wolverhampton)
- Joining the Bar and Mooting Society at the University of Wolverhampton
See our handout on improving your prospects in law for more suggestions and information.
Download our list of useful law sites, resources and directories and our leaflet on Law Careers.