Solicitors advise clients about the law and act on their behalf in legal matters.
Salary range: £25,000 to £100,000
How to become a solicitor
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
In order to qualify, you could:
- do a law degree, then complete the postgraduate Legal Practice Course
- do a non-law degree followed by the Common Professional Examination or Graduate Diploma in Law
To get into some universities you’ll need to pass the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT).
You’ll usually need:
- 3 A levels or equivalent
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a solicitor degree apprenticeship to qualify as a solicitor.
This route usually takes around 5 years and you’ll need your employer’s support to do it.
To do this apprenticeship, you’ll need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
- 3 A levels or equivalent
You could start with a legal firm and do on-the-job training like the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Level 6 Professional Diploma in Higher Law and Practice.
You would then complete a period of further training to qualify as a solicitor.
Competition for training contracts is tough so you need to show that you have consistently good grades as you progress through your education.
Getting work experience in different types of settings can help you to stand out and show your commitment. There are work experience schemes to encourage people from black and minority ethnic communities, women and people with disabilities into the legal profession.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join The Law Society for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- excellent verbal communication skills to work with different people
- active listening skills
- analytical thinking skills for working on complex cases
- knowledge of English language for explaining legal matters to non-experts
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent written communication skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
In this role you could:
- advise and represent clients in court
- instruct barristers or advocates to act for clients
- draft confidential letters, contracts and legal documents
- research legal records and case law
- attend meetings and negotiations
- manage finances and prepare papers for court
- use plain English to explain complex legal matters to clients
- keep up to date with changes in the law
You could work in an office, in a court, in a prison or at a police station.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a partner in a private practice firm of solicitors. As a commercial solicitor, you could manage an in-house legal department.