Legal Careers

A wide range of information is available to help students develop their career plans within the legal profession. As well as the information on our website there is also advice and guidance available from Careers Consultants in Careers and Employability. A specific workshop programme will be available for law students and other current students interested in converting to law. 

Below are useful websites which incorporate information on training routes, specialist areas of law, tips for applications, interviews and other careers information that can aid your career choice and help your chances of success.

The Bar Council 
The professional organisation representing Barristers in England and Wales.

The Law Society  
The professional organisation representing Solicitors in England and Wales.  Includes access to Find A Solicitor

Juriousity 
Legal expert directory including barristers.

All About Law
Includes a timetable for career planning and tips for entry to law.

Black Lawyers Directory
Aims to highlight, promote and champion diversity within the legal profession.

Chambers and Partners
Provides search facility for top law firms and chambers as well as tips on applications and interviews.

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
The website of the professional body for Chartered Legal Executives outlines the role and the training pathways.

Institute of Paralegals
Details what paralegals do, qualifications relevant to paralegals and how to find employment as a paralegal.

LawCareers.Net 
Another general legal careers website, produced in association with the Trainee Solicitors Group.
You can access their digital handbook here.

The Law Centres Network
Information on public funded legal services.  Explains what law centres do, the areas of law they are involved in and details work experience and vacancy opportunities. 

Lawyer 2B
Information on current legal issues and a sound careers section.

The Lawyer Portal
A careers resource for all aspects of a career in law including deadlines for applications and articles on current issues in recruitment and training.

Legal Cheek
An unreverential perspective on what is happening in the legal profession and opportunity listing for large legal recruiters.

Legal 500 
Lists and ranks top law firms in the UK and worldwide.

Prospects Legal  
Careers information including details on vacation placements, pupillages, mini-pupillages and training contracts.

The Society of Black Lawyers
Offers networking for lawyers and aspiring lawyers African, Asian and Caribbean lawyers and aspiring lawyers in the UK. For student members it provides the opportunity to access mini pupillages, judicial shadowing and work experience.

TARGETjobs
General legal careers website from a well known careers publisher. There are different sections for solicitors and barristers. Includes a search facility for opportunities. 

University of Law:
Future Lawyers Network is available for current law students.

Careers and employability resources for students plus the careers blog.

Further information

Advice and guidance
Careers Consultants are available for short appointments and for interviews to discuss career choice, applications, training and opportunities for training contracts and pupillages.

Events Calendar
Provides a full listing of talks and workshops run by Careers and Employability for students considering legal careers.

For students considering a career in the legal profession, there is no real substitute for relevant work experience. It will be invaluable in helping you to decide:

  • Are you suited for the legal profession - do you have the skills, personality and commitment needed?
  • What type of legal work would suit you - solicitor, barrister, paralegal?
  • What areas of law would you enjoy - employment, immigration, commercial acquisitions...?
  • What kind of organisation would you want to work for - a commercial law firm, high street practice, local government, regional chambers...?

Not only can work experience give you the opportunity to answer the above and many more questions, but it also allows you to prove to legal employers that you have made an informed and appropriate career choice. It can be difficult to convince a potential employer that you are committed to a legal career without evidence of hands-on experience.

Many law firms recruit a substantial number of their trainees through their work experience schemes. Equally, some chambers will only accept pupillage applications from candidates who have already undertaken a mini-pupillage with them. 

Formal work experience schemes with law firms are usually, but not exclusively, for second year law students or non-law graduates prior to the Graduate Diploma in Law. Informal arrangements can be undertaken at any stage - the sooner the better. Mini-pupillages are more flexible.

Many large law firms also offer Open Days for students, sometimes including first years, these can be applied for on a competitive basis. Deadlines tend to be December-January for Easter but see individual firms. See: http://www.allaboutlaw.co.uk/law-careers/first-year-opportunities/first-year-law-open-days

Vacation placements/internships with solicitors

Time with a solicitor could include:

  • Court visits
  • Observing interviews
  • Familiarisation with cases and transactions
  • Visiting companies
  • Attending workshops

Typically, only larger firms provide paid placements. These larger firms will have a very clear structure to their placement and if you perform well your application for a training contract may be put through to interview automatically.

Time in smaller firms will be very much shaped by your supervisor and you can use your initiative to suggest work you could do and ensure exposure to a range of legal areas. Students who have had successful work experience in such firms have had training opportunities saved for them or recommendations to other firms.

Making applications

These have become increasingly competitive - especially the structured, paid schemes with larger firms. City/commercial may require a specific tariff at A level and certain results in Year 1 of your degree. The largest intake is over the summer vacation but some firms also take students at Easter and Christmas. For such firms you should : 

  • Enquire early - August onwards for Easter, November onwards for the summer.
  • Check closing dates - may be as early as October for Christmas and January for the summer. Many large firms close their applications well before the official deadline - sometimes up to a month in advance.
  • Some firms' closing dates may be different for non-law/conversion students.
  • Spend time preparing your CV or online application form.
  • Apply to advertised schemes on a speculative basis.

Smaller firms or organisations with a small legal team may recruit up to Easter but it is best to make enquiries from the New Year onwards to ensure you don't miss anything.

Identifying firms

The Law Society Find A Law Firm Directory 
solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk lists all solicitors in England and Wales while the other websites select on the basis of performance, specialist fields and for payment of an advertisement.

Some solicitors, especially the larger firms or organisations, advertise their placements as below:

Prospects Legal 
Provides a search function for vacation work.

The Training Contract and Pupillage Handbook 
Lists the deadlines for a high number of firms/chambers offering vacation work.

Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession 
Gives details of highly rated firms and chambers in specialist fields. The student edition includes a vacation work listing and timetable. 

The Legal 500 
Provides a listing of high profile, specialist practitioners and details the firms for which they work.

Smaller firms/organisations usually rely on speculative applications and can be identified via the Law Society website as above.  

A number of these publications in paper formats are available on reference in Careers and Employability. Spare copies will be available at certain times of the year. Careers and Employability also receives details of firms recruiting for vacation work which we keep in the Careers and Employability Centre, sent to the School of Law and post in CareerHub.

Mini-pupillages with barristers

Mini-pupillages are periods of work experience spent with barristers. You can undertake mini-pupillages at any point during your degree, prior to applying for the Bar Vocational Course and pupillages.

Mini-pupillages with a barrister could incorporate:

  • Helping to prepare papers
  • Observing in court
  • Researching acts
  • Sitting in on conferences with clients

Mini-pupillages can be assessed or un-assessed. 

Assessed mini-pupillages are becoming more popular. The purpose of the placement is to allow the chambers to assess the student over the week as a means of selecting candidates for pupillages. Typically the mini-pupil will be asked to complete a piece of written work and discuss it with one or more members of the chambers.

Un-assessed places are available at most chambers. This is not to say, however, that your behaviour and performance are not informally noted. Students find it valuable to have a reference or develop contacts through a mini-pupillage.

Mini-pupillages are usually unpaid.

Identifying opportunities

Opportunities can be found at:

Juriosity www.juriosity.com

The directory which lists all Chambers in England and Wales can be accessed via Juriosity. This new portal requires that you sign up and will then let you access the Directory and a plethora of information about legal cases. 

Pupillage Gateway  www.pupillagegateway.com
The Chambers recruiting for pupillages typically have mini-pupillages available. See individual entries.

The Training Contract and Pupillage Handbook  www.lawcareers.net/Barristers 
Provides a list of Chambers offering mini-pupillages.

The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession   www.chambersandpartners.com  
Includes profiles of selected Chambers which include a mini-pupillage entry.

Applying for mini-pupillages

Chambers are less structured in their recruitment than law firms and therefore more flexible regarding timing. In order to ensure you don't miss any deadlines, begin to check individual chambers' websites in line with the dates suggested for solicitors above.

Applications are usually via CV but larger Chambers may require you to complete an application form. See the Chambers' websites for details. Given the importance of the written word and presentation to the role of barrister, CVs must be selective and effective. Careers and Employability can provide information and guidance to help with CVs, application forms and interviews. You can see a Careers Consultant and access resources on applications via CareerHub.

What else can I do to make myself attractive to recruiters?

In the current climate, securing work experience is tough. You can also enhance your understanding of the profession and your CV by:

  • Sitting and observing in court without formal work experience and can arrange to shadow magistrates and judges (marshalling) on an individual basis. See the link for tips on marshalling: www.allaboutlaw.co.uk/law-careers/legal-work-experience/marshalling; and for observing in court: www.allaboutlaw.co.uk/law-careers/legal-work-experience/visiting-the-courts
  • Being actively involved in student  societies. The Law Society and Bar Society offer valuable activities and presentations that you should make the most of. Being a committee member is valuable both for legal insight and for skills development. Involvement with other societies also shows motivation and enhances skills development in a non-academic context.
  • Volunteering is a way to support people who could be potential clients as well as being a positive way to contribute to the local community. The School of Law is actively involved in providing legal advice in the local community www.keele.ac.uk/law/legaloutreachcollaboration (CLOCK).  The Students’ Union has a range of volunteering opportunities keelesu.com/activities/volunteering
  • Holding a representative position will enhance your consultative and advocacy skills. See: https://keelesu.com/yourunion/studentvoicereps/
  • Make the most of anything else you do! Commercial awareness is a hot topic in law so if you work in retail, for instance,  consider how the business sets its prices, look at the profit margins, find out about overhead costs, think about the logistics in involved in the business. Make the most of what you have.

Alison - Clinical Biochemist

What is your current role and how did you reach it?
I graduated in 2001, with a degree in Law and Biological and Medicinal Chemistry. I have now been in my current role as a Clinical Biochemist for five years. I attained this post through on the job training involving MSc. I actually intended to pursue a career in law and really enjoyed studying it as an academic subject but couldn't find an area of law I actually wanted to practice. I think I could have pursued a legal career quite happily, if I hadn't found something else - on a visit to the careers library - that captivated me. I love the job I do now, and I learn something new every day.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I interpret and give advice to doctors on the results of laboratory (mainly blood) tests in an NHS hospital laboratory.  I have well-honed communication skills, together with knowledge of the subject (clinical biochemistry) and hands-on laboratory skills.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Don't let your degree dictate your career choices. If you put in the work, you will be rewarded.

Ben - Press Officer, Olympic Delivery Authority

What is your current role and how did you reach it?
I am currently working as a Press Officer for the Olympic Delivery Authority for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. I have only been in this post for two months, but prior to this I was a TUC press officer for four years, and prior to that, I took up the post of communications officer for a small think-tank, as well as other communications jobs. I became interested in this type of Communications work and gained experience in it whilst still at Keele as I became a Student Union Communications Officer.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
The key skills I use in my current role are communication, relationship building, strategic thinking, planning and negotiation, and most of these skills were developed through a combination of my degree studies and the work I did for the Student Union and Athletic Union. My main responsibility in my current post is to communicate the role of the Olympic Delivery Authority in delivering the venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the post-2012 legacy.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Read around the subject to gain a contemporary understanding of the principles, especially current affairs, and get involved in some form of campaigning - SU or otherwise.

Deborah - Practice Protection Internal Auditor*

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 

My degree is in Psychology and Criminology and I graduated in 1998. I now work as an Assistant Manager in the Practice Protection Internal Audit department.  I have just started in this position but have been with my company for three years. I attained my current position through studying for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exams after leaving Keele, which I did whilst working. I realised I was interested in this type of work as I had worked as an accounts clerk during my holidays whilst at Keele.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I audit specific business processes and units within the company itself, in compliance with regulatory bodies to Finance and Treasury departments. I also manage staff and will be responsible for preparing a report of the results for Partners and senior management. I take a logical and analytical approach to business processes, and need to have good time and project management skills, as well as good writing skills. All of these skills, with the exception of project management, I derived from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Plan what you would like to do in the next five years and work out how you could achieve this. I also learnt that no matter how desperate you are for a job it is all about how you present yourself to your prospective employer. It is best to be prepared and think about answers to potential interview questions. You could also produce a target list of employers you would like to work for and see what jobs they have available. If they don't have anything suitable, don't be afraid to send your CV and covering letter, and try to get the name of the person dealing with applications. Also, try and get some work experience before you leave university, if you can. It's great for networking! Finally, stay positive and don't give up.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: deborah.betts@gmail.com

*Although this graduate was contacted in error, as her degree was not in Law, her reply was too interesting to be omitted!

Duncan - Royal Mail Administrator

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 

My degree is in History and Law and I graduated in 1987. I am now an Administrator for Royal Mail, a post I have held for eighteen years. I attained this role by applying for a part-time delivery postman job, and took the opportunity to get into administration when a vacancy arose.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main responsibility is the analysis of Royal Mail production data relating to Mail's traffic. I use computer and numeracy skills in my role, for example Excel, involving spreadsheet construction and macro writing. I developed these skills in addition to my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Don't feel too constrained to follow a course of study that looks practical for future employment prospects, e.g. Business Studies, Law or Accountancy, unless you really want to work in those fields. Work on developing yourself as a person, join clubs etc. A future employer will see many graduate hopefuls - you need to have something extra to stand out from the crowd.

Ekaterini - Regulatory Consultant

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I have been in my current position since February 2007, having been headhunted from my previous role as a regulatory and compliance consultant with an independent consultancy, where I worked from October 2005. Prior to that, I graduated in 2003 from Keele with a degree in Law and Philosophy (LL.B), and then undertook my Legal Practice Course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
It is my role and main responsibility to take clients through Financial Services Authority authorisation application processes, answering ad hoc queries on regulation and compliance, and conducting pre-FSA visit reviews. The skills I use are good interpersonal and communication skills (in person by telephone and in writing), an ability to review large amounts of legislation in short periods of time and assimilating information effectively, good organisational skills, an ability to work to tight deadlines, and an ability to develop close working relationships with clients.  The skills that I developed from my degree are written skills, interpersonal skills in a social context, and organisational skills to a certain extent, although these were not honed in respect of a business environment.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Law is a tough field to get into as it is now heavily over-subscribed. The LLB, LPC and training contract route is not for everyone. Sometimes you have to go in with an open mind and look to move into the field horizontally rather than taking a direct route. If you are finding it hard to get a training contract, look at alternative, yet parallel, careers, which will provide you with invaluable life experience and commercial know-how and a spring-board to applying for training contracts. In my own particular case, in a couple of years' time, I will be in a position to apply for a training contract based not only on the sectoral experience I have gained, but also the fact that I have worked for a renowned firm. This should make life a lot easier!

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: ekaterini.tano@gmail.com

Emma - Buildings Accountant, University Of Cambridge

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in 1989, with a degree in Law and Economics, and am currently a Buildings Accountant having been in my current role for five years. I always intended to study accountancy post-Keele, and had actually come to Keele with the intention of studying maths and economics. After my Foundation Year however, I decided that I did not want to continue with maths, and that law would also fit in with my plans. I then worked and trained with a firm of Chartered Accountants in London, but was made redundant so I moved to Cambridge and worked in various accounting functions and was promoted to this post in 2001. I am currently about to be promoted to Directorate Accountant of Estate Management and Building Services at the University of Cambridge.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main role is budgeting and financial accounting and I also have responsibility for a team of staff. I use accounting skills and personnel management, none of which I developed from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Make the most of the dual degree opportunities and subsidiary subjects offered by Keele.

Emma - operations manager

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I have been in my current post of Operations Manager for an import/export firm for almost two years. My degree is in Law and French, and I completed it in 2000. After Keele, I worked for a stockbrokers and then British Waterways, as an administrator, before going back to university to study for a one year course in translating.  I then worked for a large maintenance-engineering firm before securing a post as a project secretary/PA with the NHS. I left the NHS and this led me into my current role.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I carry out the logistic planning involved in transporting cargo around the world, ensure that customers' orders are dealt with in a timely fashion, carry out research into new product lines, make travel arrangements for inspection agents, and I also maintain the records of staff leave through holiday or sickness, as well as arranging and supervising any temporary staff that are required. The key skills I use in my role are Microsoft Office IT packages, time management skills and the ability to prioritise tasks. My confidence with IT is mostly down to my using it at university, and my ability to relate to people from all backgrounds is due, in part, to my completing a law degree, as it brought me into contact with members of staff, other students and visiting professionals. I also think that completing a joint-honours degree allowed me to become very skilled at juggling multiple tasks and meeting deadlines.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
The main thing is not to panic into accepting the first job offer you get, unless, of course, it's the perfect role, and don't get too disheartened if you don't seem to be getting any job offers at all. If you do keep getting rejections, ask employers for feedback on your application. Also, don't panic if you are getting near the end of your time at Keele, and the jobs that interest you now are not the same ones that interested you before you started your degree. I have found that, as long as you can explain why you're not working in the 'field' of your degree, you can get any position you want.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: macphere@gmail.com

Emma - second secretary, British embassy

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
My degree is in Law and International History, which I completed in 1998. I have been in my current position as Second Secretary, Economics and Global Issues at the British Embassy in Manila, since August 2006 but have been with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 1999.  My route into this post was through making an application to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office fast stream/policy entry at the end of my third year at Keele. I then went on to do the Legal Practice Course whilst undergoing the entry process for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as 'back-up' or in case I did not like the Foreign Office.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main roles and responsibilities cover economic issues, including economic reform, human rights and good governance, energy, climate change and sustainable development. The work involves report writing, analysis, lobbying, project management and line management and the main skills that I use are drafting, analysis, negotiating and people skills. I developed the drafting and analysis skills directly from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Law offers a clear career option but also provides skills that can be used in other jobs. Think carefully, though, before going into post-graduate studies that put you further into debt.

Guy - head of university careers service

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
Graduating in 1983, with a degree in Law and History, I am now working as the Head of University Careers Service at a university in the south of England. I have been in this post for two years and undertook postgraduate study to obtain this current post.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
As my main roles is to provide advice and guidance to 20,000 students and graduates, I have developed strong presentation and negotiation skills as well as organisational skills and the ability to use my own initiative. In addition, I use leadership and management skills in managing my staff.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?
Book at least one careers appointment whilst at university, but don't worry if you are unsure of what to do when you finish your studies - you are certainly in the majority!

Helen - jobcentre plus prison adviser

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I am currently employed as a Jobcentre Plus Prison Adviser and Under 18 Specialist Adviser, and have been in this post for nine months. This post involves me working with offenders in prisons and young offenders institutes. My degree, which I completed in 1998, is in Law and Criminology, and I was attracted to my current role because of my criminology background, which I gained from my degree. For this post, I received on the job training, but prior to this I worked in a variety of roles in the Employment Service, which I entered on a casual admin officer contract, shortly after graduating.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main role and responsibilities involve advising people how to claim any outstanding benefits owed to them, give advice on what benefits their family may be able to claim, and prevent any overpayment.

I also try to preserve the employment of those who are employed at the time of their imprisonment. Prior to their release, I arrange benefits appointments for clients, conduct job searches, and help clients to manage their criminal record disclosures. This is all with a view to reducing recidivism. To be effective, I need to use good customer skills, mediation, mentoring, coaching, networking and team working skills, as well as well-developed communication skills, in writing and verbally. Communication is the main skill I have developed directly from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Start thinking and applying for work during your degree. Access the careers service early on for advice and guidance, don't wait for them to come to you! It's never too early to start looking and applying. Look at what the labour market can offer and how this matches your skills and experience so that you do not build up unrealistic expectations.  Be prepared to take a job in order to build up your experience; while your degree is a good starting point, there is no substitute for experience. You do not have to stay in the same job forever. Look at short-term goals to try and achieve your bigger, long-term objective.

Keith - commercial property research analyst

What is your current role and how did you reach it?
I studied Law and History and graduated in 1981. My current role is Commercial Property Research Analyst. I have been doing this job for nine years. I got into this type of work by spending five years in various roles in the property investment department of a large insurance company, before taking a part-time MSc in property finance, becoming a member of RICS and eventually becoming a fund manager. I switched across onto the research team because of my interest in this area, and after twice being made redundant, I set up my own research business.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main roles are market forecasts, asset allocation, appraising investment opportunities, modelling property derivatives, writing reports and market commentaries, and preparing presentations.  In my job, I make use of experience of commercial property markets, direct and indirect strategic property portfolio management, property market forecasting, quantitative techniques and analytical skills, computer and advanced IT skills, financial modelling, report writing and presentational skills. So, as you can see, it's rather wide-ranging.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
A professional qualification is important. Postgraduate study can be used to change career path. A law degree can open career paths beyond the legal profession. The City is an exciting and rewarding place to work but job security can be limited. IT skills are fundamental.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: keithalexander@btinternet.com

Louise - chartered accountant and tax adviser

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated from Keele in 1996, having read Law and History. I am now a Chartered Accountant and Tax Adviser, and have been in this position for nine years. My route to this position was a three year course, whilst working, to become a chartered accountant, plus a further two years to become a tax adviser.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main role and responsibility is dealing with all aspects of personal tax, and in particular, preparation of tax returns. The key skills I use in my current role I picked up from my additional five years of study, but the skills I did develop from my degree are an ability to study, and the skills to pass exams. In addition, my law degree helped me when reading statutes.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Don't let your degree choice limit your career. As you can see, I have not gone into law and do not regret it at all.

Louise - company secretarial manager

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
My degree is in Law and French, and I graduated in 1993. I have been a Company Secretarial Manager for a UK group of chemicals/coatings companies for the last five years. My route into this role was initially through a graduate training scheme for Sears Plc, the retail conglomerate, as a company secretarial assistant, and from there, I studied for ACIS qualifications, whilst working, and completed my exams in 1996. I then gained internal promotion until 2002 before changing my job to my current position.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I specialise in company law and company secretarial compliance for a group of around one hundred UK companies, including provision of support to an in-house legal team on acquisitions and disposals and managing numerous other matters relating to property, employee share plan, insurance, data protection, and document retention. The skills I use in my job are analytical skills, sound reasoning and judgment, being able to present information clearly and concisely, accuracy and attention to detail, being able to apply theory to practice, commitment to values and business principles, internal customer focus, and teamwork. I believe I developed all of these skills from my degree, but at a basic level, and these skills develop more as you gain experience in a business environment.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Don't assume that the only route after a law degree is to go into private practice as a trainee solicitor (or pursue Bar qualifications). I knew I did not want to go down that route and was lucky to find a career that combines my legal training and background but within a real business environment and which uses my administrative and organisational skills as well.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: louise_gardiner@btinternet.com

Mark - senior financial systems developer

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in 1997 with a degree in English Literature and Law and have been working in my current role for two years. I got into this post when a friend who worked for a Business Intelligence consultancy firm asked me to join his firm on a graduate scheme and, as you can see, it is pretty far removed from writing the great 21st century novel or putting villains in jail - as my degree disciplines might be thought to prepare me for.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I'm responsible for delivering and gathering the Business Intelligence for the Board and Senior managers.  Business Intelligence is not as clandestine as it sounds and is actually the process of taking all the data that circulates in a company, and trying to present it to people in a way that makes sense. In my role, essentially I talk with the CEO and the Board, find out what information they would like to report to each other and the rest of the company, and then I go away and find out where it is held within the company. Sometimes this means liaising with staff all across the company and presenting the information in a timely and accurate fashion. I am also responsible for a small team of technical and analytical staff. I use analytical and research skills in my role, as well as communication, negotiation and technical expertise, and most of these skills, with the exception of the latter, I developed in some measure from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Even if you decide not to follow a career in your current subjects, you'll find that the skills you need to get through a degree will prove useful.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: mark.hetherington@landg.com

Matthew - financial controller

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in 1997 with a degree in Law and Economics, and I have been in my current post of Financial Controller for just one month. I have, however, been in finance for five years. I travelled after graduation, and then started a traineeship as an auditor, but this didn't suit me. Instead I joined Royal Mail's graduate general management scheme, switched to finance, and qualified as an accountant.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I have responsibility to deliver financial data, prepare monthly management accounts, monitor systems, and undertake analysis on new service development. To do this, effectively, I use good communication skills - written, verbal and listening - and have to think creatively, working to deadlines, and remaining calm in difficult situations. From my degree, I developed the ability to manage my time effectively and prioritise my workload, as well as the ability to process and use complex and conflicting data, with precision and attention to detail.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Try to do something to differentiate yourself either during or after university, it helps make you stand out. Voluntary work or travel can be very useful, as it can give you something to talk about in interviews. Also, think about getting a further relevant qualification after university - it was the last thing I wanted to do, but it will be very useful for whatever career you choose to pursue.

Paul - regional operations director

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated with an MA in Environmental Law and Policy in 2002, and am currently employed as a Regional Operations Director. I have been doing this job for two years, and as you can see, from my Master's degree, I had to undertake postgraduate study to attain it. I did this study part-time.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I manage a large national portfolio of buildings via a team of circa fifty personnel. To succeed in this role, I use management, numeracy, planning and delivering skills. I also use the legal grounding skills that I developed directly from my MA.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
My advice to current undergraduates is simple - be flexible.

Rachel - auditor, Pricewaterhousecoopers

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I studied LLB Law and Politics, graduating in 2002. I am soon to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, and have been in my current role for two and a half years. I work as an Auditor after, initially, just applying for a graduate post.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
The work I do is varied between external and internal audits, and my role is to lead the team, answer queries, provide coaching, and determine the level and nature of the work to be undertaken, as well as testing the more complex areas. I use basic transferable skills, such as communication, presentation and writing skills.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Don't limit your career choices to those obviously linked to law. Many graduate employers take graduates from any degree disciplines. I am not in a minority going into a finance position with no financial experience, and it has not prevented me from progressing in my job.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: rachelvokes@yahoo.co.uk

Richard - senior manager, Ernst & Young

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I have been a Senior Manager at Ernst and Young LLP, for one year. I attained my post through studying for the ACA qualification with Ernst and Young. This has been since graduating in 1999 with a degree in Economics and Law.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
In this role, I manage a portfolio of audit clients. To do this, I use my leadership skills, team working abilities and my analytical skills. It is my analytical skills that I have most developed from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Follow your dreams.

Rob - house husband and father

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in 1998 with a degree in Law and Management Science. I am now currently a House Husband and Father. I have been doing this for nearly three years and almost one year, respectively.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
Household duties etc., and time, care, love and affection. I use strong organising skills, and am good at prioritising and delegating, and need a willingness to learn and a determined attitude. All these skills I learned from my degree - well, apart from delegating!

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
That's easy! Never, ever give up! Now, obviously, I don't mean take a cricket bat to your tutor's head and beat him/her until you get the 'first' you so desperately need - instead, I just mean, really go for it, take all the research material that you are given in each subject of the Law and study it, inwardly digest it until you are sick of law because you know it so well. And remember one thing: nothing in this world that is easy is worth getting, you have to work extremely hard to get something that is worthwhile, and a high class law degree for a budding lawyer is certainly worthwhile!

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: rockingrob@blueyonder.co.uk

Ruth - events manager

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I studied for both a Bachelor's degree in Law and Sociology & Social Anthropology, and a Master's degree (LLM) in Child Law. I completed the LLB in 1996. and the LLM in 1997. In spite of this, I am now an Events Manager, a role I have held for one year. I attained my current role through working as a summit producer for three years prior to this role, and prior to that, I taught my degree subjects. I did not qualify in law as I knew I would be moving to Cyprus.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
The main role of my current post is to organise summits for senior level executives across numerous industry sectors, for which I need good time management skills, organisation and diplomacy.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Don't plan too carefully. I am not a lawyer but studying law gave me an excellent start. It's still one of those traditional subjects that people respect and upon which they decide that you are intelligent... even if not! I would recommend it.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: rutha@marcusevanscy.com

Sian - research consultant

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in Law and Criminology at undergraduate level, in 2000, and went on to complete a postgraduate qualification in 2001. My current role is Research Consultant and I have held this position for two and a half years. I got into this role as a result of my one-year postgraduate study in MA Criminology and Research Methods. After that, I worked for eighteen months for the Greater Manchester Police, where one role was research based, and another was practical.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I do field work, which involves qualitative and quantitative data collection, data analysis and report writing. I use data analysis, report writing, time management and communication skills, all of which I developed from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Get as much experience as you can whilst still at uni - either in the area you want to work in eventually, or of a type that will give you transferable skills which you can utilise.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: sian_payne@hotmail.com

Wayne - logistics manager and property tycoon

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I am currently a General Manager in logistics by day, and a Property Tycoon in my spare time. I have been in my current position for three months, which I got into through other jobs in retail in food and non-food products, banking, clothing, giftware and the timber trade. My degree is in Law and Management Science, and I graduated in 1996.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
I have responsibility for operations and logistics for fifteen depots nationwide. I use analytical and problem solving skills, both of which I developed from my degree. Both disciplines are relevant; law for problem-solving more than management science.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Aim high, and also bear in mind that your degree is not as important as your experience and what you have delivered, the further up the ladder you go. Senior positions are more about delivering change and cost reductions whilst improving efficiencies.

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: waynealdred@supanet.com