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.

 

You can access the Law Career Planning Guide Here

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. 

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.

Also see 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 
www.prospects.ac.uk/law_sector.htm
Provides a search function for vacation work.

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

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

The Legal 500 
www.legal500.com 
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.

The LPC is currently the qualification that must be undertaken prior to taking up a training contract. The LPC is split into Stage 1 and 2. Stage 1 covers the three essential practice areas of Business Law and Practice, Property Law and Practice, and Litigation and the course skills Professional Conduct and Regulation, Taxation and Wills and Administration and Estates. Stage 2 is made up of three vocational electives.

Stages 1 and 2 can be undertaken with one provider over one year full time or two years part time - there are a few accelerated courses. However, you can now choose to split Stage 1 and 2 and stagger the courses over five years. All of Stage 1 must be undertaken with the same provider but you can take the Stage 2 electives at three separate providers if you wish to, although in practice, this rarely happens. For more detail see the Student section on www.sra.org.uk

Legal training is currently is under review and changes are due to take place in 2020. SQE 2 will replace the assessments on the LPC. See the solicitors qualifying examination page here.

Students who have already embarked upon a law degree prior to at least 2020 will be able to qualify via the LPC. The cut-off date for this has yet to be decided. The new training routes are intended to make training more affordable with different pathways to prepare for the SQE2 summative assessment but the precise information regarding pathways and training providers is not yet available.

How and when do I apply?

Applications to the full-time Legal Practice Course are handled by a central clearing-house: The Legal Practice Course Central Applications Board (CAB). Tel: 01483 301282. All full time course providers are listed on this website: www.lawcabs.ac.uk.

You are encouraged to apply online via the above website but in exceptional circumstances paper versions of the form can be obtained by ringing or writing to CAB.

For part-time courses you apply individually to each course.

Apply in your final year. The opening date for accessing and submitting completed application forms to the Central Applications Board is anticipated to be October 2018. There is no deadline for LPC applications but there may be deadlines for institutional scholarships.

What is on the form?

In terms of questions, the form is very straightforward. In addition to personal and educational information, it will ask you to list three choices of institution, request 'other information' which is your opportunity to promote yourself and to ask you to nominate a referee.  Guidance on these three sections is given below, in 'What are the selectors looking for?'.

A reference MUST be provided. Your referee should be someone who teaches you/has taught you at university. In the Law school this would usually be your personal tutor. Nominate your referee on the application form and do remember to ask their permission in advance. They will then be contacted by email once you have submitted your application. Do allow sufficient time for your referee to complete the reference. The CAB will send you reminders if the referee has not responded.

If you have any disability or medical condition which affects your ability to complete the application form, contact CAB for assistance.

How do I choose a course?

You can place up to three institutions on the application form. Issues to bear in mind when choosing a course include:

  • Location - where do you want to work? Some legal recruiters develop links with particular courses in their geographic area.
  • Electives - what options can you pursue? Ideally, you should be able to choose a course with electives that match your interests.
  • Orientation - does the LPC provider predominantly work with certain types of law firms such as high street practices or corporate firms? The electives on offer are often an indicator of this.
  • Style of delivery - how much contact time is there? How flexible is timetabling and attendance? What use is made of online resource? It is critical to think about your learning and study styles and then consider which courses would suit you.
  • Reputation - how do solicitors in your intended area of practice/region regard the course?
  • Careers support - does the course have dedicated advisers/tutors? What kind of vacancy systems do they operate? Do they offer a service before the course begins?
  • Mentoring schemes - formal links with practising solicitors provide advice and support whilst a student. Find out what is available.
  • Cost - course fees do vary and it is worth checking exactly what they cover. Look at any scholarships or loan agreements with banks.
  • Selection criteria - do the selectors have a certain student profile in mind? Do you meet their criteria?

What are the selectors looking for?

Selection varies by institution, but academic performance and evidence of commitment to a legal career are important. Factors considered will include:

  • Academic achievement. Some courses have a distinct preference for an achieved or anticipated 2:1 whilst others will look primarily at work experience.
  • Evidence of motivation. This could include legal work experience, voluntary work with a legally related organisation or client interviewing at university.
  • Skills profile. Both study skills and work skills are critical to doing well on the LPC. Recruiters for the course will be looking for evidence of skills such as organisation, presentation, customer care, commercial awareness and more. These skills could have been developed in a variety of contexts. Analyse the skills you have developed and highlight the relevant ones.

The factual information that you give alongside the 'other information' will give selectors the facts that they need for the recruitment process. Ensure that you are clear regarding why you wish to be a solicitor and how you have developed the skills to undertake the LPC and practise in the profession. You are being judged as a potential professional so make sure that the form is appropriately presented in terms of structure, grammar, spelling and language.

Funding

The fees for the full-time course are likely to be in the region of £8,000 - £16,000 (pre-2018). Living expenses are additional. Materials may be included in the fees but this will vary.  

Most students undertaking the LPC are self-funding. Sources of support are:

  • Funding by large commercial / corporate law firms / government legal services which have made training contract offers.  See Applying for Training Contracts for information on identifying law firms / training organisations.
  • Student loans are now available to students on postgraduate courses recognised as being at master’s level. This does not cover all LPCs offering a master’s top up so look very carefully at the detail. At time of writing both BPP and The University of Law offer a master’s integrating the LPC that is recognised for this funding. See https://www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan.
  • Law Society Bursaries allocated on the basis of excellence and need allocated via Charities and Trusts. The Law Society Diversity Access Scheme supports those with particular obstacles to overcome in order to qualify.
  • Some LPC Providers will have scholarships available as do some legal publications. Check the providers’ websites, watch the legal press and careers emails for updates.
  • High Street Loan Schemes have been a common source of finance for those considering the LPC. Several banks offer special schemes for the LPC with discounted interest rates and deferred repayment options. There is no central listing and lending criteria are strictly applied. Some LPC providers recommend specific banks and you can contact local branches directly.
  • Some LPC providers have arrangements in place with financial institutions. Enquire directly regarding this.

Additional information

It is essential that before embarking on the LPC, you are committed to a career as a solicitor and have made a positive decision to pursue law. Given the current level of competition for training contracts, it is vital to gain as much relevant work experience as possible and to apply for training contracts in plenty of time. For some firms the application deadlines will be as early as two years prior to starting LPC. The Careers and Employability service provides comprehensive advice, workshops and information on legal and other careers as well as the LPC and individual courses.

Alex - trainee solicitor

Alex graduated from Keele in 2008 with a degree in Law with French and progressed to the LPC at Staffordshire University. He has been successful in securing a training contract with Bentley Solicitors in Crewe, which began this month.

Tell us about your time at Keele. Do you feel that undertaking two disciplines was beneficial or just hard work? 
I feel that studying two disciplines has been beneficial, although at the time it did seem just a lot of hard work! I undertook French as a subject for my first two years before completing my third year of law to obtain the LLB. Looking back on my experience, I feel that by diversifying my studies I added another string to my bow when it came to the job hunt and in marketing myself as the best candidate for a job. There is no denying that the job world is a difficult one at the moment – for any job in nearly all professions but there are jobs to be had. They are being secured by those who have more to offer, have work experience or just that little ‘something extra’. I feel that my joint honours degree went someway towards getting me to the top of the list for the jobs I applied for.

Aside from that, I enjoyed learning about another subject. In many ways diverting a percentage of my time to a completely different discipline made my legal studies more interesting and ensured I did not become too focused on legal studies to the exclusion of everything else. As I have learnt during my LPC the life of a practising solicitor is far from just regurgitation and remembering the law. It is much more a ‘people orientated’ profession.

You chose the LPC at Staffordshire. Why did you make this choice?
I made the choice to study at Staffordshire for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to keep continuity both in terms of study and in terms of my living/social arrangements. Therefore by staying in the area, the transition from Keele to Staffordshire didn’t involve too much upheaval.

Secondly, the offer of a guaranteed place on the LPC at Staffs was a major draw, as was the competitive pricing of the course. Considering the top Law Society rating that Staffs has had for a number of years this made their course very good value. I attended a presentation made by members of the LPC team at Keele and subsequently attended an open day at Staffordshire. It was at this open day that I was sold on Staffs having seen not only the facilities but also the care and attention the tutors paid to the academic as well as the pastoral side of LPC life. The LPC is a demanding course – not so much in terms of academic knowledge but in assimilating all the new skills that a practicing lawyer needs to assist clients with their legal problems. The tutors at Staffs maintain a truly ‘open door’ policy and there is always a member of the LPC team available to help when life was tough or when a particular workshop seemed more difficult.

What differences did you find between the LPC your degree and how did you adjust to this?
There were quite stark differences between the study techniques I used at degree level and on the LPC. Whilst I found my degree highly enjoyable, the practical nature of the LPC made methods of study very different. Rather than approaching study in an academic way, by completing a great deal of further reading and researching/writing academic essays, the LPC required more group work with a practical/common sense approach to the law. For example, rather than focusing on case law examples in an academic sense, there is much more of a stress on providing advice to a client, as if they were sitting in front of you. When this is combined with skills such as client interviewing and court advocacy, the practical nature of the LPC really shines through. It was hard work but for much of the time it was fun too. I felt it really equipped me to be able to start my professional life in a law office.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main role and responsibility in this position is to lead a team of lawyers on corporate transactions including buying, selling and advising clients on investments in private companies. The skills I use and need to be effective in this role are organisational, motivational, negotiating skills, and occasionally some brain power! To varying extents, I developed all these skills directly from my degree.

Just because you do a law degree, don’t feel that you have to pursue a career in the law – the skills you develop are transferable to a wide range of careers. In addition, and perhaps, most of all, enjoy your time at University; you may only begin to appreciate the opportunities it gives you after you.

You have just secured a training contract. Congratulations! How did you find the legal job-hunting process? 
Overall I found the legal job hunt particularly difficult. The amount of competition for training contracts, and indeed for paralegal jobs is very fierce. This makes the need for perseverance all the more crucial.

I found that many of the application forms were lengthy and many questions repetitive, however, this did allow for a bank of answers to be created in reply to such questions. In succeeding in getting a job, possibly the most important elements that I found were the need to research the employer thoroughly, and seek as much assistance as possible from the careers tutors at Staffs and the careers department. This help was always readily available. By having somebody critique my CV or by participating in a mock interview, I became more experienced, and more confident, in writing letters of application, and adapting, and responding to, the questions asked of me at interview. I believe this increasing confidence, my varied experience and my clear enthusiasm for the law made the difference for me in securing this training contract

What tips would you pass on to current law undergraduates considering as a solicitor?   
From my experiences both at Keele and at Staffs, my main tips to any undergraduate would be to work hard, enjoy the course but keep in mind the need to plan ahead. I think it is also important to be prepared to put yourself forward whenever possible – volunteer to give feedback from your group work, volunteer for the mentoring scheme or the negotiation or mooting competitions that all run successfully at Staffs. These extra activities may make life busier still but they also add confidence and ‘added value’ to you as a person – these help you stand out in the job search.

Every undergraduate also needs to make time for a social life. I think an employer would be put off by a candidate that demonstrated nothing else than a desire to work constantly. The chance to spend an evening with friends, or join the law society/bar society, is just as important as the results you achieve at the end of the day. Social (or socialising) skills will be important too in any professional life – lawyers all seem to ‘network’ as part of their day to day lives.  

Andrew - partner in a corporate law group - Pinsent Masons

What is your current role and how did you reach it?   
I graduated in 1991 with a degree in Law and History, and have been in my current role of Partner in a corporate group for six years. After graduating from Keele, I went to law school at the College of Law in Chester for one year, and took a year out before starting my articles at a city law firm.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main role and responsibility in this position is to lead a team of lawyers on corporate transactions including buying, selling and advising clients on investments in private companies. The skills I use and need to be effective in this role are organisational, motivational, negotiating skills, and occasionally some brain power! To varying extents, I developed all these skills directly from my degree. What advice would you give to current undergraduates? Just because you do a law degree, don’t feel that you have to pursue a career in the law – the skills you develop are transferable to a wide range of careers. In addition, and perhaps, most of all, enjoy your time at University; you may only begin to appreciate the opportunities it gives you after you start work.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
My main role and responsibility in this position is to lead a team of lawyers on corporate transactions including buying, selling and advising clients on investments in private companies. The skills I use and need to be effective in this role are organisational, motivational, negotiating skills, and occasionally some brain power! To varying extents, I developed all these skills directly from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Just because you do a law degree, don’t feel that you have to pursue a career in the law – the skills you develop are transferable to a wide range of careers. In addition, and perhaps, most of all, enjoy your time at University; you may only begin to appreciate the opportunities it gives you after you start work.   

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: andrew.masraf@pinsentmasons.com

Carol – solicitor

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
I studied Law with French and German and graduated in 1993. I qualified as a Solicitor on 1 August 2006 but the route I took into it can’t be said to be direct! First of all, I worked in London in 1993, and then got my first proper job as a logistics co-ordinator for a Saudi Arabian petrochemicals company. In 1995-96, I took the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in London to complete my legal education. In 1996-97, I had found no suitable training contract, so returned to working in logistics. I left that company – due to boredom – and took a job in Switzerland for a year, working at CERN, a centre for particle physics research, which gave me an opportunity to use my languages. I then took a temporary position at the United Nations, also in Switzerland, which I enjoyed but I wanted to get back to working in law. I then worked as a paralegal, followed by a role as legal assistant/junior fee earner, but there was no training contract available. So, I moved again, into my current role.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
I advise airline clients and their insurers and air sport regulators on liability and insurance matters, do some regulatory work, and some cross-over (regulatory work) with the commercial team. The skills I use are negotiation, drafting, researching, typing, managing workflow and prioritising, organisational skills, delegation and my French and German language skills when required.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Make a decision as to whether private practice/being a barrister is for you or not. Try to get work experience earlier, rather than becoming too overqualified academically. You need a good 2(i) or even 1st class honours to get into many big City Law firms but I personally view them as factories. You could be five years qualified before you are given any real responsibility as the cases are so big and of such high value. 

Caroline - solicitor

What is your current role and how did you reach it?
I studied Law and Criminology, and graduated in 1996. I am currently a Solicitor, a position I have held since 1997. Since graduation, I studied for the LPC course at Nottingham Law School, and undertook a training contract for two years.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?
My job involves running a branch office, managing a team of eight staff, and having a supervisory role in a very busy department. To do my job effectively, I need good organisational skills, as well as excellent communication skills, and the ability to prioritise my workload. Unfortunately, I have to say, I did not develop these skills from my degree studies.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?
Enjoy your time at university, as work is much harder. Also, spend your summers travelling and getting life experience rather than work experience.

Cassandra - trainee solicitor

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
I graduated in 2003 with a degree in Law and Sociology LLB. I have been in my current position for one year, and I attained my current role by pursuing postgraduate study in the form of the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
These include going to court, meeting clients, taking instructions, drafting letters and legal documents, and advising clients. The skills I use on a daily basis are people skills, drafting and analysing information. I developed my drafting skills directly from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?  
Research positions and apply for lots of jobs – it’s very competitive to get a training contract. 

Since providing the case study, Cassandra has progressed to the position of a qualified solicitor working in a criminal defence practice in London. 

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: cassiedighton5@hotmail.com 

Chris – solicitor, Pemberton Greenish

What is your current role and how did you reach it?   
I graduated from Keele in 1999, with a degree in Law and English, and am currently working as a solicitor in London. I attained my current position by working as a paralegal for one and a half years, followed by a training contract and qualification. I have been in my current post for two years, since qualifying.

 

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
I am acting for major London landed estates dealing with all residential property matters. The key skills I use in this role are many and varied - too many to mention! - but include organisational skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills and having the ability to prioritise my workload. My degree helped prepare me for this at a basic level, and I developed these skills further, during my training contract.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Start thinking about the branch of law you want to work in, and the kind of firm you’d like to work for. Doing some work experience will help you to understand the range of options available to you, but most of all, don’t worry too much and enjoy what you’re doing now.

David - solicitor, injury risk - Beachcroft LLP

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
I have been a Solicitor specialising in Injury Risk since April 1999 and followed a somewhat traditional route. I graduated from Keele in 1996 with a degree in Law and French, and then studied for my Legal Practice Course, followed by a training contract.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
I prepare the defence case of injury/disease claims on behalf of insurers and their insurants. The main skills I use in this role are drafting, legal knowledge, advocacy skills, negotiation skills, and research and analytical skills. I developed my legal knowledge and research skills directly from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?  
Seek work placements and experience of as many areas of work as possible, in order to ascertain the areas in which you want to work and in order to make you stand out from the crowd. Seek work you enjoy, as you’ll be doing it for a long time. 

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

Ellen - solicitor, commercial property

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in 2000 after studying Law and Economics, and have been qualified as a Solicitor since September 2005. The route I took into this role was to work as a paralegal for 9 months followed by studying for the Legal Practice Course at the University of the West of England in Bristol. I then went travelling for a year before undertaking my training contract.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities? 
My main roles are a mixture of my own caseload on smaller transactions, and assisting on larger ones. The skills I need are drafting, negotiating, client management, communication skills, letter writing, and legal research. My degree gave me the academic knowledge but my vocational skills were mostly taught on my Legal Practice Course.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
It’s never too late! I had no careers advice until the day after I graduated when it became apparent that I should have been working on getting a training contract for three years! In fact, law can be very flexible and providing you can show a law firm why they should hire you over anyone else, then taking a slightly less conventional route shouldn’t be a problem. The flip side is that it’s never too early to make contacts in the profession – join the TSG, try to get experience at law centres, do pro-bono work and legal surgeries. It will help you enormously throughout the rest of your career.

Helen – assistant solicitor

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
I started off by reading Law and American Studies at Keele, and graduated in 1999. I had gained work experience at local firms during university holidays, and completed the Legal Practice Course after graduating. I then spent one year as a paralegal at a law firm in Yorkshire, followed by three months temping as a paralegal at a large firm in the City, and finally secured my current post.  I am now working as an Assistant Solicitor and have been in this post since December 2003, when I qualified. I also trained with my current firm.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
My main areas of specialism are property, and wills and probate. In property, I undertake the buying and selling of leasehold and freeholds, extend leases, deal with leasehold enfranchisement, landlords and tenants (throwing people out and setting up tenancy agreements), selling and buying small businesses, and selling and buying commercial properties. On the wills and probate ‘front’, I draft wills, settle estates including applying for grants of probates, letters of administration etc. I work largely unsupervised and have control of my own caseload. My main skill is careful reading! I also need to ensure that I write in a precise and easy to understand way, and of course, I communicate with the Great British Public!

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?  
Be persistent. Don’t go for legal aid work – funding is disappearing at a fast rate of knots, and the remuneration is rubbish!

This graduate is willing to speak to or email students, but would like to make contact first, and not the other way round. Therefore, if you would like to be contacted by this graduate, please ask to leave your details at Keele Careers Service.

Helen – practice lawyer

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in Law and French in 1989 and have been in my current role for three years. After leaving Keele, I studied at the College of Law, then gained a training contract, and was a fee earner for ten years

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
My main responsibilities in this role are to create and maintain technical know-how for the employment lawyers of our firm, writing articles, updating lawyers on key case law and legislative developments. The skills I use are technical knowledge combined with experience, and my degree formed the basis of my technical knowledge

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?
Law is a rewarding and interesting career, which now offers the flexibility for women who wish to work part-time to raise a family.

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

Kate – solicitor

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
I have been in my current role as a Solicitor for five years since qualifying, and fifteen months prior to that. I graduated from Keele in 1998 with a degree in Law and Criminology. I then did the postgraduate Legal Practice Course followed by working for twelve months as a paralegal before starting my training contract. I did my training in fifteen months (I had nine months taken off, in light of my prior experience), and then worked for three years as a newly qualified solicitor in a firm in Exeter. Following this, I moved to my present job two years ago.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
My main skills in this role are legal knowledge, people skills, communication skills (written and oral), supervisory and time management. I probably developed all of these from my degree, with the exception of the supervisory skills. My main role and responsibilities are as Senior Assistant Solicitor in a liability claims department with responsibility for my own caseload of files, including financial management of my caseload, supervising junior staff and assisting with client development and marketing.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?  
Keep your options open – there are career paths other than law, but if you do want to go into law, you have to be prepared to fight for a training contract and to work hard to qualify. Once qualified, the route is easier, if you are prepared to work hard for your position.

Laura – solicitor

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
I am currently employed as a Solicitor, and have been in this post since January 2007, although my training contract ended in February of 2007. My degree is in Law and Business Administration, and I graduated in 2001. Since then, I have completed my Legal Practice Course, which I did for one year on a full-time basis. I then obtained a paralegal job for four months, and after that, completed my training contract.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
My main responsibilities are all aspects of residential conveyancing, including drafting contracts and transfer deeds, investigating title, organising the exchange of contracts and completions, and seeing clients. The skills vital to this role are communication skills and attention to detail, but I also need to be organised and good with people. I believe that organisational skills and attention to detail are both skills I developed directly from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?  
Gain as much legal experience as possible because paralegal work can help you be successful in obtaining a training contract. Also, apply early for positions, and unless you are very lucky, don’t think that one or two applications will land you the perfect training contract; I had to apply to several firms before I was successful.  

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

Linzi - solicitor

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
My degree is in Law and French, and I graduated in 1998. I took the largely traditional route into my current post by completing the postgraduate Legal Practice Course after Keele, and then spent two years as a trainee solicitor. I have now been in my current role for six years; a Solicitor dealing with civil litigation and claimant personal injury.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
As a solicitor in this area of law, I deal with all aspects of case management from start (initial interview) to conclusion of the case, attend Court, and undertake advocacy work, mainly County Court appointments and hearings. The skills I need and use are all aspects of my law degree – which is fundamental! – and also being able to read and process a lot of information, and absorb it quickly. In addition to the legal aspects, I need good presentation and advocacy skills, as well being able to deal with the demands of clients, and have good client interviewing skills. Many of these skills I developed from my degree. The only exception, I would say, is the client care and interviewing skills.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?
Do some work experience with law firms and be aware of what the role requires. Be certain you want to do the job – it will probably not be how you expect it to be, and you will invest a lot of time and money if it is not what you want. The Legal Practice Course is VERY expensive and is more challenging and intense than your degree. Don’t apply to large City firms unless you are the sort of person who is super-motivated and prepared to work very long hours. There are a lot of very good medium sized, regional firms out there who will probably train you better, give you more responsibility earlier on, and generally look after you. Good Luck!  
 
To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: linzimoor@hotmail.com

Mike – tax and estate planning solicitor, Whitehead Monckton

What is your current role and how did you reach it?  
I graduated in 2002 with a degree in Law with American Studies, and have been in my current role for four years; two years as a trainee and two years as a qualified Solicitor. I reached this role by completing my Legal Practice Course at the College of Law, in Chester, following graduation.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
I meet with clients on a daily basis, and provide detailed advice to mitigate tax losses via a series of strategic planning. The skills I use are those of developing good personal relations with clients through effective communication. I also use detailed drafting skills, and interpret government legislation (both primary and secondary), and undertake marketing and networking to meet new clients. The skills I would say I developed from my degree are drafting skills, an ability to interpret legislation, and social skills.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
Work experience is the key – get to know as many solicitors and barristers as possible; even if you can’t get work experience, meet with them socially. Also, you will need something that makes your CV stand out to recruiters – with so many people applying, you will not get a position solely because your grades are high. Finally, don’t always aim for the big City firms – they tend to release a huge number of trainees on qualifying, who then have to find positions elsewhere. Consider applying for a training contract with a smaller firm, staying for a year, then hitting the big firms – you’ll find they are much more ready to accept you as they don’t have to pay to train you, and you’ll bring something different to the table!  

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: michaelbell@whitehead-monckton.co.uk

Nick – partner / head of property department, Painters

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I am a Partner and Head of the Property Department, and this is a role I have held for ten years. My route into it was my degree from Keele in Law and Economics, which I completed in 1980, followed by the College of Law, articles, and being an assistant solicitor at my current firm. 

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
I run the property department, supervise others, and deal with clients. I use my legal knowledge, and also my skills in budgeting and people management. I developed my legal knowledge from my degree.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates? 
The legal world is undergoing many changes, and it shouldn’t be assumed it is an easy and glamorous life, as expectations have sometimes been in the past. 

If you would like to contact this graduate for more information, please contact Keele Careers Service.  However, this graduate has also asked for only limited contact, so access to his details may be restricted.

Njeri - high court advocate in Kenya

What is your current role and how did you reach it? 
I graduated in 1995 with a degree in Law and Politics, and am currently working as an Advocate in the High Court in Kenya, and managing partner in my law firm. I have been in this position since July 2003 and was admitted to the Roll of Advocates after attending the Kenyan School of Law in July 1998. I am also a Commissioner for Oaths, Notary Public and Certified Public Secretary. Since establishing my firm five years ago, we have grown from an office space of only 700 sq ft and a staff of only two to an office space of over 3,000 sq ft and nine staff including two advocates. We also recruit pupils who are undertaking law degrees locally. At present we have three. The bulk of our work is in insurance claims, debt recovery and security documentation.

How would you describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?  
Management, administration, and handling all legal work. I also manage and supervise assistants. The main skills I use in my job are those required for effective office management and my legal skills as a lawyer. I have not specialised in any particular area of Law. There is no distinction between solicitors and barristers in Kenya so advocates have to do all kinds of legal work. As the legal systems in Kenya and the UK are different, the only skills I have developed directly from my degree are research skills. Drafting pleadings and conveyancing documents is the main skill used in practice. This skill has to be developed with a lot of practice.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?
Legal practice is nothing like the degree. Being in your own firm, securing good clients to pay the rent and salaries is extremely hard work but also extremely rewarding. I am also married with three children (two adopted, one my own aged thirteen, nine and two). You have to be very steadfast in your goals and aim to have your own firm or partnership position after five years of practice. No lawyer should ever be an employee. It is also important to find time to engage in other activities. I am a member and committee director of a rotary club, I swim regularly and I am a member of the Law Society’s legislation committee. I also like to travel and take a break from the hectic life and I write blogs. 

To contact this graduate directly for more information, please email: nm@wananchi.com

Shridhar – solicitor (defendant, personal injury)

What is your current role and how did you reach it?
I studied American Studies and Law, and am now a Solicitor (defendant personal injury). I graduated in 1993 and have been in my current role for five years since qualifying. I have taken a slightly circuitous route, having worked as a delivery driver, Citizens Advice Bureau advice worker, and a legal clerk.

How would describe your main skills, roles and responsibilities?
I run my own caseload and act as a mentor, and this requires me to use effective negotiation skills and time management. As to which skills I developed from my degree – that’s a good question! I think the main skills I use day-to-day in my current role are skills that I developed more once I got into the real world of work than from my degree studies.

What advice would you give to current undergraduates?
Experience life in a Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centre, or think abroad. In addition, prepare to be flexible.

This section contains a brief outline of the steps to becoming a barrister. Its main objective is to draw your attention to salient issues and timing, whilst referring you to other sources of information and advice for more in-depth knowledge or guidance. The Information Resources for Legal Careers has additional useful links.

Mini - Pupillages

Mini-pupillages are periods of work experience spent with barristers. They are essential to develop your insight into the role of the barrister in different environments and to provide evidence of commitment to recruiting chambers.

For information on mini-pupillages go to Legal Work Experience.

Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

The BPTC is currentlythe professional qualification for barristers who wish to practise in England and Wales and is also accepted in a number of other countries.However for 2020 entry training is due to change with the Bar Standards Board (BSB) currently taking bids from Authorised Education Training Organisations (AETOs) to provide professional training. The Future Bar Training document provides the information currently available: https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/qualifying-as-a-barrister/future-requirements/

Training for the Bar will still require a law degree (or degree in another subject followed by a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)) which covers the seven legal foundation subjects and legal research skills will still be necessary to become a barrister in England and Wales.

The three components of education and training for the Bar will remain:

  • academic learning (gaining knowledge of the Law itself);
  • vocational learning (acquiring barristers' core skills such as advocacy); and
  • pupillage or work-based learning (learning to be a barrister "on the job").

However, there will be four possible pathways to covering these three components and organisations other than Chambers will be able to provide work-based learning/a pupillage.

How do I apply?

It is likely that the central application system will be removed and applications will be made to individual courses. Start dates will not be uniform, but for most providers it is likely that applications will be open in December and close in January.

What are the selectors looking for?

All providers will seek a qualifying law degree or equivalent (minimum 2:2 although there is a strong preference for a 2:1 or above and statistics show that success in gaining pupillage is significantly lower for candidates with a 2:2). Anything lower than a 2:2 will no longer provide entry to the Bar training course
High levels of ability in written and oral English are essential. If English or Welsh is not your first language you must demonstrate that you have attained a minimum 7.5 IELTS standard in all sections of the academic test or a TOEFL score of 28 in each section. 

Applicants will still be required to complete a Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) before an offer of a place can be confirmed. The BCAT tests critical thinking and reasoning. The scheduling for the tests has not yet been confirmed but it is anticipated that you will need your course application reference number to register for the test. The BCAT costs in the region of £150. Reasonable adjustments can be made but must be formally requested in advance of the tests.

In addition to seeking strong academic ability course providers seek key skills to practise effectively as a barrister and commitment to a career at the bar. It will be assumed that you have undertaken mini-pupillages and have practiced advocacy. Your form will score very poorly in the selection process if this is not the case.

Application forms have not yet been made available but the previous application format asked for information on: 

  • Mini-pupillages and other Bar-related experiences
  • Reasons for Choice of Career
  • Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Public Speaking and Mooting
  • Relevant Work or Work Experience
  • Additional Relevant Information

Currently, only one provider interviews for the BPTC so your application form needs to provide all the evidence of your ability to research, gather and present information effectively. It is crucial to answer the questions precisely and comprehensively. Equally, presentation and accuracy are important. Careers Consultants are available via short appointments and via email to help you with completing and refining your application.

Where can I do the Bar course?

There are full-time and part-time courses available with a full listing of numbers of places and mode of study in the Education and Training section of www.barstandardsboard.org.uk

The institutions currently approved by the Bar Council to offer the BPTC are:

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy has developed a new Bar course. 
See: https://www.icca.ac.uk/about-the-bar-course/ 

How do I fund the BPTC?

Possibilities include:

  • The Inns of Court.  The Inns make a variety of individual scholarships each year. The closing dates are early November and you can only apply to one Inn.  Each Inn has a unique range of scholarships and funding allocation. All Inns interview for their scholarships but not all Inns interview all candidates so check this.  See the contact details for the Inns of Court below. 
  • Postgraduate Student Loans. Recognised masters level courses are usually eligible for funding on a similar basis to your undergraduate student loan.  This does not apply to the BPTC courses that are not part of a masters and it important to checvk eligibility before you make any applications. See: https://www.gov.uk/masters-loan
  • Professional Study Loans. A number of BPTC providers work with high street banks offering loans with favourable repayment terms specifically for aspiring barristers based on the fact that you are a potential high earner.  See each training provider for information.
  • Pupillage Draw-down. A number of chambers will allow their successful applicants to draw part of their award early in order to help fund the BPTC. These chambers tend to be those that pay the highest awards rather than the minimum. 
  • Institution Bursaries / Competitions. There are course-provider bursaries to which you can apply / compete in advance. Check individual provider websites for details. 

The Inns of Court

Students pursuing training for the Bar will still need to join an Inns of Court prior to the embarking upon any the training pathway. The Inns will continue to administer the "Fit and Proper Person" test and other checks made before somebody is permitted to be Called to the Bar, deal with matters of student conduct and continue to require a minimum number of professional development events provided by the Inns which are known as "qualifying sessions".

Typically, applicants must apply by 31st May at the very latest to join an Inn prior to embarking upon training in the autumn. It is important to check this as some courses may now change the timing of this. You can usually arrange to visit the Inns before deciding which one to join - contact the Students' Adviser at each Inn. Look at the Inns' websites to gain an insight into their programme of activities, support for students and scholarship programmes. In the past your student Law Society has also arranged visits to the Inns so keep an eye out for emails. As a student member, you will be given a 'sponsor' who is a practising barrister and a member of the same Inn. The 'sponsor' will provide practical support and advice. You may also begin 'dining' at the Inn and participating in moots and debates as soon as you join rather than waiting until you are on the Bar training pathway.  Membership of an Inn enables you to forge useful contacts for mini-pupillages and, ultimately, pupillages.

The Inns of Courts are major providers of funding for Bar training so it is worthwhile looking at the scholarships they offer.

There are four Inns of Court: 

Pupillages

UK and EU students

Those who wish to practise as a barrister are currently required to undertake pupillage for a total of twelve months, six months of which must be in a chambers in England or Wales. This typically consists of six months observing and assisting followed by six months of practice with a client caseload and court appearances. The practising six months can take place in settings other than the host Chambers. For details see the BSB website. Further training will also take place over the next three years during the early years of tenancy.

Occasionally, aspiring barristers who are unsuccessful in gaining a tenancy will undertake a third pupillage.

As mentioned earlier, the new pathways will provide alternatives to pupillage but this information is not yet available.

What are Chambers looking for?

Competition for pupillages is severe. It is much more difficult to gain a pupillage than to gain a place on the BPTC. Chambers will expect you to be specific and informed regarding the area of law you wish to pursue and why as well as being able to demonstrate a real interest in their chambers. It is therefore critical to ensure you have undertaken the range of experiences necessary and have the appropriate academic ability and skills to apply effectively. Having participated in legal work experience, in particular mini-pupillages, is just one of the essential requirements for an effective application. Some Chambers will only accept applications from those who have undertaken a mini-pupillage with them, so do check this before making an application. The requirements are very similar to those as outlined above.  

It is worth knowing that most potential barristers do not secure a pupillage in advance of Bar training.

How do I apply?

In recent years application have been via Pupillage Gateway: www.pupillagegateway.com

  • Approximately 60% of recruiting chambers are in the Pupillage Gateway scheme which has a set schedule and common application form for recruitment. All chambers in the Pupillage Gateway scheme as well as those to which you can apply individually, are listed on the Pupillage Gateway.Applications to the Chambers in the gateway system must be submitted via the application form on the website. 
  • Most recruitment is a year in advance. Applications have moved forward compared to previous years. Pupillages are usually viewable in November. Applications are likely to close in February. For information on the timetable and offers see: www.pupillagegateway.com/timetable-for-atos
  • There is a clearing process for any remaining or new pupillages but competition will be severe at this stage. 
  • A sample application form is available on the Pupillage Gateway website.  It is important to be aware that a number of chambers will have questions designed specifically for their recruitment needs on the application form.
  • A few Chambers recruit two years in advance and whilst most Chambers recruit a year in advance, in reality most applicants are successful during or after their BPTC rather than at degree stage.
  • Chambers recruiting individually will state their preferred method of application and deadline. Pick up a copy of Prospects Law for advice or visit the Careers and Employability Centre.
  • All Chambers interview for pupillages and believe this to be a critical part of the application process. For interview advice, contact a Careers Consultant for support. 

What else do I need to know?

  • The Targetjobs Pupillage Handbook is an indispensable guide containing details of organisations offering pupillage in the forthcoming year and comprehensive information about pupillage awards. This Handbook accompanies the Pupillage Gateway website and allows you to view pupillage vacancies offline. The website is, of course, updated daily.
  • A Pupillage Fair is held in London each year.  This provides you with the opportunity to meet representatives from Chambers and attend seminars.
  • Pupils must be paid no less than £15,728 pa and £18,436 in London. Waivers have recently been allowed in exceptional circumstances. Some Chambers offer significantly more than the minimum. This will depend upon their areas of practice. Many students also apply for awards from the Inns of Court.
  • In order to be called to the Bar, students are currently required to complete twelve qualifying units (traditionally called dining). These can be completed in a number of ways including residential weekends, education days and dinners organised by the Inns of Court.

Finding a Tenancy

At the end of pupillage, you must find a seat or tenancy in a set of Chambers. This is highly competitive and there are many more pupillages than tenancies. However, it is worth noting that outside of London, Chambers tend not to offer pupillage unless there is a good chance of a tenancy. There is currently no central application system for tenancies.

Your time as a pupil is critical to showcase your ability and network within the professions.

Useful Addresses

The Bar Standards Board, 289-293 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7HZ.

Inns of Court: 
Students Department, The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn, Treasury Office, Lincolns Inn, London WC2A 3TL.

Education Department, The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, Treasurer's Office, Inner Temple, London, EC4Y 7HL.

Students Department, The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, Treasury Office, 2 Plowden Buildings, London, EC4Y 9AT.

Education Department, The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, 8 South Square, London, WC1R 5EU.

(Now technically known as a Recognised Period of Legal Training – the term training contract is still commonly used but is too restrictive to cover new forms of training and paralegal entry points that are emerging).

Legal training is undergoing drastic review at the moment – see the section on SQE1 and SQE2 at the bottom of this section.

What is a training contract?
A legal training contract, as it will continue to be referred to by many recruiters, is a period of employment-based, salaried training designed to give practical experience of law in which you will apply and develop your legal skills and knowledge. In addition to your working role you will also undertake formal professional development. The training contract has typically been two years full-time and four years part-time. Full-time is currently a more common pathway.

It is also worth knowing that many smaller and regional firms now recruit paralegals rather than trainee solicitors as this is effective in giving them a close insight into your abilities and, after a period of time, this reduces the length of the training contract. This is known as 'time to count'.

It is also the case that the training contract model is no longer the exclusive graduate route it once was. Many firms maintain career paralegals without converting them to the role of solicitor. In the light of the changes in legal training due to be introduced as SQE1 and SQE2 in 2020, there will be a range of legal based experience which will count towards recognised training and the SQE2 aspect of the qualification will require the right experience followed by a summative assessment.

What type of legal employer do I want to work for?
Given the competition for legal positions, it is essential to time and target your applications appropriately. This information is designed to help you do so.

These are some of the questions that you need to consider:

  • What area/s of law interest me?
  • What type of client do I want to work with?
  • Am I interested in private practice or the public sector or in-house law?
  • What level of starting salary am I seeking?
  • How do my skills, experience and academic qualifications match recruiters' expectations?

The role of the legal professional varies greatly depending on the size and type of employer as well as upon your area of specialisation. Equally, the skills mix and academic background required will differ substantially. You need to research this effectively before putting finger to keyboard, using the resources listed below and on the Information for Legal Careers page, attending the law workshops and speaking to a Careers Consultant.

Where do I find information on solicitors?
Large firms and organisations will advertise whereas smaller firms and companies should be contacted directly with a speculative application.

There is a wide range of sources. These include:

The Law Society's Directory of Solicitors

The Law Society's directory of solicitors and barristers. This provides information on all law firms and solicitors, based in the UK, large and small. Using Find a Solicitor you can search by specialisation, geographic area and firm or company name.

Chambers and Partners 
Includes details of the top 1,000 law firms and Chambers in England, Wales and Scotland as well as guides to other countries.

The Lawyer 
Provides useful information on areas of specialisation and law firm recruitment listings.

The Legal 500 
Gives similar information to Chambers with worldwide listings as well as the UK.

LawCareers.Net

The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook. This provides an overview of specialisms, recruiter listings nationally and current vacancies including paralegal positions.

Prospects
A guide to advertised training contract vacancies on a national basis.

The Careers and Employability Centre has give-away student editions of the above and other resources with useful articles and insights.

In addition to the above, details of training contracts/recruitment with the following can be obtained as given below:

Crown Prosecution Service
The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. Recruitment is currently reviewed on a year by year basis.

Government Legal Service
The GLS, which provides legal services throughout government, currently recruits 20 - 30 trainees each year. The GLS typically recruits 2 years in advance with a July deadline.

Magistrates' Courts Service
HMCTS webpages have a careers opportunities section and links to vacancies.

Lawyers in Local Government
Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) was formed in April 2013 by the merger of the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors (ACSeS) and Solicitors in Local Government (SLG). The site contains information on the role of solicitors in local government and links to authorities and some vacancies. All authorities will have a vacancies section and information on their legal department on their websites.

Commerce and Industry

There are a few opportunities in this field for trainees which you can access via the websites above including the 'organisation' search tool on the Law Society Find a Solicitor website. Speculative applications are advised.

How do I apply?
Large firms or public sector opportunities usually require completion of an application form online. They will make this explicit on their website or vacancy information. The form may be very straightforward with direct questions regarding motivation for being a solicitor and applying to this organisation. Alternatively, it may be designed along the lines of graduate training scheme forms which ask for specific examples of core skills and again probe motivation. Whichever the format, it is essential to ensure that you directly answer the questions and pay particular attention to accuracy and mode of expression. It is likely that there will be additional screenings such as tests, video interviews and assessment centres in addition to interviews.

Smaller firms usually expect a CV and covering letter. A legal CV should have your law degree/GDL as your first qualification and, ideally, you should give a breakdown of your modules and results.

All descriptions of work experience and voluntary work should draw out skills and insight relevant to law. Your CV should not exceed two sides of A4.

For support with legal applications, attend our workshops, visit the Making Applications page on this website and/or speak to a Careers Consultant at an appointment.

When do I apply?
Large city/commercial firms begin to advertise in the early summer for vacancies two years in advance. Many invite applications from June onwards - most large firms have closing dates in July/August. Occasionally deadlines can be as early as the end of June. There is a growing trend for recruitment to be cut off before the official deadline so do not leave it until the last week to apply. Interviews for such firms are usually held in September.

Smaller firms cannot necessarily predict their recruitment needs two years in advance but it is worth contacting them at this stage in order to gauge their possible recruitment plans and anticipated recruitment timetable. Many high street firms may not recruit until you are on, or even have completed, the LPC. Equally, many of these firms recruit initially for paralegals and may well require the LPC for this.

Why should my chosen firm/s select me?
Ask yourself these questions - make sure you can answer them.

  • What evidence can I display of real interest in their specialist areas?
  • How can I persuade them that I have an insight into the reality of the legal professional's role?
  • Do I have the academic and/or skills profile they are seeking?
  • Is this the type of law to which I am best suited and why?

Research is critical. It is vital that you are applying for opportunities that match what you have to offer and that you make this match explicit.

What can I expect at the interview stage?
Some firms still recruit via informal one-to-one interviews. Others may use panel interviews and/or a number of interviews. Large firms often use video interviews and psychometric testing, then require a presentation and/or group exercises as part of the selection procedure.

All firms will expect a good understanding of their work, high levels of motivation and evidence of appropriate skills.

For help with interviews, you can attend interview workshops, consult a Careers Adviser and access the Interviews page on this website as well as the resources on CareerHub.

Is vacation work relevant?
Yes, very. Increasingly both large and small employers like to base appointment decisions on vacation work knowledge of a student. Also, vacation work demonstrates a practical knowledge of law. It can be very difficult to convince a recruiter of your commitment to be a solicitor if you have not spent any time with a law firm. Many of the corporate and commercial law firms recruit significant numbers of graduates from the vacation scheme.

Most students secure work experience in their second year Easter and summer vacations. Ideally, first year experience would also be advantageous. Increasingly, large law firms offer Open Days for students, some of which include first years. These are applied to on a competitive basis. Law firms may have deadlines for vacation experience as early as January but, typically, before March. It is, however, worth approaching small firms after this period - they may still be willing to offer work experience.

Equally, other work experience is also of value in developing relevant skills and associated knowledge. Assess the skills such as customer service and commercial awareness you might be developing through part time or holiday work.

See Legal Work Experience for advice on work experience in the legal profession.

Further information

Careers and Employability run law careers workshops each Semester on key topics. For information and to book, see our events pages. You can speak to a Careers Consultant by appointment who will support you with applications.

Changes to legal training
It is proposed by the SRA that the qualifying law degree will be replaced by an exam after the degree (not just law) which will enables students to achieve SQE1. The professional qualifying period will consist of study of some description and legal experience which will develop key competencies and knowledge leading to and contributing to sitting the SQE2 to be fully qualified.

'We propose that in order to be admitted as a solicitor, individuals would need to pass a new centralised exam, called the SQE. This would be divided into two parts. The first stage would test a candidate’s ability to use and apply legal knowledge and the second stage would test legal skills. In addition to passing the SQE, new solicitors would need to:

  • hold a degree, apprenticeship (or equivalent)
  • have undertaken a substantial period of workplace training (probably 24 months, certainly no less than 18 months)
  • meet our character and suitability requirements.'

 

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