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How to become a lawyer in the UK?

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Lawyering is perhaps one of the most well-respected professions in the world from time immemorial. From being advocates in olden days palaces to being lawyers in present-day law courts, lawyers have always been needed and will always be.

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Answer Adeosun
Oct 3, 22 · min read
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Also, attorneys are needed in virtually every facet of human existence where there is a law in place. There is no aspect of the law where there are no lawyers specialised in them – even animal rights law.

To this end, becoming a lawyer goes beyond loving the prestige of it alone. It involves being able to convince a judge or a set of people that your opinions are right and the rule of law should be on your side. It will interest you to know that the best politicians are lawyers – they know which part of the law to circumvent to achieve their aims.

Everything you need to know about becoming a lawyer and how to go about it has been compiled and distilled in this article, just for you.

What does a lawyer do?

In the UK, there are two types of lawyers – the solicitor and the barrister. The main difference is that solicitors work outside of the courtroom while barristers defend or litigate clients in court.

Lawyers perform duties such as the following – 

  • Providing legal advice and counsel
  • Providing mediation in cases before they can get to court.
  • Researching and gathering information or evidence
  • Prosecuting or defending in court

Law specialisations

There are too many aspects of law for just a single lawyer to deal with. This is why they specialise after law school. The following are some law specialisations that you are likely to come across.

  • Contract law
  • Human right law
  • Animal right law
  • Divorce law
  • Family law
  • Tax law
  • Financial law
  • Real estate law
  • Criminal law
  • Cybersecurity law
  • Security law
  • Investment law
  • Banking law
  • Entertainment law

There are a host of them. So, the list is not limited to what we have listed here. Think about an industry of career and you can work there as a lawyer.

Qualifications needed to become a lawyer in the UK

  • A-Level qualification or equivalent
  • An undergraduate law degree. This is also referred to as LLB (Bachelor of Laws) although the abbreviation comes from the original latin reference – Legum Baccalaureus. Many universities in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland offer LLB courses for prospective lawyers.
  • Take a Solicitor Qualifying Exam to become a solicitor or a Vocational Component for Bar Training to become a barrister. This is for lawyers who are just registering for training. Before 2021, the solicitor will take a Legal Practice Course while a barrister will take Bar Professional Training Course.
  • Training – the solicitor must train for at least two years to become fully certified while a barrister must train in a courthouse for at least a year to become certified.
  • Take additional professional courses

If you have obtained a law degree from a country other than the UK, to practice in the UK, you need to complete a law conversion course, a Graduate Diploma in Law, or SQE. This will qualify you to proceed with an LPC or a Bar training course. This also applies to graduates of courses other than law. GDL is only for one year but it is an intense training programme.

Also, being a member of CILEX (the Chartered Institute for Legal Executives) is an added advantage for barristers and paralegals alike. You will however need to have been employed at a law firm for at least 3 years, have a graduate membership grade of the CILEX (Associate CILEX), and adequately meet the work-based experience of the CILEX. Taking the CPQ (CILEX Professional Qualification) exam is also a part of the process.

Lawyer salaries in the UK

The average pay range for lawyers in the UK is between £68,000 and £107,000 per year, according to Prospects and This range could vary widely based on the industry of employment, years of experience, and skills. 

Where lawyers can practice

There are many options open to lawyers.

  1. Open up a private practice and take on clients
  2. Work for governmental and non-governmental organisations
  3. Work for commercial or private industries

These broad categorizations indicate that the options are endless for where to work as a law graduate. 

Other jobs law graduates can do when not practising as lawyers

It is also possible not to practise as a lawyer. The following are career choices for law graduates.

  • Legal adviser – both employed and as a freelancer
  • Legal writer
  • Novelist
  • Chartered accountant
  • Human resources officer
  • Lobbyist
  • External auditor
  • Border Force officer
  • Civil Service administrator
  • Data analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Trading standards officer
  • Forensic analyst
  • Mediator
  • Patent attorney
  • Political risk analyst
  • Stockbroker

Required skills for lawyers

  • Questioning skills – you must be able to ask the right questions that give you the answer you want.
  • Must be able to develop sound arguments for cases.
  • Communication skills – a good lawyer must be able to communicate effectively, both written and verbal.
  • Excellent attention to details
  • A fast learner
  • Research skills 
  • Evaluation skills and the ability to interpret and explain complex information clearly
  • Analytical skills
  • Reasoning and critical judgement skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • The ability to write concisely
  • Confident and persuasive oral communication skills


Studying to be a lawyer requires not just great oratory skills, but the ability to make sound arguments to convince people, including a judge.

How to become a lawyer?

Follow this guide:
HowTo step image

1. Apply to take a law degree course from a university or a conversion course through GDL

The law degree course will take between 2 to 3 years while the conversion course is just for a year

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