If you’re drawn to a career in law, then it’s worth exploring all the occupations available to you. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common legal careers and their job descriptions as an example of how diverse this industry can be.
The best place to start is by identifying your interests and strengths, once you’ve done that the next step would be to research the jobs available in your field of interest; keep reading to learn more about where a career in law could take you.
A solicitor is a legal practitioner who represents clients in civil and criminal cases. A solicitor is a specialist in a field of law, differing from a barrister, who is a specialist in the field of advocacy. A solicitor provides advice and assistance to clients in matters involving the law. They may be employed by private individuals or corporate bodies, or they may work as independent practitioners.
They can help you with a wide range of issues, from setting up a business to buying a house, and even helping you deal with health care issues. Solicitors use their knowledge to help clients find solutions to their problems within the framework of case law, statute, and regulation. This skill is key to their practice. Solicitors work at many different types of firms and in many different areas of practice.
BARBRI can help prepare you for legal qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales through the SQE Prep which gives you the opportunity to practise law in this jurisdiction and open the door to many of the top legal careers in the industry.
Lawyers who are barristers specialise in advocacy and representing clients in court. Most barristers are self-employed and specialise in one area of the law, although some may have a more general and wide-ranging practice. If you’re interested in becoming a barrister then your first step is to complete an undergraduate degree, after this you need The Bar Practice Course (BPC) a postgraduate course that allows you to train and prepare as a barrister in England and Wales. Finally, you’ll need to secure and complete one year of training as an apprentice (known as being in “pupillage”).
It’s important to note that it’s an incredibly competitive field and work may be sporadic in the early stages of your career.
Paralegals aren’t lawyers, and aren’t not allowed to give legal advice, but they do legal work such as, legal research, drafting documents, admin and assisting lawyers with their cases. Many paralegals go on to pursue a career as a solicitor, as the role of a paralegal is so varied it provides a good stepping-stone to qualification and satisfies the Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) requirement of qualification via the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).
You can find jobs in law firms or corporations (or even government offices). If you are looking for a tool to search for and track your QWE experience as a paralegal, we recommend the QWE Journal developed by our partners, Flex Legal.
Chartered legal executive
A chartered legal executive is authorised to practice law and specialise in a specific field of the law. They perform reserved legal work alongside solicitors or CILEx practitioners. To become a chartered legal executive, you must complete the CILEx Professional Qualification (CPQ).
A chartered legal executive has a broad knowledge of the law, but they do not necessarily have the same level of expertise as a solicitor or barrister. They cannot represent clients in court or advise on criminal matters.
Legal Support Worker
Legal support staff are the unsung heroes of the legal world. They work behind the scenes to ensure that legal cases are properly prepared, and they’re often the first point of contact for clients. Legal support staff can include paralegals and other professionals such as librarians or interpreters or researchers.
An arbitrator is a person who resolves disputes between two parties by listening to both sides and then deciding based on what they have heard. To do this effectively, arbitrators must have knowledge of the law in the area where they are working.
In most cases, there are no legal requirements for becoming an arbitrator. However, when disputes involve issues of law, having a law degree is an added advantage. To find out more about this career path visit The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) website to learn about training opportunities.
In Scotland, solicitors have the same duties as solicitors and barristers in England and Wales, however, there are differences in the legal system, procedures, and terminology. There is also a different route to qualification in Scotland.
First, you’ll need to complete the LLB (Bachelor of Law) degree at a Scottish university. This is followed by the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, which is awarded through a series of assessments and examinations. Finally, you’ll need to complete two years of work-based training under the supervision of a practising solicitor.
One of the most common types of law careers is academia, which involves both teaching and research. Academics can be found in universities, colleges, and other institutions of higher education. As an academic you will be responsible for teaching students about the legal system and how it works, as well as researching how the law applies to your area of expertise. Academics could also contribute to and developing policy in their fields of expertise.
Judges are appointed by the government and are responsible for deciding the facts of a case. They are also responsible for interpreting the law and making decisions based on their own interpretation of the law. Judges may be required to make decisions based on precedent or laws, or they may be able to make decisions based solely on their view on the facts of the individual case.
American lawyers are not required to have a certain undergraduate degree to be accepted into law school. A prospective lawyer will need to obtain a satisfactory mark on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and successfully complete law school. Law school in America usually takes three years and culminates with the awarding of the Juris Doctor (JD).
If you’re a foreign-trained lawyer or law graduate, you may be surprised to learn that it’s accessible than you think to sit for the bar exam in New York or California. Both states have relatively open policies in permitting foreign-trained lawyers and law graduates to sit their bar examination, and they do not impose restrictions on admission on grounds of nationality or residence.
If you are interested in becoming an attorney or in dual qualifying outside of England and Wales, BARBRI also offers the Extended U.S. Bar Prep course.