Whether you’re interested in a career that will make direct use of your legal knowledge or want to change direction and work in a different industry, this guide is for you.
It should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.
Skills for your CV
Some of the skills you will have picked up include:
- communication skills
- ability to state a case (orally as well as in writing)
- good analytical skills
- problem solving skills
- ability to see the bigger picture
- assimilation of facts
- precise expression (especially in writing)
Job roles and career areas you could work in
Alternative career areas that are popular with law graduates include finance, marketing and HR.
The skills developed through studying for a law degree would be of use in the following job roles, though further qualifications or training would be required:
- advice worker
- Civil Service administrator
- consumer rights adviser
- customs officer
- employment advice worker
- lecturer in higher education
- insurance claims inspector
- insurance underwriter
- investment banker in corporate finance
- investment fund manger
- legal executive
- probation officer
- tax inspector
- town and country planner
- trading standards officer
If you want to pursue a career in law after your degree, our advice on the difference between solicitors and barristers explains the key choice you have to make and the steps to take next.
Our advice on twelve jobs you can do with a law degree gives you more detail and insights into your options.
What do law graduates go on to do?
Here’s what law graduates who finished their degrees in 2017 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2018.
|Full-time employment in the UK||38.0|
|Part-time employment in the UK||7.8|
|Working and studying||11.4|
Source: What do graduates do? 2018
Key areas of employment for fresh law graduates
These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2017 law graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2018 What do graduates do? report.
|Areas of employment||Percentage|
|Legal, social and welfare professionals||36.1|
|Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff||13.4|
|Business, HR and finance professionals||12.2|
|Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks||11.5|
Source: What do graduates do? 2018
Which careers attract law students?
Working as a solicitor was the most popular career choice for law students identified by a 2019 survey of more than 74,000 undergraduates carried out by Trendence UK, a GTI business. Just over three-quarters (78.7%) of law students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area, while 72.4% said they were interested in careers as barristers. The most popular careers for law students were as follows:
|Law – solicitors||78.7% expressed an interest|
|Law – barristers||72.4|
|Accounting and financial management; public sector; hospitality, leisure and tourism; investment banking and investment||1.3|
|Banking, insurance and financial services||1.2|
Source: Graduate Survey 2019
Famous people with law degrees
If none of those careers are for you, don’t worry. Think about what the world might have lost if these people had gone down a different degree path:
- Nicola Sturgeon – originally became a solicitor after graduating but then moved into politics, eventually becoming first minister of Scotland.
- Harper Lee – author of To Kill a Mockingbird, featuring fictional lawyer Atticus Finch.
- Rebel Wilson – plays the role of student a cappella singer Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect films, and was once a student in real life: she has a Bachelor of Laws degree.
- Jon Snow – journalist and Channel 4 presenter… not the Game of Thrones character.
- Hilary Mantel – author of Wolf Hall, a novel about the Tudor lawyer Thomas Cromwell.
- Gerard Butler – studied at the University of Glasgow and initially began to train as a lawyer before becoming an actor.