How to become a lawyer in the UK

The law in England and Wales differs from the law in Northern Ireland and Scotland. There isn’t enough room here to cover how to become a lawyer in the UK and include each country, so we’ll stick to England and Wales as these two nations share a common set of laws.

Solicitors and barristers

In England and Wales, lawyers are broken down into solicitors and barristers. There are marked differences between the two roles. Solicitors work directly with clients and provide legal advice. They can represent clients in lower courts but most are not allowed to represent in higher courts. In most cases barristers work on the instruction of solicitors. Barristers are self-employed whereas solicitors often practice in partnership with one another.


This is not the sort of job you can get into without qualifications. In order to become a lawyer in England and Wales, you will need to have achieved top A-Levels results and be able to demonstrate logical thought. When you’re ready for further education with a university, you may need to sit the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) test in order to be admitted.

Undergrad law degree

Most lawyers get into the business by studying law as an undergraduate. A standard course takes three years to complete but to qualify as a barrister or solicitor you’ll need to obtain a “qualifying law degree”.


If you want to become a solicitor, you’ll need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This is a course that can be completed in one year if you study full time, but it can also be taken part time over two years. As fees rarely fall below the £10,000 mark, you might want to get involved with a law firm who can sponsor your studies. Thankfully law is one of the best paid jobs for graduates in the UK.

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