What can I do with a Law degree?

Whether you've got no idea what to do with your law degree or you're researching you options, we can help. A law degree from a good university is an excellent qualification and gives you a range of opportunities when you graduate - it's just a case of discovering what will suit you best. Not only does it give you numerous career paths in the legal sector, it develops a wide variety of soft skills desired by a range of employers.

What to do with a law degree

Here’s a few ideas to help you discover what you might want to do with your degree.

Commercial Law

The most popular destination for bright law students, Commercial Law offers challenging work, good pay and a clear path for progression. With starting salaries upward of £40,000 at the top City and American law firms, it’s understandable why this is such a popular option. Most firms offer two-year Training Contracts, consisting of four six-month ‘seats’, before qualifying as a junior lawyer.

With approximately 5,500 Training Contracts available each year and 30,000 law students finishing university in the UK, this is a highly competitive sector. Therefore, it’s important to gain experience during your degree, through Insight Days and Vacation Schemes.

Commercial Law is a high pressured and challenging environment which many thrive in, but it's essential to have a real passion for the career to succeed. For top application advice: 10 tips for a successful Vacation Scheme application

Pupillage

Pupillage is the first step to becoming a barrister, the equivalent to a future solicitor’s Training Contract. You can start your 12-month pupillage after completing the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC). The usual format concises of two six-month parts – in the ‘first six’ you’ll have a pupil supervisor, while in the ‘second six’ the pupil can take on cases of their own.

After a year, the pupil will be a fully qualified barrister and aim for a permanent position at the Chambers (know as tenancy).

If you’re thinking about this route, it’s a good idea to apply for a mini-pupillage. This one-week placements will give you an insight into the work of a barrister and also help you build connections. Here’s a useful link to find out more about the sector.

Compliance

A graduate role in compliance gives you the opportunity to utilise the skills you’ve picked up during your degree, while becoming expert in laws and regulations within a particular sector. As a compliance officer, your job is to ensure that the activity of a business is within the regulations, as well as accepted business practices. Having a good knowledge of changes in regulation and also the aims of the business is crucial for the role.

Compliance is largely about problem solving, where you’ll be required to process often complex legal regulations and use this to set up codes of practice, which need to be communicated business-wide.

Public Sector

Going into the public sector has always been a popular destination for bright law students, and with so many opportunities it’s easy to see why. The Civil Service Fast Stream is one of the leading graduate employers, offering a range of careers for bright law graduates. As a whole, British politics welcomes lawyers, with around 15% of current MPs having studied or practiced law before running for office. It’s not just politics – HMRC, MI5, the NHS and many more public institutions offer exciting and diverse graduate schemes. 

As a law student, you're likely to be be blessed with excellent organisation and negotiating skills, which are perfect for many public sector roles. Careers will offer stability, a competitive salary, a good range of benefits and good opportunities for progression. If you’re looking to use your skills to provide a service in the public interest, this could be career path for you.

The top five graduate schemes in the public sector.

Consulting

The consulting sector is a sought-after career path for many Bright Network members. It’s fast-paced, intellectually challenging and gives you the opportunity to solve business problems on a daily basis. Many of you have probably heard of the big management consulting firms (McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, etc.), but there’s a variety of larger and boutique consultancies offering services in a range of sectors.

A law student’s ability to analyse large amounts of information and produce logical solutions to problems makes consulting a natural career fit. Firms look for students with excellent academics, who can concisely communicate complex ideas. Check out how to impress leading consultancies.

Banking/Finance

'City' careers attract graduates from a wide range of subjects, even without a traditional maths or economics background. There are a variety of roles within top firms that don’t require a numerical based degree at all. As a law student, you’ll need to build a strong understanding of banking concepts and have a strong commercial awareness, combined with an analytical mindset and plenty of drive.

Roles differ significantly in the sector, but here’s a few graduate level positions to consider:

Law opens many doors

These are just some of the careers you that fit well with your Law degree. Other professions to consider include teaching and publishing. What's essential is that you gain a range of experience during university, especially if you’re unsure about a career related to law.

In law and banking you’ll be able to apply for opportunities in first year. Often firms give students the opportunity to represent them on campus as a Brand Ambassador - this is a fantastic way to get noticed by the firm and a wonderful addition to your CV.  Contrastingly, for most other sectors it’s important to secure an internship in your penultimate year. If you’re unsure about a sector, meeting industry experts or recent graduates is often the best way to get a flavour – always look out for career events on campus or bigger networking events run by Bright Network. 

And finally…

Bright Network is always here to support your career. As a member, we can offer tailored advice to help you discover what to do with your law degree. Don’t hesitate to give our membership team a call – 0203 011 1612.

Useful Links

Your law CV template – get the competitive edge and impress leading firms with an excellent CV

How I did it – Bright Network member Farhan tells you how he secured a Training Contract at Clifford Chance

10 key skills you need to excel in Commercial Law – the skills you need to stand out on applications.