Solicitors advise clients about the law and act on their behalf in legal matters.

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £100,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 50

What's it all about?

You could work in different areas, including:

Private practice

  • providing legal services like conveyancing, probate, civil and family law, litigation, personal injury and criminal law
  • advising businesses and corporate clients in areas like contract law, tax, employment law and company sales and mergers
  • advising on insurance, patents, shipping, banking, the media or entertainment

Commerce and industry

  • providing in-house legal advice for companies

Local and central government

  • providing advice in areas like education, planning and social services
  • advising government ministers
  • prosecuting people who break rules

Court services

  • working for the Crown Prosecution Service
  • advising the police on prosecutions
  • advising magistrates in local courts

Law centres, charities and the armed forces

  • advising the not-for-profit sector

Depending on your role, you may be:

  • advising and representing clients in court
  • instructing barristers or advocates to act for clients
  • drafting confidential letters and contracts
  • researching legal records and case law
  • attending meetings and negotiations
  • managing finances and preparing papers for court
  • using plain English to explaining complex legal matters to clients
  • keeping up to date with changes in the law

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


In order to qualify, you could:

  • do a law degree, then complete the postgraduate Legal Practice Course
  • do a non-law degree followed by the Common Professional Examination or Graduate Diploma in Law

To get into some universities you'll need to pass the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT).

You'll usually need:

  • 3 A levels or equivalent
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course


You could do a solicitor degree apprenticeship to qualify as a solicitor.

This route usually takes around 5 years and you'll need your employer's support to do it.

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English and maths
  • 3 A levels at grade C or above


You could start with a legal firm and do on-the-job training like the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Level 6 Professional Diploma in Higher Law and Practice.

You would then complete a period of further training to qualify as a solicitor.

Further Information

You could join The Law Society, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

You can find out more about becoming a solicitor through The Law Society and All About Law.

£25,000 to £100,000

Starter salary: £25,000 to £40,000

Experienced salary: £40,000 to £90,000

Law salaries vary greatly depending on the type of work you do and where you work.

These figures are a guide.

37 to 50

You'll usually work a minimum of 37 hours a week, but longer hours are common.

You'll work in an office, but could travel to clients and meetings.

If you specialise in criminal law, you'll spend a lot of time in court. You may be on call at weekends and bank holidays and may need to attend police stations at any time of the day or night.

With experience, you could become a partner in a private practice firm of solicitors. As a commercial solicitor, you could manage an in-house legal department.

As a member of The Law Society, you'll have access to training and events.

How to become a solicitor from the Good University Guide

The Beginner’s Guide to a Career in Law looks at how lawyers recruit, what they look for in candidates, what candidates need to do when, and how they can maximise their chances, both immediately and as time goes by.

The Law Apprenticeships Guide focuses on the different types of law apprenticeship available, the key skills required, and the pros and cons of undertaking an apprenticeship or going to university, with case studies from those who have done it.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • excellent verbal communication skills to work with different people
  • active listening skills
  • analytical thinking skills for working on complex cases
  • knowledge of English language for explaining legal matters to non-experts
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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