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Becoming a solicitor

  • A career as a solicitor can be incredibly rewarding, providing a job that is intellectually challenging with many exciting opportunities. Solicitors are involved in almost all aspects of life, making the range of work diverse. If you want to work in an ever-changing and growing area, then joining the 120,000+ solicitors working in England and Wales could be for you.

    What solicitors do

    Solicitors are confidential advisers who have direct contact with clients, combining legal expertise and people skills to provide legal advice and assistance in a range of situations:

    • providing expert guidance on the issues people regularly face such as buying and selling houses, drawing up wills, and dealing with relationship breakdowns
    • helping businesses with the legal side of commercial transactions
    • protecting the rights of individuals, ensuring they are treated fairly by public or private bodies, and that they receive compensation when they have been unfairly treated
    • supporting the community by providing free help for those unable to pay for legal services.

    Solicitors can represent clients in the lower courts (magistrate court, county court and tribunal), and with specialist training are also able to represent them in higher courts (crown court, high court, court of appeal).

    Have you got what it takes to become a solicitor?

    Academic excellence is important, but employers also look for many other personal skills and attributes:

    • Dedication, commitment and a capacity for hard work
    • Professional responsibility, personal integrity and an ethical approach - this forms the basis of solicitor/client relationships
    • Commercial awareness
    • Numeracy skills - the ability to understand financial statements and interpret accounts
    • Personal effectiveness - time management, problem solving, prioritising, project planning, delegation, cooperation, collaboration
    • Flexibility, versatility and a positive approach to new ideas and concepts
    • Comprehension - understand complex information and present it in plain English
    • Communication and interpersonal skills - able to communicate with people at at all levels and win their confidence and respect
    • Commitment to continuous personal development

    We recommend you find out as much as you can about what a career as a solicitor is really like. On this website you will find information on how to qualify as a solicitor and lots of insight from our members on the many options open to you. You should also talk to solicitors and try to get some work experience. Make sure you are right for the profession and the profession is right for you.

    Getting started

    The Law Society has produced a number of guides to help you get started with your career as a solicitor.

    The Russell Group's Informed choices provides students with information, advice and guidance about their post-16 subject choices.

    See also the Law Society's information on apprenticeships.

    The SRA is looking for volunteers to pilot the Solicitors Qualifying Exam stage 2. The closing date is 13 September.