Solicitor

lawyer solictor advocate
Protect

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would advise people and organisations about the law. You’d help them when they need to complete a legal process like buying a house or signing a business contract.

Depending on where you work you would:

  • Advise clients about legal matters
  • Represent clients in court, or instruct advocates to act for your clients
  • Draft letters, contracts and documents
  • Research similar cases to guide your current work
  • Keep financial records
  • Attend meetings and negotiations
  • Prepare papers for court

You would work for individuals, groups of people or companies in a variety of roles. You would often choose to specialise in a particular area of law.

If you work in a private practice you would help people to:

  • Buy and sell a house
  • Make a will or set up power of attorney
  • Get divorced or adopt children
  • Seek compensation for an injury or accident
  • Set up a business

You could also defend a person in certain courts and tribunals if they are accused of a crime or civil offence, or are involved in a legal dispute. If you do extra training to become a solicitor advocate you could also present cases in higher courts in Scotland and the UK.

If you have a job with a commercial practice you would advise businesses. You’d work on legal issues and processes related to contracts, tax, employment and company sales and mergers.

Some solicitors work as in-house lawyers for a specific company or organisation, a government department or agency or a local council.

You could also join the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service where you would examine evidence to decide whether to bring cases to court and prosecute cases.

Legal situations can be stressful and upsetting for people, so tact and empathy would be important. You’d also need to keep information confidential.

Working conditions

Hours

You would normally work 37 hours a week, but longer hours are common. In some jobs you may be on call at weekends and bank holidays, or need to attend police stations at any time of the day or night.

Environment

You would mainly be based in an office. If you specialised in criminal law you would spend a lot of your time in court.

Travel

You may occasionally travel to visit clients or attend meetings.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Persuading people
  • Being tactful
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Accuracy
  • Time management
  • Working with numbers
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You will need an LLB honours degree (SCQF level 10) in Scottish Law or an LLB ordinary degree (SCQF level 9) with distinction in Scottish Law which can be studied at ten universities in Scotland.

It is possible to undertake the LLB part-time or full-time, and there is also an online/distance learning option.

Dundee is the only law school in the UK to offer fully qualifying law degrees for the legal profession either in Scotland or in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland and a dual qualifying degree in both Scots and English Law.

You must also complete a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (SCQF level 11) which can be undertaken at six universities in Scotland followed by a traineeship - the period of paid, in-office training.

To enter a LLB (law degree) you will need at least four Highers at B or above, some courses require Advanced Highers and some courses will ask that qualifications are gained in one sitting.

You may also be required to sit a National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT).

You can apply for entry to an accelerated LLB course, usually involving entry to the third year of study, with a relevant degree or honours degree (SCQF level 9/10).

Alternatively you can complete Pre-Diploma Training while working with a qualified solicitor to gain Law Society of Scotland qualifications. If you take this alternative route you are still required to obtain a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (the Diploma) and undertake a traineeship.

If you are a qualified as a solicitor outwith Scotland, transfer tests are in place for solicitors from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and other parts of the European Union who wish to re-qualify as Scottish solicitors: the intra-UK transfer test is applicable to solicitors qualified in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The aptitude test for EU-qualified lawyers applies to all other European Union qualified lawyers.

Useful subjects

Most courses require:

  • English or English based subjects
  • Maths

It's possible to study law with a specialism such as Oil and Gas Law or Law and a Modern Language. These course require a related subject such as a science or a language. Social subjects such as Politics or Modern Studies may be helpful but are not essential for entry.

Helpful to have

Any qualifications that demonstrate understanding of the law and the ability to gather organise and present information such as BTEC Diploma in Public Services.

The Law Society of Scotland offers events and activities for students at school considering studying the law.