lawyer solictor advocate
Legal and court services

Career outlook for solicitor

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

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


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.


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


You may occasionally travel to visit clients or attend meetings.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Researching
  • Empathising
  • Attention to detail
  • Sorting
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Negotiating

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Getting in

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


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.