The UK legal sector is a highly competitive field of work that can prove to be both personally and financially rewarding to candidates. More than 500K people across the country are employed in law jobs and this includes solicitors, paralegals, lawyers and barristers. Due to the high work rate, perseverance and communication skills needed, recruitment agencies are a common resource for firms looking to make new hires.
Law professionals can work within a diverse range of job roles and will aim to support businesses or individuals by carrying out / advising on legal processes. This is worth over £20 billion to the UK economy and offers excellent job opportunities for those with a passion for justice or serving society.
Candidates can work for public or private organisations, with paralegals and solicitors making up the largest percentage of industry staff across England and Wales. A paralegal will usually work within a particular specialism, but won't be qualified to the same level as a solicitor. The latter contributes more than 50% to the sector's total worth, with London being home to around 45% of these jobs. Other staff include legal secretaries, law executives, practice managers and litigation support.
The lowest earners in the profession make between £15K and £20K annually, while the highest salaries for senior solicitors and partners can exceed £40K-£50K. Overall, the average income is about £25K. Despite the fact that many in the sector are employed in small firms, some of the largest employers in the UK are Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance and Slaughter & May. Law is also an area with many self employment opportunities for experienced professionals.
Qualifications are typically needed to enter the sector as is a two year training contract. This two year period within a firm is compulsory for graduates looking to become a solicitor, however they must have completed a Legal Practice Course (LPC) before applying for a placement. Alternative routes into the field can include apprenticeships and accreditations via the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). The specific discipline of law will determine the route a candidate takes.
An employment agency that offers a law recruitment service can help place new entrants or experienced professionals into jobs within the Government Legal Services, Crown Prosecution Service and public / private law firms.