The ultimate guide to pursuing Law

According to Statista, the legal industry is one of the biggest sectors in the UK and it is expected to grow by £40 billion by 2028. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this sector is so popular both academically and professionally. In 2021, an estimated 12,825 students enrolled in A level Law, and in 2022, this increased to 13,995, demonstrating a growing interest in the field of Law.

Here at The Profs, 98% of the students we work with achieve their predicted school grades and 93% of our undergraduate students attain a grade improvement. So, we have an excellent history of helping students gain the necessary grades to kick-start their journey to Law. That’s what makes our expert Law tutors perfect to guide you through your degree and help you receive the best possible outcome.

Keep reading for expert advice on pursuing Law; we will cover all aspects of your journey, from GCSEs and A levels to university and your career.

Contents

How to pursue Law during your GCSEs

Whilst it’s no longer an option to study Law specifically at GCSE level, there are certain subjects you can choose during your GCSEs that can provide a solid foundation and transferable skills for pursuing Law at A level and eventually at the degree level. You can focus on subjects that cultivate skills such as critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communication. 

Below are some GCSEs to consider taking if you would like to eventually pursue law during your A levels and at a degree level:

History: 

GCSE History is a good decision if you’re aiming to pursue A level and degree-level Law. It provides a robust foundation for key skills essential to success in the legal field. The in-depth study of historical events equips you with a valuable contextual understanding of the societal and political forces that shape laws.

Analysing historical contexts will also sharpen your critical thinking skills, a transferrable skill essential for studying law at higher levels. Studying history enhances your research and analytical skills, translating directly into effective legal research and analysis at higher academic levels. 

The emphasis on historical essay writing in GCSE History will further your ability to construct well-argued and structured essays, a skill highly transferable to the essay-based assessments common in studying Law at higher levels.

Reach out to our expert History tutors for tailored support today!

Business studies: 

Choosing GCSE Business Studies is advantageous as it helps you understand organisational structures, economic principles, and the impact of regulations on business operations – knowledge directly applicable to legal contexts. The focus on case studies and real-world business scenarios will sharpen your analytical, problem-solving skills, and commercial awareness, which are essential for legal analysis. 

This enhanced understanding of business dynamics is especially beneficial for modules like commercial and corporate law at higher levels, giving you the tools to navigate legal issues within a commercial context. 

Contact our expert Business Studies tutors to maximise your potential.

Economics: 

GCSE Economics is useful as this subject offers insights into economic principles, market structures, and their intersection with law. The analytical and problem-solving skills developed through the study of economics are crucial for effective legal issue analysis. 

Economics involves analysing data, interpreting real-world economic scenarios, and making informed decisions – all skills that are transferable and highly relevant in the legal field.

Reach out to our expert Economics tutors to get tailored support and maximise your success.

How to pursue Law during your A Levels

Unlike at GCSE level, many schools give you the option to study Law at A Level (check if this is the case with your school).

Choosing to take an A level in Law is a significant step towards an introductory understanding of the legal system as you will inevitably cover fundamental legal principles. A level Law typically offers insights into criminal law, tort law, human rights law, and contract law. Beyond this, it will also offer you the opportunity to enhance skills such as essay writing, and your ability to produce well-rounded arguments. 

Notably, the focus on essay writing offers you the chance to refine your ability to articulate intricate legal arguments clearly. This skill becomes increasingly vital as you progress in your legal studies, with constructing well-reasoned essays standing as a fundamental aspect of academic assessment at degree level.

Tip: Aim for high grades at A Level

In the field of law, where competition is high, the objective of high A level grades becomes even more imperative. Russell Group universities, well-known for their academic excellence and research contributions, are often preferred by leading law firms for recruitment.

Securing a place at a Russell Group institution not only enhances your academic credentials but also places you at an advantage when applying to leading law firms. 

As you aim for high grades in your A levels, consider it a strategic investment in your future within the legal profession. While academic excellence is just one part of your journey, it plays a pivotal role in positioning you competitively during the application process for internships, training contracts, and other career-building opportunities in the field of law.

Here are some ways to excel in your A levels:

  • Start revision early: Initiate your revision well in advance of exams to allow for thorough coverage of the material. Create a realistic study schedule to manage your time effectively and avoid last-minute cramming.
  • Be very familiar with the content and specifications: Develop a deep understanding of the curriculum and exam specifications to ensure comprehensive coverage. Engage actively in class, participate in discussions, and seek clarification on any challenging topics.
  • Do loads of past papers: Practise regularly with past exam papers to familiarise yourself with the format and types of questions. Analyse your mistakes and areas of weakness, directing your focus on improvement in those specific areas.

Here at The Profs, 98% of our students get their target grades; we are here to optimise your pathway to success. If you need help to polish your grades, we are here to help. Reach out to our expert A level law tutors!

How to pursue Law as an undergraduate degree

Undertaking a Law degree is becoming more and more popular among students. The 2021-2022 academic year saw an all-time peak in the number of Law graduates in England and Wales, totalling 18,927.

It’s crucial that you carefully research and select universities that offer reputable Law programmes. Take into account factors such as the overall ranking of the university, the specific ranking of their Law school, and the course structure.

Typically the most common Law degree is a standard LLB Law, however, there are different options. For example, The University of Oxford offers Law with Politics, and The University of Bristol offers Law with Business. 

Make sure you clearly research the universities and the types of courses they offer within the realm of Law as it may be possible to combine different degrees which would be advantageous at a professional level. For example, Law with Business may be particularly useful for Corporate Law, especially during vacation scheme/training contract interviews.

Here at The Profs we have expert Law tutors to help you maximise your grades, so reach out today! For further help, check out our article ‘A Guide to Applying for Law.’ 

The best UK universities for undergraduate Law

The United Kingdom is home to many prestigious institutions for Law. Just check out our previous article on the best UK universities for Law.

Below are the top 20 universities (according to the 2024 Complete University Guide) specifically for an LLB Bachelor of Law:

UniversityLocationEntry requirements
University of OxfordOxford
    • A Levels: AAA.
  • Advanced Highers: AAB or AA with an additional Higher at grade A.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 (including core points) with 666 at HL
  • LNAT required.
University of CambridgeCambridge
  • A level: A*AA ( recommended subjects; English, History, Languages.)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 41-42 with 776 at HL
  • LNAT required.
University College London (UCL)London
  • A level: A*AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 39 points
  • LNAT required.
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)London
  • GCSE: several grades of A (7) and A* (8-9), including a GCSE English Language and Mathematics grades no lower than B (or 6.)
  • A level: A*AA. 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 points with 766 at higher level.
  • LNAT required.
King’s College LondonLondon
  • A level: A*AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 35 points with 766 at higher level.
  • LNAT required.
Durham UniversityDurham
  • A level: A*AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 points with 666 at higher level.
  • LNAT required.
University of GlasgowScotland
    • A level: AAA ( Additional requirements: A level Humanities and GCSE English Language and English Literature at A or 7.)
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority Advanced Higher:  AAAAB is the minimum requirement from S5 to be reviewed for an S6 offer (Additional requirements: Higher English, Advanced Higher English or Advanced Higher Humanities subject or Higher Mathematics at A recommended.)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 points with 666 at higher level (Additional requirements: HL Humanities and SL English at 6.)
  • LNAT required
University of BristolBristol
  • A level: A*AA 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 points with 18 at higher level.
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority Advanced Higher: AA, and Standard Higher: AAAAA.
  • LNAT required
University of WarwickCoventry
  • A level: A*AA. You will also need a minimum of GCSE grade 4 or C (or an equivalent qualification) in English Language and either Mathematics or a Science subject) 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 points. You will also need grade 6/B in GCSE English Language or International Baccalaureate grade 5 in English A (Higher or Standard Level), grade 5 in Higher Level English B or grade 6 in Standard Level English B. Applicants with grade 6/B in GCSE English Literature and minimum grade 4/C in GCSE English Language may also be considered.
Queen’s University BelfastBelfast
  • A level: AAA 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 points with 666 at higher level.
University of LeedsLeeds
  • A level: A*AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 36 points with 666 at higher level.
University of YorkYork
  • A level: AAA 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 36 points 
University of ManchesterManchester
  • A level: A*AA 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 37 points with 766 at higher level.
The University of EdinburghScotland
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority Advanced Higher: AAAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S5.
  • A Levels: A*AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 39 points with 666 at higher level.
Queen Mary University of LondonLondon
  • GCSE: At least six GCSE passes at grades AAAABB or 777766, including English and Mathematics.
  • A Levels: A*AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 36 points with 666 at higher level.
Cardiff UniversityWales
  • GCSE: English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade B/6 or an equivalent (e.g. A levels). 
  • A Levels: AAA-AAB
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 36-34 points with 666 at higher level.
University of StrathclydeGlasgow
  • A Levels: AAB-BBB
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 34-30 points 
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority Advanced Higher: 1st sitting: AAAAB, 2nd sitting: AAAABBB (Higher English B, Maths/Applications of Mathematics National 5 C, or equivalent.)
University of Nottingham
  • GCSE: 5 GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, which must include English
  • A level: A*AA.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38 points
University of AberdeenScotland
  • Scottish Qualifications Authority Advanced Higher: Standard: AAAA or AAABB
  • A level: AAB.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 34 points overall, including an average of 5 at HL
University of ExeterExeter
  • GCSE: C or 4 ( English Language required)
  • A Levels: A*AA-AAA
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): 38/766-36/666

Please be aware that this information is for the 2024 academic cycle and institutions can vary their entry requirements and degree programme from year to year, so it is important to always check the universities’ websites for the most up-to-date information. For more extensive entry requirements, make sure you also visit the homepage of your intended course. 

Tip: Do not underestimate the importance of university grades

The significance of university grades cannot be overstated. Many city law firms, especially those in London, hold a thorough approach when it comes to assessing academic qualifications. They often set high standards, typically seeking candidates with a high 2:1 or a first-class degree. This emphasis on academic achievement highlights the competitive nature of pursuing a career in law, where excellence in education is considered a strong indicator of a candidate’s potential success in the field.

Firms also go beyond overall degree classifications; they also scrutinise individual module grades to gauge a candidate’s consistent academic excellence. This detailed examination allows firms to assess not only the breadth of your legal knowledge but also your ability to excel consistently across various aspects of the law. A good way to ensure you are consistently scoring high across your degree is to place key emphasis or organisation and planning. A Law degree is quite content heavy, therefore it is essential you organise each of your modules into separate folders. Extensive organisation will also lead to smoother revision and will make your notes more accessible! Do not leave revision or assignments till the last minute, instead make sure you start at least a month before!

Here at The Profs, we have been the highest-rated tuition company on Trustpilot for 7 years. We even have a 95% success rate when it comes to getting our students offers from their first and second-choice universities. So, reach out to our expert admissions tutors to ensure that you get your dream offer!

How to pursue Law as a postgraduate degree

Once you have completed your undergraduate degree you can further your studies by completing a Masters of Laws (LLM Law). One of the significant advantages of an LLM is the opportunity to specialise in a particular field of law. Whether it’s international law, human rights, corporate law, environmental law, or any other area, the LLM allows you to focus on your specific interests and career goals.

The LLM courses are also very advantageous for individuals who would like to pursue Law internationally, as it’ll make you stand out amongst the competition. Additionally, if you would like to go into teaching Law, a masters is extremely beneficial, as typically this a requirement.

LLM programmes typically involve a substantial amount of independent research and writing. This allows you to develop advanced research skills and contribute to the academic discourse in your chosen field. You may be required to complete a thesis or research project as part of the programme.

Before applying to an LLM programme, it’s essential to carefully research the specific requirements of the programme you’re interested in, consider your career goals, and ensure that the programme aligns with your aspirations. 

Below are some universities that offer LLM Law:

UniversityLocationDurationEntry requirement
University College London (UCL)London10 months
  • A 2.1 with evidence of 1st class ability (at least 65%)
  • You need a law degree to be considered for the LLM, i.e. LLB, Juris Doctor (JD), Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). 
  • In exceptional circumstances, graduates without a law qualification but with work experience will be considered. Experience should be relevant and a minimum of five years. 
University of NottinghamNottingham12 months
  • 2:1 (or international equivalent) in law, humanities or social sciences.
University of Leicester Leicester12 months
  • A good second class degree (or equivalent).
University of ManchesterManchester12 months
  • Bachelor’s degree with a First or Upper Second (2.1) classification or the overseas equivalent in Law. 
  • You must demonstrate a strong background in Law modules relevant to the course, including Public Law and Contract Law and achieve scores of 2.1 or above in relevant modules.  
University of LawYork12 months
  • 2:1 (or equivalent) in Law, or a closely related degree.
Newcastle UniversityNewcastle12 months
  • 2:1 (or equivalent) in Law, or a closely related degree.
Durham UniversityDurham12 months
  • 2:1 (or equivalent) in Law, or a closely related degree in which law is a fundamental component.
University of ExeterExeter12 months
  • 2:2 Honours degree with at least 57% or above (or equivalent) in Law (or a degree in which law is a fundamental component).
Goldsmiths University of LondonLondon12 months
  • Upper second-class honours in Law, a related social science discipline, or a humanities degree.
University of Birmingham Birmingham12 months
  • A ‘good’ honours degree ( usually 65% and above) in Law, or a degree in another discipline with a pass in the Common Professional Examination/ GDL.
Brunel UniversityLondon12-15 months
  • A 2:2 (or above) honours degree (or equivalent) in Law or a related subject (International Relations, Political Science, Criminology, and Criminal Justice).
University of ReadingReading12 months
  • 2.1 (or above) in Law, or equivalent from a university outside the UK.

Please be aware that this information is for the 2024 academic cycle and institutions can vary their entry requirements and degree programme from year to year, so it is important to always check the universities’ websites for the most up-to-date information. For more extensive entry requirements, make sure you also visit the homepage of your intended course. 

Tip: Network as much as possible

Networking plays a pivotal role in establishing a successful career in law. To maximise your opportunities, make it a priority to network as much as possible. One effective strategy is to research professionals working at law firms you’re interested in and connect with them on LinkedIn. This platform serves as a valuable tool for forging professional connections and gaining insights into the legal industry.

Craft a concise and professional message expressing your interest in their work. You could also highlight any commonalities, such as shared academic backgrounds or interests in specific legal areas.

Engaging in virtual networking is another powerful avenue. Attend virtual workshops, webinars, or online events hosted by law firms. These platforms provide opportunities to interact with legal professionals, ask questions, and gain valuable insights into the industry’s current trends and challenges.

In addition to online networking, don’t underestimate the impact of in-person connections. Attend law firm events, career fairs, or networking sessions whenever possible. These events create a facilitative environment for face-to-face interactions, allowing you to make a lasting impression on professionals within the legal field.

When connecting with professionals in person or virtually, approach conversations with a genuine interest in learning. Ask thoughtful questions about their experiences, seek advice on navigating the legal profession, and express your enthusiasm for the field. Professionals often appreciate the opportunity to share their insights and experiences, and your genuine curiosity can leave a positive impression!

Check out this page on All About Law where you can sign up for the latest law firm events!

We are here to mentor you to success. Reach out to us today for guidance on expanding your professional and academic network!

At the National Tutoring Awards 2023, The Profs were awarded Best Tuition Business of the year! Reach out to us today for expert coaching in postgraduate admissions or for dedicated support from our postgraduate tutors who can provide you with tailored help for your course.

How to pursue law at a professional level

After you have graduated with a Law degree (or a conversion course if you have a non-Law degree), the best route to begin practising law is to secure a training contract. 

Once you have secured a training contract, firms will require you to have completed SQE 1 and 2 before you can typically start. If you secure a training contract, they will most likely fund your SQE examinations.

Don’t forget to check out our guide to the SQE.

Below is the route to becoming a solicitor in the UK:

1. Complete SQE 1 and 2.

2. Finish two years of qualifying work experience (most likely a training contract). This is where you will need to carefully consider which firms you apply to, and whether they specialise in commercial law. Some of the top  law firms in London are:

  • Allen and Overy LLP.
  • Ashurst.
  • Baker McKenzie.
  • Bird & Bird.
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
  • Clifford Chance.
  • Dechert LLP.
  • Fieldfisher LLP.
  • Hogan Lovells.
  • Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
  • Macfarlanes LLP.
  • Linklaters.
  • Bristows LLP
  • Clyde & Co LLP
  • COvington & Burling LLP

3. To practise law you must apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to be admitted as an official qualifying solicitor.

Please remember you will need to undertake a conversion course (PGDL, MA Law) if you attained a non-Law degree during your undergraduate course before you can begin your route to qualifying as a lawyer. Check out ‘The ultimate guide to Law conversion courses’ to gain a wider understanding!

Tip: A good way to maximise your chance of securing a vacation scheme/training contract (as they are highly competitive) is to make sure you spend a few days up to a week per application. Make sure you really research the ethos of the firm, the types of Law they specialise in and weave this into your answers during the applications.

Make sure you also practise as much as you can for the interviews. Reach out to professionals within the field on LinkedIn, as in some cases they are willing to set up mock interviews. Reach out to our expert Law tutors, who can help you with tailored interview support!

You can read ‘How to Become a Lawyer, UK’ to gain a more comprehensive understanding. 

How to get work experience for Law

Top tip: Take your time with work experience applications!

Taking your time with work experience applications, whether at the GCSE level, during Years 12 and 13, or throughout your degree, is crucial for crafting a convincing case for yourself. Rushing through the process can compromise the quality of your application and reduce your chances of securing valuable law work experience.

At the GCSE level, when reaching out to law firms directly, invest time in thoroughly researching each firm. Understand their areas of expertise, notable cases, and company culture. Tailor your communication to reflect genuine interest, explaining why you are drawn to their firm specifically. Elaborate on your academic achievements, relevant coursework, and any extracurricular activities that demonstrate your commitment to a legal career. This personalised approach, taking the time to showcase your unique qualities, can set you apart from other applicants.

As you progress to Year 12 and 13, when firms may offer more structured work experience programmes, resist the temptation to impatiently complete applications. Instead, invest time in articulating your motivations for pursuing a legal career. Reflect on your academic achievements and how they align with the firm’s values. Additionally, draw on any previous experiences, whether through volunteering or part-time work, that highlight your transferable skills and commitment to the legal field.

During your degree, work experience applications become more nuanced, often involving a competitive selection process. Take the time to carefully tailor your application materials, addressing specific criteria outlined by each firm. Demonstrate a deep understanding of the legal profession and the unique attributes you bring to the table. Consider incorporating insights gained from coursework, internships, or relevant extracurricular activities, illustrating how these experiences have shaped your aspirations and skills.

Taking the time to present a comprehensive and tailored application will undoubtedly strengthen your application in the competitive field of law.

Reach out to our expert team today! We are here to help, whether you need support with gaining work experience or with law firm applications.

Law work experience for GCSE students

Securing work experience in the legal field during GCSE years is more challenging due to age restrictions and the preference for candidates with a more advanced educational background. Law firms tend to prioritise individuals further along in their academic journey, making it more difficult for GCSE students to access opportunities.

However, a strategic and proactive approach can significantly enhance the chances of gaining valuable work experience. One effective method is to take the initiative by directly reaching out to law firms. While it may be more common for firms to offer opportunities to older students, a well-crafted email, accompanied by a professional CV, can make a compelling case. 

In the body of your email, introduce yourself politely and clearly state your purpose. Express your genuine interest in the legal field, briefly highlighting relevant coursework or extracurricular activities to capture the attention of potential employers. Attaching a well-prepared CV that showcases your academic achievements, relevant skills, and any volunteer experiences will provide additional credibility.

Essential components of your email should include explaining the proactive nature of your outreach, demonstrating your commitment and initiative. Express flexibility regarding the type of work or duration of the experience, showing adaptability and a willingness to learn. Convey gratitude for the recipient’s time and consideration to foster a positive impression.

This method not only showcases your determination but also opens doors to potential opportunities that may not be widely advertised. By being professional, courteous, and adaptable in your communication, you can make a positive impression on potential employers, thus, increasing your chances of securing valuable work experience in the legal field.

Below are some opportunities you can get involved with: 

  • Womble Bond Dickinson offers programmes for students studying towards their GCSEs where you will be introduced to roles in law, developing personal statements, and introductions to law based tasks. Visit their online virtual work experience programme, Forage, to get started!
  • Pincent Masons offer law work experience for 16 year olds as a week-long programme. During this week you will get a full overview of what it is like to work at a commercial law firm. You will be assigned a supervisor who will help you develop skills, take part in a business group exercise, take part in a mock employment tribunal and even shadow lawyers on real client work! Click here to find out more!

Law work experience for A Level students

Once you transition to A levels, securing law work experience becomes more accessible as law firms increasingly offer more tailored and robust programmes for students during Years 12 and 13. At this stage, your academic progression and the depth of your legal knowledge make you a more attractive candidate for specialised opportunities.

Moreover, law firms often organise seminars, workshops, and networking events tailored for A level students. These opportunities allow you to interact with legal professionals, gain insights into the intricacies of specific practice areas, and build valuable connections within the industry. The aim is to enrich your understanding of the legal field, help you make informed career choices, and prepare you for the challenges of pursuing a legal career.

Below are some opportunities you can apply to:

  • Arnold & Porter offer a two week work experience to year 12 students who are particularly interested in pursuing a career in law. In week 1 you will spend a week in their London office, where you will gain extensive insight into life at the firm, including taking part in various workshops/sessions. In week 2 you will spend a day at 5 different organisations as part of the Social Mobility Business Partnership. You will also  be matched with an Arnold & Porter mentor throughout Year 13 as part of their structured mentoring programme with Mentoring Works. Visit their page for more information, including the application form so you can apply!
  • Clifford Chance’s ‘Access’ programme is a two year development programme which is designed to give you an insight into law and provide you with various network streams and resources to excel in the field of law. This particular programme will also get you considered for a training contract at the firm! Click here to find out more, and apply!
  • Burges Salmon is a UK based law firm which offers their ‘Bright Sparks Programme’ for students in year 10 to year 12. This week-long programme will provide you with first hand insight into the commercial field, including group projects, and shadowing various departments. They are currently not taking any more applicants for their 2024 cycle but be sure to check their website for next year!
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner offers a two week programme for year 12 students who come from a non-advantaged background. This programme will enable you to gain extensive insight into what it would be like to work in a city law firm. Visit their website to apply!

Law work experience for university students

Vacation schemes are the most common way for students at this level to gain work experience. Law firms encourage students to apply for vacation schemes during various stages, such as undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduates. 

If you are in your first year, you should be aware that vacation schemes are generally intended for those in their second or final year of study. Students enrolled in a four-year programme can usually apply from their third year onwards.

Use this tool where you can search and filter for live vacation scheme opportunities! Also, you can visit here, where you can see all of the current vacation scheme deadlines, which update continually to match application cycles!

Get 1-to-1 guidance from an expert Law tutor

Here at The Profs, we are committed to excellence in all aspects of your academic and professional career. During the National Tutoring Awards 2023, The Profs were awarded with ‘best tutoring business of the year’! 

If you want to maximise your potential during your GCSEs and A Levels, we are the place to come to! If you’re hoping to attend a top university and/or pursue law, reach out to our knowledgeable undergraduate or postgraduate application team. With 95% of our students getting into their first and second-choice universities, we’ve proven that admissions are our speciality! We also have an expert team of career coaches who know exactly how to nail your interviews and nab competitive internship and full-time roles at esteemed firms.

No matter your level of education or your goals for pursuing law, we’ve got expert Law tutors who can provide you with bespoke support today. We are here to maximise your success in every path, and our success stories are proof that we get the results!