Law schools in United Kingdom (UK)
Becoming a lawyer in the UK can be a pretty challenging and a long process. This competitive field requires several years of commitment, including completing the rigorous academic requirements along with the required training experience.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law (LLB and LLM) are the most common types of degrees offered by law schools in the UK. The requirements for an undergraduate law degree vary widely between law schools.
However, all of them require higher school qualifications (A levels or equivalent), good grades from previous education, and proof of English language proficiency.
For a postgraduate degree, you will need an undergraduate degree, grades, English language proficiency, and work experience of two or three years, besides your CV and motivation letter. You may be able to join a PG degree despite not having an undergraduate law degree.
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is the common route adopted by graduates with a non-law background and aspiring for a law career. This is a one year full-time course and would take two years if done on a part-time basis.
Most UK law schools use the common online application platform, UCAS. You can open an account, scan your documents, and apply to the university you want to go to. Some universities run individual application pages on their websites.
Pursuing a law degree in the UK is more expensive for students outside the EU or EEA. The fee for international students in undergraduate programs range £12,000-£20,000 ($15,650-$26,000) per academic year, and postgraduate programs £14,000-£30,000 per year. The minimum monthly living expenses would be around £1,000.
Top law schools in UK
The top law schools in the UK include the University of Cambridge, University of Glasgow, University of Oxford, London School of Economics, University of Aberdeen among others.
Becoming a lawyer
To become a barrister in the UK and go into practice, a prospective lawyer needs to pass the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT) and then join one of the “Inns of Court,”.
The next step would be to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), a post-graduate course which would take one year if done full-time or two years on a part-time basis.
The final step would be to apply for pupillage and complete this one year pupillage under the guidance and supervision of an experienced lawyer, and then obtain tenancy in barrister’s chambers.
Here’s the step-by-step process involved to become a barrister:
- LLB / undergraduate course + GDL
- Pass the BCAT
- Join “Inns of Court”
- Complete BPTC (one year duration)
- Complete one year pupillage
- Obtain tenancy in chambers
To become a solicitor, you require to complete LLB, and then the Legal Practice Course. This is a post-graduate course with a one year duration and covers the practical aspects of the profession.
Next, you’d have to secure a training contract with a law firm or chamber. This two year stint as a trainee would give you practical experience and help you pick up essential skills.
The Professional Skills Course (PSC) is the last milestone and an essential part that needs to be completed by the trainee solicitor during the training contract period..
Here’s a list of the requirements to qualify as a solicitor:
- LLB / undergraduate course + GDL
- LPC (one year duration)
- Training contract (two years)
- Complete the PSC
The starting salary for lawyers is £25,000, which can increase to about £100,000 over a ten-year career. A law degree offers a variety of careers, including advocate, solicitor, law journalist, academic, detective, and professional law counselor.
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