How to become a solicitor

Advice

Interested in becoming a solicitor in the UK? Our step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know to become a qualified solicitor.

What is a solicitor?

As a solicitor, you’ll represent and defend your clients. You’ll provide legal advice in different situations, such as:

  • Protecting a person’s rights. You’ll make sure your client is fairly treated by public or private organisations
  • Supporting people with civil litigation. Civil litigation is resolving a legal dispute between two or more parties
  • Giving expert advice on everyday issues. This could include buying and selling homes, or dealing with relationship breakdowns
  • Representing immigrants and asylum seekers. Your work could change peoples and families lives for the better
  • Providing occasional free help (pro bono) to people. You could help those who are unable to pay for legal services get justice

Why become a solicitor?

Becoming a solicitor is a highly rewarding career.

  • You can make positive impact on people’s lives
  • You’ll be able to influence specific issues that interest you
  • Each day can be different, with new clients and new problems to solve
  • As a solicitor, you'll have excellent opportunities for career progression and could become a partner in a law firm
  • You can use your knowledge and skills to help your community and wider society
  • The average salary for a solicitor is £55,200 per year. You can expect a starting salary in the range of £28,000 to £68,00 dependent upon location. If you become a partner in a firm, you could potentially reach a salary of £100,000+ a year according to Prospects, 2024

What kind of person makes a good solicitor?

You’re more likely to succeed as a solicitor if you:

  • Prefer working as part of a team
  • Have good reading, writing and research skills
  • Can communicate with people at all levels
  • Have personal integrity and an ethical approach
  • Have a strong work ethic

You also need to meet the SRA’s Assessment of Character and Suitability Rules to be able to practice as a solicitor.

How to become a solicitor in the UK

You can become a solicitor in the UK by:

  • Studying a degree at university
  • Via a Degree Apprenticeship
  • Studying a postgraduate conversion course
  • Working in a legal firm

You may choose to study Law or a specialised pathway such as Law with Business or Law with Criminology. A law degree will provide you with the basis to begin the next stage of training which is the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

If you’re not sure you can achieve the right grades, you can consider studying Law (Foundation Entry), you’ll spend a year getting a broad introduction to law - a great stepping stone into a main 3-year law degree.

What qualifications do I need to become a solicitor in the UK?

After finishing your law degree, conversion course, or any relevant qualification, the next step is to complete additional training.

You’ll need to pass the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). This is a thorough assessment designed to evaluate both your legal knowledge and practical skills.

You’ll then need to fulfil two years of applicable work experience, which may involve a training contract. This contract spans two years and allows you to work under the guidance of an experienced solicitor, gaining practical experience in the legal profession.

You’ll need to complete the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Character and Suitability Requirements Assessment. This assessment is to ensure you meet the standards of ethical and professional standards in the legal profession.

Whichever route you take, becoming a solicitor is a highly rewarding career and one which can benefit both yourself and your community.