How to Pursue a Legal Career with a Non-Law Degree

We have a large Law School at Reading and many of those students aspire to be a qualified solicitor or barrister, but did you know the profession is very much open to students who don’t pursue this subject as their first degree? It may come as a surprise that in many leading Law firms, the number of students accepted on to Training Contracts (the equivalent of a Graduate Scheme for Law) can be as high as 50%! A diversity of thinking, and the additional knowledge acquired in other disciplines such as Humanities or Business can be valuable when drafting documents or reviewing a commercial deal. In another branch of the sector, Patent Attorneys are a role that very much requires candidates from a STEM background as opposed to Law students, given the technical nature of the role.

Now – it is important to call out that it isn’t a simple case of applying and you are in. There is additional study involved. A common route would be to take a law conversion course, which is a one year programme that intensively tops up the legal knowledge required. Further to that there is also a requirement to take the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE) – which can also be completed with an additional year of study, either full or part-time, in person or remote – from a range of providers. Some that offer this route have upcoming Open Days in the new year. One such virtual opportunity is with the University of Law (who also happen to have a campus down on London Road), on the 11th of January.

Undergraduates in their final years from non-Law subjects are the target group for many of these firms. One way to build up knowledge of this profession is to attend open days and events at Law firms, as well as apply for Vacation Schemes (short term internships that often can be the feeder to the later training contracts).

There are additional ways to test this sector out before committing to it longer term. Here at the University of Reading, all students can sign up to gain access to the Forage website for free, where hundreds of virtual job simulations can be taken. These are self-paced, online courses that can take up to a few hours. You have the chance to undertake tasks to learn about the type of work involved, and they can be a great way to experiment, build your knowledge, and earn a certificate to add to your CV. The experience can also enhance any written applications or be called upon when sharing examples in an interview setting.

To close, we will signpost a couple of additional useful links to articles posted by LawCareers.Net, one of the well known advice portals for future lawyers:

If you are interested in exploring this legal route, consider booking in for a 1-1 with a member of the careers team. Our Careers Consultant Jeff Anderson works with a lot of law students and is able to help you navigate the system and some of the options available to you.


Jeff Anderson, Careers Consultant