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Solicitors act on behalf of and give legal advice to private and commercial clients.

Once qualified, solicitors often specialise in one legal area such as family, litigation, property or tax. Solicitors working in commercial law firms advise large corporate clients on transactions or cases. They might draft the contracts for the construction of a new shopping centre or advise on the merger of one FTSE 100 company with another.

High street solicitors advise smaller companies and individuals on legal matters such as writing wills, property conveyancing, custody cases, divorce settlements and so on.

Typical duties include:

  • giving legal advice

  • researching cases and legislation

  • drafting legal documents

  • liaising with clients and other professionals such as barristers

  • representing clients in court.

It is a responsible and trustworthy job which necessitates integrity, confidentiality and a non-prejudicial manner.


Qualifications and training required


The main route to qualifying as a solicitor is still via a (law or non-law) university degree followed by a vocational, postgraduate course known as the legal practice course (LPC). Graduates from any academic background can train as a solicitor, but should have an excellent record of academic achievement, including good A level results. Graduates with a non-law degree must first pass a conversion course known as the graduate diploma in law  (GDL)

Following qualification, it is necessary to complete a two-year training contract or 'period of recognised training'. At all stages early applications are essential: some firms arrange training contracts up to two years in advance.


Key skills for solicitors


  • motivation

  • organisational skills

  • commercial awareness

  • good interpersonal skills

  • written and oral communication skills

  • analytical skills


Typical employers of solicitors


  • private practice law firms

  • legal departments within large organisations known as 'in-house'

  • the Crown Prosecution Service or CPS

  • the Government Legal Service (GLS) or local authorities. 


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