LCAN, the Law Careers Advice Network, primar aims was to promote and enhance understanding in the student population in schools, further and higher education institutions about the opportunities available to those who wish to pursue a career in law.



The LCAN offered a wide range of information about Qualifying


Being a lawyer is interesting, challenging and very rewarding. Lawyers (Solicitors) expound legal advice on a numerous of issues. A legal career offers tremendous scope and prospects for young people not simply as a lawyer or barrister but a law education opens up a wealth of other possible employment avenues


Overview of the legal profession


The work of a solicitor
Solicitors give advice and assistance on matters of law. Specifically, they are the first point of contact for people and bodies (members of the public, companies and charities) seeking skilled legal advice and representation. Most solicitors work together in private practice, while others work in central and local government, or in-house in a commercial or industrial organization.


The work of a barrister
Barristers offer advice on legal issues and are on the front line, representing clients in court. They receive their information and instructions through a client's solicitor. When not appearing in court, they work in chambers where they prepare their court cases and arguments.


Necessary skills
If you're looking for a career that gives you variety in terms of work, allows you to be self-employed and puts your advocacy skills to good use, a career at the Bar could be for you.

Broadly speaking, those working as solicitors will enjoy working as part of a team (ie, working together in the same firm), and are happy with plenty of client contact and paperwork (although the amount varies depending on the type of law practised).


Most employers are expecting a 2.1 degree plus coupled with a commercial awareness, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills.


How to decide between being a solicitor or barrister

Large and medium-sized firms commonly offer training contracts two years before they begin, so your decision as to which branch of the profession to follow needs to be made earlier than you might prefer. Unless you intend to take a year or two out, it won’t be possible to wait until you finish your law degree/conversion course before picking a profession.


A career as either a solicitor or barrister requires intellectual ability, analytical flair and interpersonal skills, not to mention organisational skills and commercial awareness, but there are also some significant differences:


Self-employed barrister Solicitor
Greater independenceCommitment to a corporate culture; a supportive peer environment; team-working skills
A willingness to take risksA defined career path; greater security; greater conformity
Highly developed advocacy skillsStrong communication skills
Very high level presentation skillsLess frequent need for presentation skills
Competition fierce Competition strong but not quite as fierce
Traveling between chambers and court Office-based


Routes to qualification

In order to qualify as either a solicitor or a barrister, all students must complete both the academic stage of training and the vocational stage of training. The Department for Constitutional Affairs have produced a leaflet, Routes into the legal profession, which gives an overview of some of the training required to qualify.


Academic stage of training

Vocational stage of training


  • The Legal Practice Course (LPC).
  • Practice based training - the training contract (equivalent to two years full-time for graduates - those following the non-graduate route may be exempt from this requirement).
  • The Professional Skills Course (PSC).


  • Inns of Court.
  • The Bar Vocational Course (BVC). Pupillage (a one-year period of training split between the first 'non-practising' six and the second 'practising' six at either the self-employed or employed bar).