Skip to main content

Law & Legal Services

Large numbers of Exeter graduates enter the legal profession including both law graduates and graduates of many other disciplines.

Traditionally non-law students have taken a law conversion course, and all entrants to the profession have needed to take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors or the Bar Professional Training (BPT) course for barristers. In 2021 the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) began.

Qualifying Law graduates

The LPC will currently continue to be offered by some providers as an alternative to the SQE. The SQE preparation courses will be varied and include those at masters level and intensive courses.

Non-law graduates

Whilst it is no longer compulsory for non-law graduates to complete a law conversion course to become a solicitor it is likely that most will complete a law conversion such as the PgDL to provide them with the skills and knowledge required.

On completion of a law conversion course, those wishing to qualify as a solicitor could go on to do a course more specifically geared towards preparing for the SQE assessments (if SQE preparation has not been included in the law conversion) while those wanting to qualify as a barrister can apply for a Bar Training Course (BTC).

Entering the legal profession

There is no prescribed route to follow under the SQE, however, to reach the point where you can qualify as a solicitor you must:

  • Have a degree in any subject or equivalent qualification or work experience
  • Pass both stages of the SQE assessments - SQE1 (legal knowledge) & SQE2 (practical legal skills)
  • Have two years' qualifying work experience
  • Pass the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) character and suitability requirements

A career as a barrister can be very varied and rewarding. However, becoming a barrister is highly competitive. There are three components to training to become a barrister. These are:

  • The academic component;
  • The vocational component, and
  • The pupillage or work-based learning component.

Timing your application to the profession is important. You are likely to be applying for training contracts more than two years in advance of starting in the role of trainee solicitor.

Entrants will have usually gained a wide variety of law related experience such as work experience/shadowing, pro-bono and vacation schemes.

Prospective barristers will gain experience via mini pupillages, pro-bono, judge marshalling and participating in mooting and debating to demonstrate commitment, insight and motivation. Pupillages can be applied for from the final year onwards.

You'll also find plenty of information and a variety of law firms, some chambers and professional training providers to talk to at our Law Fair in November. It is never too early to attend and start interacting with law professionals.

The Careers Zone has several useful magazines and handbooks to help you which are free, so please make sure you come in to collect your copies.

You can also download a list of Employers of Exeter graduates in the legal sector.

Videos on the following topics can be found in My Career Zone Digital:

  • Industry overview: Law
  • The key skills for working in law
  • Top tips for working in law
  • Diversity in law
  • What do you enjoy most about working in law
  • What qualifications do you need to become a lawyer
  • Is work-life balance possible as a lawyer
  • LawCABs – Central Applications Board applications for full time PgDL, LPC and SQE courses
  • Prospects - bar courses – who provides the bar training course

You can also use the following links to search for postgraduate courses:

In Career Zone you will also find hard copies of other postgraduate resources including The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding, Prospects Postgraduate Funding Guide, and Prospects Postgraduate Directory.