What does a Solicitor do?

So, what’s a solicitor? And what does a solicitor do? In the UK, the role of a solicitor is to take instructions from clients, including individuals, groups, public sector organisations or private companies, and advise them on necessary courses of legal action.

As a solicitor, you would work closely with clients and are likely to be their first point of contact. The issues that solicitors advise on range from personal issues (such as wills and divorces) to commercial work (such as mergers and acquisitions). Once qualified, you could work in private practice, in-house for commercial or industrial organisations, in local or central government, or in the court service.

Relaxed student studying


Applications are now open for our undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including online, part-time and business options.

Undergraduate apply ➔

Postgraduate apply ➔

Discover our courses

What are the different Solicitors' practice areas?

If you’ve decided you want to become a solicitor, the work you do will depend on a range of factors, including your area of practice. However, your main role will be client liaison and advice.

The 24 different practice areas of law are varied and require different qualifications and skills.

If you want a career in law, but don’t want to be a solicitor, you may want to consider becoming a barrister or paralegal. But, what's the difference between a barrister and a solicitor or lawyer? A barrister is more of an advocate and they represent their clients in court. A solicitor or lawyer does the groundwork in an office or law firm setting.

What qualifications do you need to be a Solicitor?

  • The Graduate Diploma in Law is a specially designed conversion course for non-law graduates to move into legal education: Graduation Diploma in Law
  • The LLB is equivalent to a BA or BSc and is a Qualifying Law Degree. It’s the perfect first step towards becoming a solicitor or barrister: LLB Law
  • The online Graduate Diploma in Law is a specially designed conversion course for non-law graduates to move into legal education: Graduation Diploma in Law Online
  • The online LLB is equivalent to a BA or BSc and is a Qualifying Law degree. It’s the perfect first step towards becoming a solicitor or barrister: LLB Online
  • The Accelerated LLB is a two year Qualifying Law Degree, rather than the usual three year degree. It covers the same material, just faster: Accelerated LLB
  • The MA Law degree is specially designed for non-law graduates who want to gain a Master of Arts qualification in law: MA Law
  • The MA Law Online is a postgraduate Master of Arts specifically designed for non-law graduates who want to gain a legal qualification at Master’s level: Online MA Law

What skills does a Solicitor need?

  • A professional approach to work, integrity and a respect for confidentiality
  • Problem solving skills
  • Research and analysis skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Strong negotiating skills
  • Dedication, stamina and resilience
  • Interpersonal skills are needed to work as part of a wider team, as well as with your client and other organisations
  • Time management skills and the ability to plan work and prioritise tasks
  • Commercial awareness and flexibility when dealing with changing circumstances and scenarios
  • Resilience and self-confidence.

How to become a successful solicitor in the UK?

To become a solicitor, you must first complete your studies, followed by a work-based (vocational) period which is practical experience.

To complete the study stage of your journey to becoming a solicitor, you can take the following path.

  • Gain either an approved law degree – known as a qualifying law degree – at class 2:2 or above or a degree at 2:2 or above in any other subject, followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL).
  • Complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC)

How to become a solicitor in England and Wales?

According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to qualify and practice as a solicitor there are three stages of training:

How to become a solicitor in Northern Ireland?

The Law Society of Northern Ireland regulates solicitors in Northern Ireland. Professional training for solicitors is overseen by the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS).

These are the three stages of training:

  • Law degree or experience
  • Vocational qualifications: Solicitor’s Course at ILPS
  • In-work training: Apprenticeship

How to become a solicitor in Scotland?

The Law Society of Scotland regulates solicitors in Scotland.

These are the three stages of training:

  • Law degree in Scots Law
  • Vocational qualifications PEAT Diploma in Professional Legal Practice
  • In-work training PEAT

Can you be a solicitor without a degree?

You can become a solicitor without a degree by joining a Legal Apprenticeship programme. You will work in a law firm for six to seven years on a programme that focuses 80% on work and 20% on study and training. Discover more about legal apprenticeships through ULaw.

What does a solicitor do day to day?

A solicitor’s day-to-day responsibilities can be varied and changes from case to case. Daily tasks can include giving legal advice to clients, translating client’s issues into legal terms, researching cases, writing legal documents, general preparing of cases, liaising with other legal professionals.

How much is a solicitor's salary?

The hard work and long hours reflect the wage and salary for a solicitor. A newly qualified solicitor in a firm outside of the city or smaller commercial practice may expect to earn around £25,000 to £40,000. An average solicitor salary in London is anything from £40,000 to £65,000 based on five years’ experience, but as there are many areas of law, this can vary. For those with over ten years' experience, earnings can range from £65,000 to £1,000,000. Those based in London and bigger cities will often earn more too. The potential for earning growth is huge if you choose a career as a solicitor.

How do pro bono lawyers work?

You may use some of your time to give free help to clients who are unable to pay for legal services themselves, which is known as pro bono work. Find out about the pro bono opportunities we provide to our students.

Useful links for future solicitors

  • Sign in to the ULaw Employability Portal and find job opportunities, internships offers that match your criteria along with info on companies that are recruiting: ULaw jobsite (current students)
  • Find info on graduate jobs, postgraduate study, advice about work experience, internship opportunities and careers: Prospects
  • Find Graduate jobs and schemes, Internships and placements, advice to help you get hired, everything you need to start your career: Target Jobs
  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales: The Crown Prosecution Service
  • Government lawyers provide legal advice to the government and represent them in court proceedings: Government Legal Profession (formally: Government Legal Service)
  • Search for your next job from over 2000 live vacancies, or upload your CV now and let recruiters find you: Law Society Gazette
  • LawCareers.Net (LCN) is all about law - a comprehensive, one-stop online resource created for future lawyers and those who recruit them: LawCareers.Net
  • Find the latest legal jobs with The Lawyer Jobs - thousands of legal jobs in the UK, Ireland and worldwide: The Lawyer


Find out how we can support you to get the best start possible to your career.

Discover more

Student Employability Programme

Want a successful career in law? Go through our step-by-step practical activities and read our advice tailored to legal careers.

Discover more