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How to pursue a career in litigation

A litigator is paid by a client to settle disputes between two people, groups, or businesses. The litigator represents the defendant or the one who initiated the dispute. If a dispute cannot be resolved outside of the court, the issue will be taken to court and the litigator will represent the client before a judge.

By Editorial Team. Published 21 December 2022.

Where do litigators work?

Most litigators are experts in a particular field of work, for example, there are litigators who specialise in business/corporate, personal injury, employment contracts and more. Choosing a particular field you are interested in is important as many clients will seek a litigator with expansive experience in a particular sector.

What skills do you need to become a litigator?

A high level of organisational skills are key to being a successful litigator. A huge amount of paperwork is involved in litigation, from disclosure documents to preparing trial bundles that run into many files. This means keeping a tight diary and managing the workload is paramount to being a litigator.

So how do you become a litigator?

To practise litigation at the bar, you need to have a qualifying law degree (LLB) or an undergraduate degree in another subject with a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL). In addition, you must pass the Bar Practice Course (BPC) as a postgraduate degree.

For a dispute resolution solicitor, it is obligatory to sit the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and the Professional Skills Course (PSC). The PSC is the final, compulsory part of training for trainee solicitors before qualifying as a solicitor. The PSC should normally take place during a period of recognised training.

In addition, our two-week Trainee Litigation Programme is designed to give you a high level of experience, similar to that gained during a contentious seat.  Designed and delivered by experienced practitioners, it builds on key litigation topics and provides substantive and procedural experience through a blend of face-to-face tuition and real life experience through our Legal Advice Clinics.

Work as a trainee litigator will often begin by preparing documentation, conducting research on relevant laws and case histories, or drafting preliminary motions before the court.

Most top law firms have specialist litigation and dispute resolution departments, whilst smaller or specialist firms concentrate all their resources on litigation.

What does studying litigation entail?

 Studying to be a litigator includes consistency, dedication and attention to detail all skills which will be built throughout your studies.

After siting the SQE the final part of becoming a solicitor is sitting the PSC. The University of Law is one of UK’s most established PSC providers, we have refined and developed our programme to ensure that your training is directly relevant to life in practice. One of our main goals with the PSC is to make sure that you’re fully equipped to deliver the key competencies employers demand.

There are three core modules for the PSC: Advocacy and Communication Skills, Client Care and Professional Standards and Financial and Business Skills. There are also 4 elective modules: Practice Skills, Contentious Skills, Non-Contentious Skills and Higher Rights for Audiences. Delivered by our expert tutors this course will build your skills in organisation, communication and negotiation.

What should students aspiring to study litigation do in preparation?

In preparation to become a litigator, it is a good idea to join a law society, attend public legal events and network. Reaching out to litigators working within the industry is important to gain advice and learn about changes within sectors from practising litigators. In addition, doing placements at law firms is a brilliant way of gaining experience and building contacts. Practise being organised, researching sectors you’re interested in and practise interviewing people in preparation for clients will help you to build confidence.

With expert tutors delivering our rigorous PSC, we are confident that you will qualify to become a confident and client-focused litigator.


To learn more about the Trainee Litigation Programme and our other PSC courses, click here.