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What are the different types of law?

Law is present throughout our lives. From personally using a solicitor to help us buy our first home to writing a will, to barristers defending or prosecuting within the justice system, legal work plays a significant part in shaping the world around us. It’s everywhere and as a result there are a vast number of areas in which lawyers can choose to specialise.

By Grant Longstaff. Published 5 September 2022.

If you’re only just starting out on your journey into law, the scope of the field could be a little intimidating. A good place to start exploring potential career options is our Legal Practice Area pages. We cover some of the most commercial areas of law, break down what kind of work you could be involved with and the skills you’ll need to succeed.

What type of law is right for me?

A good way to figure out what type of law is right for you is to consider where your interests lie. If you’re interested in protecting individual freedoms or tackling climate change then human rights law or environmental law could be for you. Alternatively, if you think you would thrive as part of a team within a busy organisation, corporate or employment law might appeal. Take the time to research whatever field it is you’re passionate about working in. You might be surprised where it can lead.

You could also consider work experience as a way of exploring the different areas of law. For instance, the Citizens Advice is a great place to encounter family, housing and immigration law. Research local non-profit organisations or legal charities to see what areas of law they cover and if they would interest you. Additionally, if you’re already a student at ULaw, our Employability Service can help you find suitable work experience or volunteering opportunities too. Remember, this process is just as useful to find out what doesn’t suit you, as well as what does.

It could also be beneficial to read the stories of our ULaw alumni. Their accounts highlight just how diverse the field of law can be. For example, Amelia Wilson works in the media sector as a programme lawyer for Channel 4, and Geofrey Banzi and Wing Yan Ng work as legal technologists, an emerging field which looks at how technology can help law firms operate more efficiently. Other alumni have worked in charity, games design and finance, or for corporations such as eBay and Facebook, which further highlights legal career opportunities can be found in all sorts of industries.

Can you specialise in multiple law areas?

Arguably, there’s nothing stopping you from specialising in multiple areas of law. That said, when it comes to looking for employment opportunities, you’ll most likely find that an organisation is looking for you to work in a specific area.

Do different law types differ in salary?

It’s natural for salary to play a role in deciding what type of law you might want to pursue. That said, there are many factors which can impact your potential salary, not just the type of law you practise. How much you earn will depend on where you and your workplace are based, the size of the firm or organisation you work for and the kind of work you do for them.

Ultimately, determining salaries will come down to research. If there’s an area of law you’re interested in, find and explore the vacancies in this sector to see what they offer potential employees. This may also help you curate a list of possible future employers too.

Will a law degree limit your choice of practice area?

It’s worth noting that choosing a specialism isn’t essential from the outset of your studies. Our LLB Law is designed to provide you with a solid introduction for practising law, and in your second and third years of study you will be given the opportunity to pick from a range of modules. These will provide an insight into a variety of law types and give you the chance to explore which area might suit you best.

However, choosing a particular area of law could prove beneficial, if you decide to continue your studies after completing an LLB. ULaw offer a range of Master of Law (LLM) courses specialising in several law areas such as Mental Health Law, International Energy Law and Insurance Law to name a few. Finally, we also offer a general LLM, the perfect course for those students who are looking to keep their options open and remain undecided about their future.


Explore our Legal Practice Area pages and discover the law sector which is right for you.