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How to become a lawyer

There are a number of pathways aspiring lawyers can take to achieve a career in law. Sarah Naffine explains.

Nowadays, there is no longer only one path to becoming a practicing solicitor in the UK, as Lodders’ HR Director Sarah Naffine, explains.

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Key attributes of every lawyer include motivation, commitment, strong oral and written communication skills, commercial awareness, a competitive attitude, personal integrity and an ethical approach. Perhaps unsurprising when you consider the day-to-day life of every solicitor – researching cases, interpreting legislation, drafting correspondence, agreeing contracts and other legal documents, liaising with clients and professionals, and representing clients in court.

Becoming a lawyer is tough, and takes dedication, commitment, and hard work – but the benefits and job satisfaction are huge.

Paths into law

Choosing a job in law no longer requires following only one set path. There are now a number of ways for aspiring lawyers to achieve it, with a choice of routes into the profession that can be tailored to meet individual needs and circumstances:


This remains the most common route to qualifying as a practicing solicitor. It starts with strong academic results at A Level, which allow and enable the path to a Law Degree, followed by Legal Practice Course (LPC), and then a Training Contract that includes the Professional Skills Course (PSC).

Both the Law Degree and LPC course can be carried out either full- or part-time.

The training contract is usually completed within 18 to 24 months, depending on previous work experience.

There are also options available to non-law graduates, who can undertake a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) as a postgraduate degree, to support the transition into law education and ultimately qualification.

Solicitor apprenticeship

The newest path to becoming a solicitor, the minimum requirement for the solicitor apprenticeship programme is 5 GCSEs, and 3 A Levels or their equivalent.

The programme runs for between five and six years – although this may reduce if exemptions from training are applicable – and consists of on-the-job training and two exams: SQE 1 and SQE 2.


CILEx allows individuals to complete their legal studies and achieve a qualified lawyer status and the title of Chartered Legal Executive, specialising in one or two practice areas.

The main benefits of CILEx are that the individual studies at their own pace, that they don’t have to have a law degree, and that it is ideal for those who know exactly the practice area they want to qualify into.


The paralegal route gives a great insight into the legal world.

Although not particularly common, Lodders has great success with this route, and has developed a strong pool of talented paralegals – many of whom are law graduates who have gone on to secure a training contract or solicitor apprenticeship at the firm.

For those who commence the paralegal route without a law degree, Lodders fully supports formal qualifications through the apprenticeship route.

Talent Bank

Lodders’ focus remains on its people, growing the team, and supporting the future talent – both for the firm as well as the future of the region’s legal profession.

Lodders is committed to attracting, developing and nurturing legal talent, and as part of our talent development and retention strategies, last year launched its ‘Talent Bank’ to give the next generation of lawyers opportunities and professional development support, and for the firm to continue to attract the very best-in-breed legal talent.

The Talent Bank is open to all – from senior lawyers with several years PQE under their belts, graduates, and newly qualified legal practitioners.

Every member of the Talent Bank is first to hear about vacancies at Lodders, and have exclusive access to support and professional development tools and collateral.

People interested in finding out about opportunities to join Lodders can nominate themselves for the Talent Bank, and friends and colleagues of ambitious individuals can also nominate. Anyone nominating someone for the Talent Bank who later joins the firm, will receive a referral fee by way of a thank you.

Work experience

A great way to experience the legal world and establish whether it sparks interest and is definitely the profession for you to undertake periods of work experience.

Sarah Naffine is HR Director, at Lodders . She has an extensive background in creating and leading complex HR initiatives to achieve strategic objectives within a highly competitive fast paced environment, to deliver robust strategies that translate vision into reality.

More information

Find out more about career opportunities and current vacancies at Lodders here.

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Sarah is the HR director at Lodders.

The role of HR director is such a diverse and varied one, from being an ambassador for the firm and driving the strategic plan, through to supporting staff in any way she can.

Sarah Naffine, Lodders Solicitors, HR Director, Stratford upon Avon
HR Director

Sarah Naffine