• Legal

Legal Sector

Overview of the Sector

The UK legal sector grew at the “phenomenal” rate of 8% last year and is worth almost £26bn, according to research commissioned by the Law Society.

An estimated 370,000 people are now employed in legal services, according to analysis by Oxford Economics and Cambridge Econometrics. Nearly two-thirds of them work in solicitors’ firms.

(The Guardian, 22/03/2016)

Typical Jobs in the Legal Sector

What do I need to gain graduate employment?

Northern Ireland

Both routes ie barrister and solicitor involve applying for entry to the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS) at Queen’s by application deadline in November of final year.

England and Wales

To become a solicitor, you will need to complete the Legal Professional Certificate (LPC). Applications are made in your final year through Central Applications Board.  Go to for further information.  Applications for Training Contracts need to be made in your pre-final year.  If offered a Training Contract, firms will pay your LPC fees.  

Applying with a Non Law Degree


England and Wales – Complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This one year course combined with your degree is the equivalent of a law degree and allows you to apply for the LPC or BPTC depending on what pathway you want.

In Northern Ireland non law graduates can complete a 2 year Master in Law (MLaw) before applying to IPLS, BPTC or LPC courses.

Key Employers

Key Employers – Northern Ireland

Law firms: A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, Carson McDowell, Ceaver Fulton, Rankin Pinsent Masons, TLT NI LLP, Tughans

Legal service providers: Axiom Law, Baker & McKenzie, Herbert Smith, Allen & Overy, Citi

Key Employers – UK and Global: 

Law firms: Baker & McKenzie, Stephenson Harwood, Freshfields, Pinsent Masons, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Linklaters, Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith, Freehills, Travers Smith, Clyde & Co, Slaughter & May, Burges Salmon, Eversheds, White & Case, Shearman & Sterling, Ashurst

Cormac McGrady

 Michael Sweeney Head

Michael Sweeney
Corporate Paralegal at Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP
Training Contract at Macfarlanes LLP
Read the full profile

 Lucy Pollock head

Lucy Pollock
Study USA (Pennsylvania) & Study China (Shanghai)
Read the full profile

Cormac McGrady head

Cormac McGrady
BA Politics (2012)
Master of Legal Science (2015)
Read the full profile


On Campus resources –

  • Law Fair (normally in Semester One of the academic year)
  • Oncampus/Off campus employer visits– see events on MyFuture
  • MyFuture– paid and voluntary positions advertised

Online resources -

England and Wales

Northern Ireland


Republic of Ireland





UK and Global Opportunities

On Campus resources–

  • ‘Going Global’– MyFuture/Jobs/Going Global – database of jobs and internships, key employers and country guides
  • Opportunities to internationalise your degree (Erasmus, Study USA, INTO China) Advertised on MyFuture.
  • Graduate Recruitment & Placement Fair– annual showcase of NI and international firms with vacancies

Further afield:

Each county will have its own requirements to ensure you are qualified to practise law.  This may even change in different parts of the same country. 

Links to some of the requirements in English speaking countries are listed below - 

Professional Legal Bodies and Organisations

Further Reading and Information

We have lots of really useful information resources in a variety of formats available in MyFuture and the Student Guidance Centre Hub which includes WI-FI, FREE TEA and COFFEE.

Prospects industry insights and Gradireland sector career guides will help you to search for employment in this employment sector.

Meet the Queen's Law Alumni Panel

Beginner's Guide to a Career in Law

Prospects Job Sectors

Gradireland Career Sector Guides


The Job Crowd

All About Lawprovides students with a variety of information ranging from the Areas of Law and Top Law Firms to work for to Interview Tips for Law. We also advertise jobs, internships and work placements on our website.

More about different employment options with your degree can be found on Prospects Options With Your Subject and Law Careers Alternative Careers.

This information is obtained from a variety of sources, including the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS), Prospects, Gradireland and relevant professional organisations and other appropriate resources, as available.

We endeavour to ensure that our online resources are current and contain relevant information. However, we cannot accept responsibility for the contents of external websites.