Revealed: The non-law careers law students are considering

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Legal Cheek exclusive research shows most want to work in business, consulting and management or the public sector upon graduating

There has been an influx of students enrolling on law degrees in recent times but not every single one will want to pursue a career in legal practice as a solicitor or barrister. After all, the undergraduate law degree is often touted as an academic, rather than vocational, discipline, and one that can equip students with solid transferable skills to enter a wide range of professions.

In fact, 81% of rookies are open to an alternative career to law, as per Legal Cheek‘s exclusive survey of 525 law students.

More than half of the respondents surveyed were undergraduate law students (55%) with the rest in postgraduate study, such as the GDL, LPC and BPTC, or completing a master’s. A small percentage (1%) were sixth-form students.

The field the current crop of students most want to join is business, consulting or management, with 58% of the vote. This could mean these students are eyeing up graduate placements at the ‘Big Four’ — Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC — which offer opportunities in consultancy, among others. The next most popular vocation among respondents, with 56% of the vote, is within the public sector, including the Civil Service.

Thirty-nine percent are considering careers in marketing, PR and journalism, which came in third, closely followed by 38% open to non-lawyer roles in legal operations. A training contract isn’t the only way into a global law firm; as many now offer graduate schemes that mimic the TC’s two-year, four-seat structure. Linklaters, for example, launched recently a legal operations graduate scheme, while Ashurst and Norton Rose Fulbright have similar programmes geared towards grads with an interest in business and legal operations. Participants on these programmes don’t, however, qualify as solicitors.

Academia or teaching received the interest of 36% surveyed. A further 35% are open to non-lawyer roles in legal technology, which, again, some law firms actually offer training programmes for. Allen & Overy offers a tech-focused graduate scheme and houses Fuse, its very own tech incubator which recruits bright legal minds. Slaughter and May‘s Collaborate and Mishcon de Reya‘s MDR LAB are other examples.

Elsewhere, 34% want to break into the world of banking and finance, 30% are interested in HR/recruitment, 17% in insurance and just 3% are looking to enter the line of engineering and manufacturing which doesn’t come as much surprise due to the technical nature of the work.

The research follows the news that law students are pessimistic about their career prospects in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The overwhelming majority agreed that the current public health crisis has reduced the number of job opportunities in the legal sector, and worry that the disruption will slow their career progression.

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LLM (Cantab)

You mean to say not everyone wants to spend their life toiling away at their desk from 9 til 8pm (if you’re lucky) every weekday? Colour me shocked.



Not sure why people on here think corporate law is the only career that entails long hours in the City. If your a business analyst, consultant, wealth management advisor etc. at any of the quality shops you wont be clocking off at 5pm.

Unsocially long hours are not something only reserved for Lawyers. Bloody hairdressers can work 9-8pm



You need to improve “your” grammar if “you’re” planning a career in the City, mate.



Mate is hardly grammatically correct, now is it? How should grammar be defined? Some of you idiots will probably have 1st class degrees but still thick as shit. The point the person makes is more important than sentence construction. Grammar is merely superficial.



“Grammar is merely superficial” are the flavour of pleadings you would see on an unsuccessful defence to breach of contract where the damages are upwards of £5M, with a successful professional negligence claim shortly following.


Said no lawyer, ever.

LLM (Cantab)

I’m well aware law isn’t the only profession with long hours, but that’s what you usually sign up for if you choose this route.


CMS Trainee

Should be titled “Careers law students who can’t get a TC or pupillage are considering”.



Not everyone is dreaming of a training contract…



I read law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and am considering entering the Church.


Shannon - Grad Rec

And we care why?


Bombay Bad Boy

Please can you stay in there if you do?



Gavin Henson said that once and look where that got him.


MC Trainee

I would not recommend legal operations at the big law firms. I’ve seen associates / trainees bully support staff, snarl down the phone at them and lie about them to cover themselves. It is very much the bottom rung and **** flows downwards.

Unfortunately many lawyers (as you can tell from LC comments) consider themselves God’s gift to man because they got a TC or pupillage. They accordingly view all non-lawyers as serfs.

Best to steer clear and pursue one of the more interesting routes above.


Legal Plops

*I would not recommend legal operations at any firms.



Bit unfair to judge lawyers by reference to LC comments. I doubt most of their writers have even graduated!


Honey Booboo

Very well said. I have worked at several magic circle firms as a paralegal and I must say that I have never met so many petty and despicable characters. I have not applied for a training contract as I don’t want to spend the rest of my career working with such individuals 😛


Honest career adviser

Considering the economic climate, only fans, and many vids for female graduates. Its a shame that those sites are not a viable option for males. I guess we need to challenge the “gender pay gap” in the adult industry.


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