Four Ways to Become a Solicitor in the UK

Have you always dreamt of becoming a solicitor but thought that you couldn’t because you didn’t have the right A levels or have already been to University? Well worry not, you can still become a solicitor in the United Kingdom through other paths. Below I will be looking into the different paths you can follow to become a lawyer. None of these methods are quick and easy and will require lots of hard work to get to the top.

University Degree

The most common method of becoming a solicitor in the UK is to go to University and study a law degree. Getting a Law degree is not easy and you will have to have great A level grades before applying to do law at University. It is however the most recognised route and after a 3 year degree you will take the LPC (Legal Practice Course) and then become a trainee solicitor at a firm.

Law Conversion (CPE)

If you have studied for a different degree and decided afterwards that perhaps law is for you then you can always take the CPE (Common Professional Exam) or GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) which will essentially convert your degree into a law degree in 1 year full time or 2-3 part-time.


If you don’t currently have a degree you may be eligible to take an apprentice to become a solicitor, there are many different programs where a law firm will take on board a number of apprentices to work at their firm. Usually this means that you will have to do a lot of mundane boring jobs for a number of years whilst you gain qualifications but it is the cheapest way to become a lawyer in the UK despite the low apprentice wages.


This stands for Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and is an alternative route to becoming a solicitor. It works in a similar way to a law degree except at the end you will not be a lawyer but rather a Legal Executive. Today there is little difference between the two and they are often treated the same in law firms. Legal Executives can also become partners in law firms, so don’t think this as secondary to being a solicitor. If you still wish to be a fully qualified lawyer you can still apply to become a practising solicitor as a legal executive by taking a few exams and passing the criteria set by the SRA. One firm that provides these courses whilst working are Kirwans Solicitors in Liverpool.


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