How can I become a solicitor without a law degree?

Top tips from trainee solicitor Helen Cracknell on how to become a solicitor without a law degree

22 February 2019

Although you have to wait until your final year at university to apply for training contracts, you are not at a disadvantage at all for not having studied law.

Having secured a training contract whilst studying English, here are some of my top tips:

Be prepared for unusual interview questions

Don’t be surprised if your degree is one of the first things that interviewers focus on in your interview. One particularly memorable interview I had started with the fear-inducing question: What is your favourite book? I have to admit that this was not one of the questions that I had prepared for the night before! Having a non-law degree is certainly a talking point and something that interviewers will be curious about.

Do your research

Taking time to thoroughly research each firm that you are considering is invaluable to show that you understand what you are applying for. It is also worthwhile to look out for opportunities to gain a practical insight into the firm, as often firms hold events (or even vacation schemes!) exclusively for non-law applicants. Burges Salmon holds an insight day for non-law students and graduates.

Seek out work experience

Legal work experience, no matter how short, is incredibly useful to show your commitment to a legal career and that you understand the realities of the job. In interviews, I used my experience of shadowing a solicitor as the number one reason for confirming law as my choice of career. Any experiences of the day to day life of a lawyer are invaluable to show that you are committed to the career.

However, non-legal work experience can be just as beneficial to your applications in demonstrating commercial awareness and other vital competencies.

Recognise and showcase the skills that your degree subject gave you

Studying a non-law degree will help you to develop a range of unique skills that can be applied to a career in law. I have no doubt that my degree has helped me with producing summaries of large documents, analysing complex documents and the sheer amount of emails, documents and articles that I have drafted during my training contract. Make sure you highlight these in your applications and interviews.

Don’t try to fit into the mould

You will naturally have a different way of thinking to a law student – use this to stand out!