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6 May 2024

Exploring legal careers beyond solicitor and barrister roles

In a profession that is often synonymous with the titles of solicitor and barrister, it can be difficult to navigate alternative legal careers. While solicitors and barristers undoubtedly play vital roles within the legal profession, it’s important to also consider the other opportunities available to those looking to enter the industry. 

The legal field is ever-evolving and offers many more opportunities than those you might have been told about in school or at university. To support you in finding the right role for you, we’re delving into the world of alternative legal careers and how these pathways might better support you on your journey to career success. 


1. Licensed Conveyancers

If you’re interested in property law, this might be the ideal career for you! Licensed conveyancers are specialist property lawyers who deal with all the legal, administrative and financial requirements involved in buying or selling property. 

To become a licensed conveyancer, you would need to complete the CLC Level 4 Diploma (unless you have already completed relevant qualifications such as an LLB) and the CLC Level 6 Diploma alongside the requisite hours of work experience. This is a much faster and cheaper way of qualifying as an authorised person compared to the traditional solicitor route, so is definitely worth considering if you are interested in entering the property sector. 

As a licensed conveyancer, you would undertake services such as preparing and agreeing contracts, arranging transfers of ownership, drafting documents and giving advice on shared ownership. Licensed conveyancers are able to do everything that a solicitor can do in a conveyancing transaction, and are true specialists in their area. 

2. Licensed Probate Practitioners

 Another role regulated by the CLC is licensed probate practitioners. Although probate is often not taught in law degrees, it’s a vital area of law that offers some interesting career opportunities. 

Probate is the process of dealing with the estate of someone who has died, so as a licensed probate practitioner you would specialise in the legal procedures surrounding inheritance and the administration of wills and estates. 

Much like the qualification route for becoming a licensed conveyancer, to qualify you would need to undertake the Level 4 and Level 6 CLC Diplomas in Probate Practice and undertake the requisite hours of work experience. Again, this is a much faster and cheaper route to becoming an authorised person than qualifying as a solicitor. 

As a licensed probate practitioner, you will receive extensive training and development in probate practice to enable you to specialise in this area. 

3. Chartered Legal Executives

 You may also want to consider a career as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX), also known as a chartered legal executive.  

Chartered legal executives are trained to the same level as solicitors but in a specific area of practice, making the work very similar to that of a solicitor. The main difference in the work is that chartered legal executives have more limited rights of audience than solicitors. 

To qualify as a chartered legal executive or CILEX Lawyer, you will need to complete the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ), which is made up of three stages: CPQ Foundation, CPQ Advanced and CPQ Professional. Alongside these exams, you will also need to complete a period of qualifying experience, a portfolio of evidence of competencies and satisfy character and suitability requirements. 

4. Notaries

Did you know that as a notary you would be a member of the oldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom? Notaries deal with the authentication and certification of signatures, authority and capacity relating to documents for use abroad. They can also conduct general legal practice such as conveyancing and probate and may exercise the powers of a Commissioner for Oaths. 

To become a notary, you will need to complete two stages of training. The first stage is the academic stage, provided by Law Training Centre through the Notarial Academic Training Course. After completing the academic stage, you will need to complete the second stage, the Notarial Practice Course, delivered by UCL. 

Qualifying as a notary is a great option for those looking to go down a different route to the traditional solicitor/barrister career, as it offers entry to a worldwide profession and often has less competition. Plus, if you choose to later qualify as a solicitor or barrister you can do this alongside your notarial work. 

5. Licensed Paralegals

The paralegal role is well known in the legal field and is an important job that keeps law firms running smoothly. However, many see it as simply a stepping stone to becoming a solicitor, but this doesn’t have to be the case – being a paralegal can be a fulfilling lifelong career! 

Although paralegals are not qualified lawyers, those looking to support themselves further in this role may want to become licensed paralegals. As a licensed paralegal, you would be able to offer legal services directly to your own clients, and could even set up your own High Street practice offering your services to the public. 

To become a licensed paralegal you will need to complete the NALP Level 7 Diploma in Paralegal Practice. To do this, you will also need to have completed a law degree or Graduate Diploma in law, and you will need a minimum of 3 years experience and competency in the area(s) of law in which you wish to practice. 

Whether you choose to go down the licensed paralegal route or stick to a regular paralegal job, there are lots of exciting career progression opportunities for those looking for a successful legal career. 

6. Other legal roles

There are lots of other legal roles out there – many more than we could list in one blog! If you’re still unsure about which career pathway might be right for you, it’s worth also taking a look at some other more specific legal roles or starting points for your legal career. Some other interesting career options include: 

  • Conveyancing technicians: A great starting point for those wanting to get into property law, especially if you don’t already have a law degree. 
  • Probate technicians: Similar to conveyancing technicians but instead focusing on wills and probate.  
  • Legal adviser: Providing advice to magistrates and judges to ensure the law is applied correctly. 
  • Legal secretary: A good starting point for your legal career, supporting the legal work of a firm often through office management tasks. 


If you’re still feeling stuck when trying to find the right role for you, why not reach out to our Student Services Team for some advice? Our friendly team will help you look through your options and decide on the right pathway to reach your career aspirations. To get in contact, please email [email protected] or call 0330 088 8495.  

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