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Solicitor

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Solicitors give legal advice to clients on issues such as conveyancing (buying and selling property), civil and criminal court actions, drawing up wills, family law (divorce, child custody and support) and some financial matters. Clients may be individuals or organisations.

The Work

You could be:

Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:

The Law Society of Scotland sets the minimum rates for trainees. Currently, the recommended starting salary for trainees is £18,000 for the first year of training.

Newly qualified solicitors may earn around £25,000 to £38,000 a year, rising to around £55,000 with experience. Salaries for higher earners are sometimes over £100,000 a year. For criminal solicitors much of the income comes from Legal Aid.

Trained lawyers working for the Government Legal Service for Scotland (GLSS) can earn £46,889 a year, rising to around £55,828 a year with experience.

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

Foundation Stage

First Stage

Second Stage

Many Solicitors work in private practice. Some practices are large, with specialised departments. Others are small and individual solicitors may deal with a wider range of cases. There is often a division between solicitors who do court-related cases (matrimonial, criminal and civil) and those who deal with non-disputed cases (conveyancing, tax, trust work, company work).

Outside private practice, solicitors work in business, commercial and public bodies. Others work in non-profit-making Law Centres based in disadvantaged areas. They offer free legal advice on issues such as welfare rights, tenants’ rights, homelessness, juvenile crime and equal opportunities.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

Unemployment

Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2018
9618
2.4 %
RISE
2023
9846
  United Kingdom
2018
121758
0.9 %
RISE
2023
122809

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What Does it Take?

You need to be:

You need to have:

Training

Getting On

More Information

For the session 2018/19, eligible full and part time students studying the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (PEAT 1) can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. You start repaying the loan once you are earning more than £18,330.

In addition, eligible full time students can apply for a living cost loan of up to £4,500. Repayment conditions are the same as for the tuition fee loan. See the Student Awards Agency Scotland website for full details.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is a publicly funded organisation that is responsible for assessing if there is enough evidence to take legal action against someone who is suspected of committing a crime. They then present the case against those who are taken to court. They also investigate all sudden and unexpected deaths. They employ around 1700 staff, with around 500 of those being solicitors. See the job profile for Procurator Fiscal

Another potential source of employment for law graduates is the Government Legal Service for Scotland (GLSS). GLSS is a community of lawyers working in Scottish Government. They usually recruit around five or six trainees each year.

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Government Legal Service for Scotland (GLSS)
Tel: 0131 244 0815
E-mail: GLSSenquiries@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Website: https://beta.gov.scot/groups/government-legal-service-for-scotland/

The GLSS recruits around five to six trainees each year. For more information see the Traineeships section of their website. Traineeships are usually advertised on the Scottish Government Work for Scotland website at the end of September each year.

Law Society of Scotland
Tel: 0131 226 7411
E-mail: lawscot@lawscot.org.uk
Website: http://www.lawscot.org.uk/
Website (2): http://www.lawscotjobs.co.uk
Twitter: @lawscotjobs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLawSocietyofScotland

Lawscot Jobs is the recruitment website from the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland.

Skills for Justice
Tel: 0117 922 1155
Website: http://www.sfjuk.com/
Twitter: @Skills_Justice
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skillsforjustice

Skills for Justice is the Sector Skills Council for the Justice, Community Safety and Legal Services Sectors. The careers section of their website holds information on the careers within these sectors.

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