The legal profession is consistently recognised as one of the most prestigious fields in the global job market. According to a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment in legal occupations is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations from 2022 to 2032. About 91,700 openings are projected each year, on average in these occupations. The Law Society in the UK released research in October 2023, citing recruitment and retention as one of the challenges faced by small to medium legal businesses in the UK. The UK legal field has the capacity to absorb more labour.
The legal profession encompasses a variety of specialised roles, including:
Lawyers are professionals trained to provide legal advice and representation in court. The title “lawyer” includes licensed legal practitioners such as barristers, solicitors, and legal executives, who have obtained legal qualifications.
Solicitors and Barristers
Solicitors offer legal advice and represent clients in court. They may specialise in numerous fields, such as family law, business disputes, contracts, conveyance, wills, trusts, inheritance and more. Solicitors in England and Wales are represented by the Law Society of England and Wales, while solicitors in Scotland are represented by the Law Society of Scotland.
Barristers typically handle court representation and are often consulted by solicitors seeking expert advice in specific law areas. Their specialities can vary from criminal to civil law. In the UK, barristers are governed by the Barrister’s Association of the respective jurisdiction. In the US, they are equivalent to litigators.
Judges oversee court hearings, ensuring they are conducted fairly and impartially, allowing the jury to make a decision. Judges interpret the law, evaluate the evidence presented, and guide the progression of trials. Both solicitors and barristers can aspire to become judges, with selections made on merit by the Judicial Appointment Commission.
Conveyancers are property lawyers who deal with the legal and financial aspects of selling and buying property or land.
Arbitrators and Mediators
Arbitrators and mediators offer a non-judicial way to resolve disputes, serving as an alternative to court proceedings. Being neutral and often experts in the subject of the dispute, arbitrators and mediators ensure both sides are heard before reaching a decision.
Paralegals support lawyers in various duties, from carrying out legal research to preparing legal documents, maintaining records, communicating with clients, and handling routine tasks during a case. Typically, they have a degree or certificate in paralegal studies, and like lawyers, they may specialise in different law areas such as family or corporate.
Chartered legal executives work within legal firms or might later be qualified as a solicitor through further training. Similar to solicitors and barristers, legal executives may specialise in a particular area of law.
Legal secretaries provide administrative and clerical support to courts and legal professionals in law firms or legal departments in corporations. Their daily duties usually include typing and filing legal documents, scheduling, audio typing from dictation, transcribing interviews, handling correspondence, and performing basic office functions like scanning, faxing and photocopying.
If you are interested in the legal profession and wish to explore academic and career development routes, our Law School and Career Advisory can help prepare you for a successful start. Please email email@example.com to book a free trial consultation.
Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Law Society UK, Slate Gordon Lawyers, Lawyers HG.org
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