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Moving onto the legal profession

Many of our LLB graduates choose to study law because they wish to enter the legal profession and practice as a solicitor or advocate.

Students in a lecture

The legal profession in Scotland

Students intending to enter the Scottish legal profession must take, in addition to the professionally required LLB courses, the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at a Scottish University. Application for entry to the Diploma is made during the final year of the LLB degree.

Solicitors are legal professionals who provide advice to clients and draft documents, advise on litigation and instruct advocates.

Solicitors work in a wide range of specialisms, including:

  • Corporate
  • Property (domestic and commercial)
  • Family matters
  • Trusts
  • Intellectual property
  • Pensions
  • Commercial transactions

In order to qualify as a solicitor, you need to have completed:

  1. A law degree (including the 'professional' subjects)
  2. A Diploma in Professional Legal Practice
  3. A two year traineeship with a law firm

Solicitors in Scotland are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland, and you should familiarise yourself with the information about qualifying as a solicitor on their website.

Visit the Law Society of Scotland website

Advocates in Scotland appear in court to represent their clients in litigation.

Advocates have 'rights of audience' which entitle them to appear in the higher courts. They perform the same role as barristers in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

The entrance requirements differ from those for the Solicitors' profession. To become an advocate in Scotland, a person must:

  1. Be admitted as an Intrant to the Faculty of Advocates
  2. Satisfy the educational requirements of the Faculty
  3. Satisfy the professional training requirements of the Faculty

Most intrants first qualify as solicitors, before applying to the Bar. In addition, however, the Faculty of Advocates requires intrants to have passed Civil Law and International Private Law. These are not compulsory courses in the LLB, so if you are interested in going to the Bar, you may wish to consider taking these courses.

For more information on advocates and the advocates profession is available from the Faculty of Advocates website.

Visit the Faculty of Advocates website

The Law Society of Scotland website provides essential information for international students thinking about qualifying as a solicitor in Scotland.

Visit the Law Society of Scotland website to find out more

The LLB qualification you will receive at Edinburgh is a qualifying Scottish law degree. If you wish to practise law in another jurisdiction within the UK, or internationally, you would normally need to undertake further years of study in that jurisdiction. Once qualified as a solicitor in Scotland, it can take less than one year to qualify in other jurisdictions.

In addition to the legal profession, in recent years about half of our graduates have entered a wide variety of careers other than law, including:

  • Academia
  • Banking
  • The civil service
  • Accountancy
  • Consultancy
  • International organisations such as the United Nations and European Union

The most recent Destinations of Leavers Education (DLHE) survey data we have is for those who graduated in November 2017:

LLB (Hons)

  • 97% of those available and who responded to the survey were working or studying six months after completion of the programme
  • Of those, 87% were in highly skilled employment or further study
  • Of those working, 65% were in highly skilled employment
  • Of those studying, more than half (54%) went on to take the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice

Graduate LLB

  • 96% of those available and who responded to the survey were working or studying six months after completion of the programme
  • Of those, 92% were in highly skilled employment or further study
  • Of those working, 86% were in highly skilled employment
  • Of those studying, 88% went on to take the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice

The definition of highly skilled employment is any occupation within categories one to three of the Standard Occupational Classification, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The category headings are:

  1. Managers, directors and senior officials
  2. Professional occupations
  3. Associate professionals and technical occupations

Further information on categories can be found on the ONS website.

Visit the ONS website

Further examples of University of Edinburgh Law School destinations can be found on the Careers Service website.

Visit the Careers Service website

The University of Edinburgh's Careers Service plays an essential role in your wider student experience at the University. If offers a range of tailored career and personal development guidance and support.

The Careers Service will support you during your studies and after graduation to help you tap into your talent and build your employability with confidence and enthusiasm.

The Careers Service provides a range of services including:

  • Careers advice
  • CV writing
  • Interview practice
  • Employ.ed internships
  • Career fairs
  • Alumni events

Find out more about the University's Careers Service