A Change of Career

Advice from the BPP on entering the legal profession.
A career as a solicitor or barrister can
be started at any stage of life.

Many police officers have made the move to
become a lawyer - their first-hand experiences of dealing with the law, the court system and preparing cases are all relevant and transferable skills.

Becoming a Solicitor

To become a solicitor in England and Wales
there are many different study routes. If you have a law degree from England or Wales you should do the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

Those with a non-law degree will need to
study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
(law conversion course), before going on to complete the LPC.

If you don't have a degree there are still
ways in which you can qualify. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will look at your level of experience (usually management experience) and if it meets their criteria, will offer you a Certificate of Academic Standing
(COAS) which can be used to gain admission
to the GDL.

To do the LPC you first need to become a
member of the Law Society. Once you have
gained your LPC and to qualify as a solicitor, you need to complete a two year training contract with a law firm.

Becoming a Barrister

There are many routes to becoming a barrister in England and Wales. If you have a law degree you should do the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) to become a barrister.

If you have a non-law degree you will need to convert to law by studying the GDL first. If you do not have a degree the Bar Standards Board will assess your work experience in order to issue you with a COAS.

To do the BVC programme you need to join an Inn of Court first. After completing your BVC and to qualify as a barrister, you need to complete a one year pupillage.
The GDL, LPC and BVC can be studied at
law schools, such as BPP Law School, which
offers the highest number of part-time
options of any leading provider which gives you the flexibility to study to become a lawyer whilst working.


Studying for a career in law can be expensive, but there are many funding avenues. Inns of Court offer some scholarships for the BVC or
if you are able to secure a training contract, your law firm may be able to sponsor you through the LPC (and often the GDL as well).

Some law schools also award scholarships.
• BPP Law School prides itself on giving its students the support they need to pursue their legal careers. For more information on BPP Law School, its programmes and scholarships please visit:


Return to Training menu