How to become an Attorney / Lawyer / Solicitor

Lawyer

Lawyers work with individuals and businesses in regards to legal issues. They will advise people or groups about their legal rights, and support them throughout legal processes, including representing them in court.

If you have excellent debating skills, are good at dealing with people, and are great at research, then being a lawyer might be your perfect career. Working as a lawyer is not for the faint-hearted, but it can be an extremely rewarding role. 

Lawyers work in different fields, including: divorce, criminal, housing and family. Solicitors and barristers are types of lawyer, but they have a specific skill set and extra qualifications.

The duties of being a lawyer include: 

  • Advising clients on different law matters in regards to and issues that the client has or legal matters that they are facing.
  • Representing clients in various court cases and arguing for their case. 
  • Researching areas of law to keep knowledge up to date, as law is constantly changing.
  • Barristers are specialised at representing their clients in court and will often negotiate with the opposing side. 
  • Solicitors are highly trained to give clients legal advice; they will sometimes represent people in court but will generally work in an office role.

Lawyers must keep up to date with current affairs and politics, and keep refreshing their knowledge on the topic to make sure that all of their information is current. They should have very strong debating skills, as well as the ability to keep a cool head in high pressure environments. They must have great communication skills with clients, being able to show them empathy whilst also being firm and realistic about what they can offer.

Requirements for becoming a lawyer start with an undergraduate degree, either in law or another subject. If the degree is in law, candidates can start training as an undergraduate, but if it is in another subject they will need further postgraduate education. Most lawyers take a long time to qualify and train until they are fully qualified, but once a candidate reaches a higher status they will enjoy a prestigious career and generous salary.

What degree is most commonly held by a Lawyer?


  • Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice Law
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Law
  • JD (Juris Doctor) Law
  • Bachelor's Degree Law
  • Doctor of Law (J.D.) Law
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Law
  • LPC Law

Career Transportability across Countries


Lawyers are typically trained in the law of their own country, which means it is difficult to become a lawyer abroad. To take a job as a lawyer in another country, the candidate would typically have to re-train. Therefore, the only real way to work abroad as a lawyer would be to travel there on a student visa and study in the country, or to have a different visa (such as ancestry or marriage) and re-train.

What is the Salary of a Lawyer?

ExperienceAverage salary | year
AU$UK£US$
Junior$49,808£29,000$28,940
Mid-Level1-4 Years$58,789£33,000$33,764
Senior5+ Years$77,569£40,000$46,625
Partner (law firm)5+ Years$142,890£64,000$84,676

What skills are needed to become a Lawyer?


  • Legal Writing
  • Legal Research
  • Litigation
  • Legal Advice
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Legal Assistance
  • Corporate Law
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Courts
  • Mediation
  • Public Speaking
  • Appeals
  • Trials
  • Research
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Arbitration
  • Intellectual Property
  • Microsoft Office
  • Management
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Negotiation
  • Customer Service
  • Leadership
  • Corporate Governance

Lawyer / Attorney Courses

If you are learning how to become a lawyer, there are plenty of courses available on FutureLearn for many different legal niches. Learn about copyright, fraud, human rights, and much more; get an understanding of different areas of law and decide which one you would like to specialise in after becoming a lawyer.

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