How to become an Attorney / Lawyer / Solicitor


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?

Experience Average salary | year
Junior $49,808 £29,000 $28,940
Mid-Level 1-4 Years $58,789 £33,000 $33,764
Senior 5+ 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
  • Microsoft Office
  • Intellectual Property
  • Negotiation
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Management
  • Customer Service
  • Corporate Governance
  • Leadership

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.
  • Human Rights and International Criminal Law: An Introduction

    Explore the connection between human rights law and international criminal law and reflect on their similarities and differences

  • International Franchise Law: the World is Yours

    Grow your understanding of the practice and law of international franchising and the viability of franchising internationally

  • Maritime Law: an Introduction to Shipping Transactions

    Learn about the transactions behind the shipping industry via this free online course Explore the practicalities of global trade

  • From Crime to Punishment: an Introduction to Criminal Justice

    What is crime How does criminal justice work in England and Wales Find out more by following a case through the system

  • The Modern Judiciary: Who They Are, What They Do and Why it Matters

    Explore the role of judges in the UK and learn about the daily business of judging from common law to judicial diversity

  • Defending Dignity: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    Explore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and learn how it empowers you to know claim and defend your rights

  • Introduction to GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation

    Learn how to handle data in the digital economy safely securely and respectfully

  • Understanding the GDPR

    Get to grips with the General Data Protection Regulation and take the first steps to ensuring that your organisation is compliant

  • Protecting Health Data in the Modern Age: Getting to Grips with the GDPR

    Learn how the GDPR helps to protect health data and get familiar with rightsobligations risks and safeguards

Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?

We partner with over 170 world-class universities, institutions and industry leaders to create world-class courses to help you with your career. Whether you’re just starting out, wanting to deepen your knowledge or change direction, FutureLearn and our partners can help. These are just a few of our world-leading partners.

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