Career Pathways2020-09-30T10:30:35+00:00

Career Pathways

There are many different career paths your Law degree from the University of Sheffield can take you. You may choose to follow a legal career route, or you may decide to pursue other avenues. The School of Law can support you with either route you prefer, and run a variety of careers events to suit different career paths. Plus, there is lots of help available from the Careers Service.

Career Profiles

  • Take a look at the job profile for a barrister.
  • You can find suggested actions for each year of your degree below. It’s important to develop your skills in the early years of your degree through activities such as mooting and marshalling as well as mini-pupillages, in order to be ready for the applications that you will make in the final year of your degree or during the GDL or MA Law.
  • Take a look at the job profile for a solicitor.
  • You can find suggested actions for each year of your degree below. Many law firms offer first year insight days and recruit from the penultimate year of your degree, which is earlier than some other graduate employers, but these suggested actions are not ‘set in stone’. Firms vary enormously and others will recruit later. And if you decide that you want to become a solicitor in your final year you may want to look at the suggested actions for earlier years as well.  
  • Whether you want to work internationally or are an international student looking for work in the UK you’ll find information on international options on the University’s Career Service pages
  • Many UK-based graduate employers, including law firms, are international organisations so one way to work internationally is to train in the UK with a view to gaining international experience with that employer.
  • International organisations offering internships that are of particular interest to law and criminology students include:
  • the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.
  • If you are a citizen of a member state, an EU traineeship or stagiaire see here 
  • Other international agencies such as Interpol 
  • Global Careers Programme – The University has a programme of employers from around the world, delivering a mixture of workshops and presentations throughout the academic year. Some will be available on campus and others online through our pioneering new interactive platform. Sign up through Career Connect 
  • Going Global includes guides for 40 countries around the world. To access the site, register first on a PC within the University intranet. You can then access remotely.
  • More information on international career options can be found here
  • If you would like to consider roles related to law or criminology, take a look at these options 
  • You’re not limited to Law degree-related careers; you can look more broadly at understanding your ambitions and your options here
  • Take the Choose a Career You Love short online course. It’s a good idea to take the course before making an appointment with a University Careers Adviser so you can discuss your results and next steps.
  • The Careers Service offer a wide variety of events, fairs, presentations, networking and skills sessions that can help you find out about career options, develop skills and meet employers. If you’re not sure what career you’d like to pursue, the Careers Service run information sessions around how to find careers that interest you. View the Events Programme.
  • You may also want to consider booking an appointment with a Careers Adviser via Career Connect to explore career options
  • Prospects is a website with a wealth of job information, where you can view job profiles for various different jobs to find out more about what they involve

Pathways for your Year, Course, or Group

First Year

  • Attend the Professional Graduate Fair in October for career ideas and to meet employers. (This will be advertised nearer the time).
  • Register for Career Connect in order to attend the Careers Service’s events programme
  • Take up volunteering opportunities within the University
  • Meet with the Careers Service for a 1-2-1 appointment to consider your options. Book an appointment via Career Connect
  • Apply for summer internships
  • Volunteer for pro bono legal work for Law School schemes. This is a good way of gaining experience and building skills that you can use in any career (e.g communication and team work skills)

Second/Penultimate Year/ MA Law 1st Year

  • Attend the Professional Graduate Fair in October for career ideas and to meet employers. This will be advertised nearer the time.
  • Register for Career Connect in order to attend the Careers Service’s events programme
  • Take up volunteering opportunities within the University
  • Meet with the Careers Service for a 1-2-1 appointment to consider your options. Book an appointment via Career Connect
  • Apply for summer internships
  • Apply for formal vacation schemes in Semester One and, where applicable, early in Semester Two
  • Apply for training contracts throughout the year
  • Websites like lawcareers.net are useful for identifying vacation schemes and training contract opportunities and deadlines.
  • Come to Employability and Skills Initiative (ESI) events that interest you. Come along to ESI employer events – and remember that although some of the information is specific to that firm, much of their advice about how to position yourself and develop your skills will be transferable to other firms that interest you.
  • Mooting gives valuable experience to any student so consider the ESI mooting certificate and student society moots.

Everything as in the first year but also:

  • Apply for mini pupillages
  • Websites like LawCareers or AllAboutLaw are useful for identifying mini pupillage opportunities.
  • The Inns of Court offer awards for students such as the Middle Temple Access to the Bar Awards (which the School can put forward two candidates for each year) and Inner Temple PASS Award that you apply for direct.
  • Keep mooting!

Year Abroad

  • Try to get some work experience while abroad
  • Research careers that interest you. Prospects website has lots of useful information and you can view job profiles to learn more about what specific jobs entail.

Final Year/MA Law 2nd Year

Continue with the activities for first and penultimate years set out above:

  • Apply for summer internships and graduate jobs – timings for these will vary from company to company.
  • Consider further study such as a Masters degree. Check out the Masters courses offered by the School of Law and the wider University

Everything as in the first and penultimate years but also:

  • Keep applying for vacation schemes and training contracts if needed
  • Consider the University of Sheffield’s MA in Legal Practice
  • Come to Employability and Skills Initiative (ESI) events that interest you. Come along to ESI employer events – and remember that although some of the information is specific to that firm, much of their advice about how to position yourself and develop your skills will be transferable to other firms that interest you.  You may wish to take the Commercial Awareness Certificate if you haven’t done so already.
  • In semester two, consider working as a paralegal on graduation; look out for any events in our E&SI programme and the Careers Service’s events programme aimed at graduating students. Check for paralegal or legal assistant vacancies on firms’ websites and sign up with legal recruitment agencies.
  • Mooting gives valuable experience to any student so consider the ESI mooting certificate and student society moots.

Everything as in the first and penultimate years but also:

  • Apply for an Inn of Court Scholarship for the Bar Training Course (BTC). The closing date is the first Friday in November each year but different Inns have different time deadlines so watch this carefully. The Inns have large scholarship funds and our students have done well in achieving scholarships so do apply. See websites for Lincoln’s InnGray’s InnMiddle Temple and Inner Temple
  • Apply for a Bar training course (BTC). Places are competitive and it is vital that you apply in good time in the Autumn. There is no longer a single, centralised form of application as there has been in previous years. Information is available on the Bar Standards Board’s website (link) including a list of approved course providers (here). There are now a variety of approved courses on offer ranging from what would have been a traditional classroom based taught course to part online and part classroom based teaching, though, as with all education provision, the mode of delivery will now need to comply with applicable government health requirements. More details about the courses offered by these organisations, including how to apply, can be found on their websites. The Inns of Court School of Advocacy have also produced a new document to help students understand the changes happening to Bar courses and to support them in evaluating which one might suit best. You can access this document from their website. See our E&SI events on applying for the BTC and Pupillage.
  • Apply for pupillage. Pupillage is the term for the one year workplace training that you require in order to practise as a barrister. All pupillage vacancies must be listed on the Pupillage Gateway but chambers can choose to recruit on or off Gateway. You can apply to as many chambers who recruit off-Gateway as you wish but may only apply to up to 20 chambers through the Gateway. The Gateway opens for browsing from November and for applications from the following January – February. Check the dates carefully as no extensions are permitted.
  • Apply to become a member of an Inn of Court. You MUST be a member of an Inn in order to take up your place on the BTC. Applications should be submitted to the Inn that you have chosen at least 12 weeks prior to the commencement of the vocational part of your Bar Course. Applicants declaring convictions, cautions, academic or professional misconduct or bankruptcy/individual voluntary agreements/director’s disqualification should apply well in advance of this deadline to ensure they have enough time to get through the admissions process.
  • Take the Bar Course Aptitude Test (BCAT). You MUST pass this in order to take up your place on the BTC. Places for the test tend to book up quickly so book early. At present exams are taking place online rather than in a Pearson VUE test centre (details).
  • N.B. All the timings and deadlines above are for guidance but do change so please double check them carefully.

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