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Alternative careers in and around the law

There are some 10,100 firms currently in private practice in England and Wales, and around 12,400 self-employed barristers (15,400 including employed barristers). These two areas provide a home for the vast majority of lawyers in the United Kingdom. But not everyone who successfully completes the academic stages decides to go into private practice. Many go on to work as lawyers in other organisations (in-house lawyers) or for any number of other organisations that employ legal services. Others utilise the skills that they have learned during their training without actually practising as a lawyer. It isn't just the Tony Blairs of this world who start out with legal training and end up with what, on the surface, seems like a completely different job. Legal training is a valuable commodity outside the world of solicitors and barristers. Many employers will value the skills that you have learned along the way, which include: the ability to research, collect and analyse large amounts of information; to weigh-up points and counter points; and to create a logical argument and reasoned conclusion from a set of facts. The ability to communicate clearly with the public and the profession alike is another sought-after skill. Discretion, the ability to handle and work under pressure, and a first-class memory are all attributes that are valued in the general career market. The links on the left give an idea of the different options available for those with legal training. The main links you see are for opportunities to still practise as a lawyer, but not within private practice. There are also links to law-related jobs (eg, paralegal, outdoor clerk and legal executive) and non-law-related jobs (eg, civil servant, academic or coroner).