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Steps on Becoming a Qualified Lawyer in the UK

As interesting as law can get, it is also a field that is widely known for its varied career paths. If you have yet to know, qualified lawyers can opt to work in a variety of settings and deal with many types of work, handling everything from simple divorce agreements to complex criminal cases.

However, it is important to know that the process for qualifying as a lawyer vary depending on which country you are in. International students in the UK who have dreams in becoming lawyers must be aware of the qualifications and training they will need.

In the UK, there are two types of lawyers:-

  1. Solicitors
  2. Barrister

Here, you can compare the differences of both pathways, and what students need to go through in order to qualify for both roles.


The most common type of lawyer that we always heard of in the UK is a solicitor. According to Solicitors Regulation Authority , there are 149,000 qualified solicitors in UK . Researching cases, writing up contracts and arranging agreements will be within a solicitor’s job scope. If you are attentive to small details and keen on doing in-depth research, doubt no more as the solicitor route is a perfect choice for you.

Before we get there, international students must know in order to becoming a solicitor in the UK, the first step is to obtain either a Bachelor of Law Degree (LLB) or an Undergraduate Degree in another area followed by a one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). The next step is to complete Legal Practice Course (LPC). It is a 10-months course that involves a mix of compulsory subjects and a choice of specialized electives. Once students have completed the LPC, they will need to go through a two-year training period at a law firm before becoming a fully qualified solicitor. Those who have gotten their solicitor qualification in the UK but wish to return to Malaysia can immediately start their career back in Malaysia as Malaysian-qualified solicitor.


Similar to solicitor, the first step to becoming a barrister is to obtain either an LLB or GDL qualification. Next, students are required to complete the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), a one-year program where they learn specialized skills and take a special exam known as the Bar Course Aptitude Test. Even after they passed the exam, they will need to complete a one-year professional training known as ‘Pupilage’ to become fully qualified. Pupilage allows them to assist and learn from qualified barristers in both the court and firm.

Info-graphic of Study Law in UK & Msia

Nonetheless, students must accept the brutal fact that this area is very competitive where it is believed to only have 16,598 qualified barristers as of 2018 in the whole of the UK according to Bar Standards Board UK  , which is about 9 times lesser than the amount of qualified solicitors.

However, if one wish to return to Malaysia to establish his/her career here, a UK-qualified barrister will need to go through another 9-months of pupilage under Malaysian Bar requirements before becoming a fully Malaysian-qualified barrister.

If you are keen to know more, join us for our upcoming law info session that will be held at AECC Global MY on 28th December 2019. University of Law representatives will be there to answer your questions, so ask away!


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