Skip to main content

Lawyer Job Description

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 2 Oct 2023

Lawyer job description

  • Within this Lawyer job description, we will dive into commonly asked questions about the role of a Lawyer, including: ‘what does a Lawyer do?’, and ‘how much does a Lawyer earn?’, discovering the requirements and rewards of Lawyer jobs in further detail.

  • What is a Lawyer?

    Lawyers are trained and qualified legal practitioners, providing legal advice and representation to individuals, businesses, and organisations UK-wide. They may guide and offer advocacy during court hearings, collecting facts and evidence via collaboration with clients, reviewing documents and filing pleadings in court. The role of a Lawyer is undoubtedly diverse, with the law governing each aspect of daily life within UK society. These legal professionals include Solicitors, Barristers and In-House Counsel, also known as Legal Counsel, In-House Legal Counsel and In-House Lawyers.

    As denoted in our Solicitor Job Description, Solicitors are legal professionals who primarily provide advice to clients, draft legal documents, and handle various legal matters, including contracts, property transactions, wills, and family law cases. They also often act as the first point of contact for clients seeking legal assistance. Solicitors may work in law firms or as in-house counsel for companies.

    Barristers, by contrast, are Lawyers who specialise in advocacy and represent clients in court, including trial. They are typically instructed by Solicitors to provide expert legal representation in complex legal matters. Barristers also offer legal opinions and advice on matters that require specialist knowledge and may be involved in drafting legal documents related to court proceedings. Both solicitors and barristers are regulated by professional bodies in the UK, such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for solicitors and the Bar Standards Board (BSB) for barristers.

    In-House Counsel, as clarified in our dedicated In-House Counsel Job Description article, carry out legal work directly for their employer, as opposed to law firm or Private Practice Lawyers who represent their firm by working on behalf of multiple clients.

  • What does a Lawyer do?

    The remit of a Lawyer covers an expansive range of roles and responsibilities, depending on your chosen practice area, experience level, position as an In-House Counsel or Private Practice Lawyer, and Jurisdiction. As a basis, Lawyers focus on:

     Legal Advice: offering legal counsel and guidance, helping clients understand their rights and responsibilities under the law, advising on potential courses of action in legal matters.
     Representation: representing clients in various legal proceedings, such as court hearings, negotiations, and mediations - advocating for their clients' interests and presenting their cases effectively.
     Document Drafting: drafting and reviewing legal documents, including contracts, wills, trusts, deeds, and agreements - ensuring that these documents comply with applicable laws and protect their clients' rights and interests.
     Research: conducting legal research to analyse case law, statutes, regulations, and precedents relevant to their clients' cases, helping them build strong arguments and provide informed advice.
     Litigation: those in Litigator jobs handle lawsuits and court proceedings. They prepare and present cases in court, examine witnesses, and argue on behalf of their clients to achieve desired outcomes.
     Negotiation: engaging in negotiations with opposing parties to reach settlements or agreements outside of court. Negotiation skills are crucial in resolving disputes and achieving favourable terms for clients.
     Advocacy: Lawyers may advocate for changes in laws, regulations, or policies that affect their clients or society as a whole. This may involve lobbying or participation in legal reform efforts.
     Corporate Counsel: In-House Lawyers provide legal advice to businesses and organisations - ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, handling contracts, and addressing legal issues specific to the company's operations.
     Ethical Guidance: adhering to ethical standards and professional conduct rules - responsible for maintaining client confidentiality and upholding the law's integrity.
     Client Representation: acting as their clients' advocates and advisors, working in their best interests while upholding the law and the legal system's principles.

    Further niche duties come into play when looking at specific specialist practice areas, such as criminal law, family law, construction law, environmental law, immigration law, and more. These specialties require in-depth knowledge of the relevant legal principles.

    • A Criminal Lawyer Job Description would entail prosecuting or defending someone accused of a criminal offence. Criminal Lawyers are required to act in a neutral, impartial manner to ensure that the legal rights of those prosecuted are upheld and that they receive fair treatment against the conduct of the law. Criminal Lawyers focus on criminal defence, criminal duty, and criminal prosecution.
    • Working in Family Law, often known as matrimonial law, will see you focus on matters of divorce, child contact and adoption, and financial settlements. Just like any other specialist practice area, you will have to conduct a training contract at a specialist family practice or with a family law team in a multi-service firm, to qualify as a Family Lawyer. Discover more in our Family Lawyer Job Description.
    • Some practice areas are easier to transfer into than others. Construction law is a prime example - a branch of law that deals with all the legal, contractual, regulatory, and transactional issues and procedures related to construction, infrastructure, and engineering. As clarified in our Construction Job Description, Construction Lawyers work in the remit of various areas of law, such as contract law, commercial law, property law and dispute resolution, offering a swift transition from one practice area to another.

  • How to become a Lawyer:

    To work as a Lawyer in the UK, individuals must complete a law degree (LLB) or a conversion course if they hold a degree in another field, followed by the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for aspiring Solicitors or the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for those aiming to become Barristers. After completing these courses, individuals must undertake a period of practical training, either as a Trainee Solicitor or as a Pupil Barrister, before they can be fully qualified and admitted to their respective professional bodies.

    It's important to note that the legal profession in the UK is distinct from that in other countries, and the roles and qualifications of lawyers can vary considerably from one jurisdiction to another.

  • How much does a Lawyer earn?

    According to our latest Salary Survey, Lawyers earn around £60,257 on average per annum. This statistic will naturally adhere to factors such as location, type of organisation and practice area. Our insight survey dives into the intricate details of each practice area - detailing that pay rose across almost every practice area from 2022, resulting in IT/Telecoms becoming the highest-paying sector, boasting an average salary of £98,667, followed by Energy/Environmental with a median earning of £78,952.