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BA Law

Students in Law at Cambridge

If you are thinking that you might wish to pursue a career as a lawyer in England and Wales, whether a solicitor or a barrister, at present there are two different ways of getting the necessary qualifications. One is to study Law at University, typically for three years, to gain a ‘qualifying law degree’ and then take the relevant vocational course. The other route is to study any subject at University other than Law, then do a one-year Law conversion course and finally complete the relevant vocational course to become a solicitor or a barrister.

Please note that the framework for qualification for practice as a solicitor in England and Wales will be changing as of September 2021, subject to final approval by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This new framework would replace the academic and vocational training requirements currently in place, and will affect you if you are beginning your Law degree in or after the academic year 2021-22. Please visit our page on the qualifying law degree for more information.

Many people who study Law at University do so because they want to become practising lawyers. However, studying Law at University is a legitimate subject for academic study even if you definitely do not want to become a lawyer, or think that you may not become a practising lawyer. That is because the study of Law at University is not a vocational subject; it is an academic subject and an intellectual discipline.

Students don’t study law in a bubble; they engage with big philosophical and ethical issues Graham Virgo, Professor of English Private Law

For those considering either situation, the Faculty has produced additional information explaining the benefits of studying an academic Law degree for those students wishing to enter the legal professions, and the benefits of studying an academic Law degree for those students who are not sure they wish to enter the legal professions:

The value of a Law Degree was the subject of a debate between Professor Graham Virgo and Lord Jonathan Sumption (Justice of the Supreme Court).