Becoming a solicitor or barrister

The Open University LLB (Hons) is professionally recognised as a 'Qualifying Law Degree' in England and Wales. Legal systems in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and continental European countries have separate rules governing professional qualifications.

You must complete three stages of legal training within specified time limits to qualify as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales:

  • the academic stage (law degree; or common professional examination / graduate diploma in law)
  • the vocational stage (Legal Practice Course for solicitors and Bar Professional Training Course for barristers);
  • and the professional stage (training contract for solicitors and pupillage for barristers).

The first stage, the academic stage, has elements common to both sides of the legal profession.

If you are considering qualification as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales, you should make sure that you are familiar with the requirements of the professional bodies, either the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (for solicitors) or the Bar Standards Board (for barristers). Their contact details are given below. They will also be able to provide you with more information about the routes to qualifying as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales.

Student membership of the professional bodies is available whilst you are studying and you should contact the professional bodies directly. 

The Law Society 
Information Services Unit 
Ipsley Court 
B98 0TD 
Telephone 01527 504400 

Bar Standards Board 
289-293 High Holborn London WC1V 7HZ 
DX: 240 LDE 
Tel: 020 7242 0082