The Student Room Group

Lawyers in NGOs

My dad's only ever worked in NGOs his whole life, and ever since I was young I've been inspired to follow in his footsteps an dedicate myself to NGOs.

I'm also really interested in Law and don't want to give that up, what sort of jobs can a lawyer do at NGOs? I'm assuming here that being an in-house lawyer would be one of them, but is this true?

And what sort of training would I need to be one? Would I have to choose the solicitor/barrister path and then do the in-house lawyer training? (I'm under the impression that solicitors become in-house lawyers, is this presumption completely off?)

And am I completely wrong about the in-house lawyer?
Original post by jjo92
My dad's only ever worked in NGOs his whole life, and ever since I was young I've been inspired to follow in his footsteps an dedicate myself to NGOs.

I'm also really interested in Law and don't want to give that up, what sort of jobs can a lawyer do at NGOs? I'm assuming here that being an in-house lawyer would be one of them, but is this true?

And what sort of training would I need to be one? Would I have to choose the solicitor/barrister path and then do the in-house lawyer training? (I'm under the impression that solicitors become in-house lawyers, is this presumption completely off?)

And am I completely wrong about the in-house lawyer?


It is possible to do a training contract with an NGO but such positions are rarely if ever advertised. You need to get into an NGO with a solicitor and then persuade him or her to take on a trainee. Usually you will be lent out to a law firm or local authority to, say, do a 6 months conveyancing.

Alternatively both solicitors and barristers are employed by NGOs. Those positions are usually advertised, poorly paid and ferociously competitive because a lot of left wing lawyers with political ambitions want them.

You need to consider that the National Trust with country estates, lots of shops, legacies, employees and heritage buildings has different legal needs to Amnesty International. They will both have very different needs to a local Law Centre.

The key thing to working in such a role is that there are vast areas of law which commercial law firms do which are of no interest to them and their lawyers normally have to handle a far wider range of work than the average City solicitor handles. Therefore if you train with a large firm it is important to get a breadth of experience in the areas likely to be of some use.
Reply 2
Original post by nulli tertius
It is possible to do a training contract with an NGO but such positions are rarely if ever advertised. You need to get into an NGO with a solicitor and then persuade him or her to take on a trainee. Usually you will be lent out to a law firm or local authority to, say, do a 6 months conveyancing.

Alternatively both solicitors and barristers are employed by NGOs. Those positions are usually advertised, poorly paid and ferociously competitive because a lot of left wing lawyers with political ambitions want them.

You need to consider that the National Trust with country estates, lots of shops, legacies, employees and heritage buildings has different legal needs to Amnesty International. They will both have very different needs to a local Law Centre.

The key thing to working in such a role is that there are vast areas of law which commercial law firms do which are of no interest to them and their lawyers normally have to handle a far wider range of work than the average City solicitor handles. Therefore if you train with a large firm it is important to get a breadth of experience in the areas likely to be of some use.


Yeah, I've been trying to scour some of the job recruitment sites looking for legal jobs in the NGO sector to get an idea of what it'd be like...but, perhaps, it'd be better to go straight to one of the offices and ask them about it.

I guese I'll need to find out exactly what the NGOs want before I do any sort of training or work experience and tailor it to their needs.

Thanks for all of that advice!
Reply 3
Original post by jjo92
My dad's only ever worked in NGOs his whole life, and ever since I was young I've been inspired to follow in his footsteps an dedicate myself to NGOs.

I'm also really interested in Law and don't want to give that up, what sort of jobs can a lawyer do at NGOs? I'm assuming here that being an in-house lawyer would be one of them, but is this true?

And what sort of training would I need to be one? Would I have to choose the solicitor/barrister path and then do the in-house lawyer training? (I'm under the impression that solicitors become in-house lawyers, is this presumption completely off?)

And am I completely wrong about the in-house lawyer?

Hey! Did you ever manage to start working as a lawyer for an NGO?

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