Would you recommend law as a career if advising a bright undergraduate?
  • I think I know the general answer.

I had this opportunity to do this the other day

I recommended she look into the alternative options

I would, yes. One of (if not) the finest and most interesting professions in the world.

I do think some people may love the fee-earning side for the potential pay and ground breaking work - but others may find the balance and stability and work-life balance of an in house legal role works better for them.

I think many people hate articling and the first few years, but the same can be true of accountants or medicine and other professions.

Depends. Are they one of those ultra enthusiastic ones who describes law as a “passion”? 


The only area of law that really interested me is Courtroom jury trial advocacy.  

I wouldn't recommend the Criminal Bar to anyone unless they have substantial family wealth or a partner who earns enough to bankroll the both of them.

As for PP - you can earn it in the City, in return for working 14 hours 6 days a week.  But it will destroy your soul and if you've not made partner in 7 years you will be looking to move in-house or to the shires.

Mid tier regional firms are ok.  But the pay is largely unremarkable and I have friends who make more as recruitment consultants in Birmingham.






No I wouldn't. But then they'd go ahead and do it anyway, just like I did when I was warned.

Only if they already have a real interest in the subject. 

  • I nearly bought a gaff in Cheltenham off a medic. 
  • Astonishing what he'd provided for his family there by way of lifestyle. 

Much as it pains me to respond to one of these threads...

Absolutely, I would, based on my own experiences.

Yes, I would recommend law as a potential career to consider. And the term "a career in law" encompasses so many different roles. A career in law isn't for everyone of course.

Being a lawyer still has much to commend it. Working for a law firm, nothing whatsoever. 

Sure. If you have a degree in Modern Languages, Classics, Latin, Theology or something, what else are you going to do.

I would recommend it.

But it would come with a very long and detailed list of assumptions and reservations of course. Like a well drafted legal opinion.

Its better than Big 4 where the monopoly keeps the wages of their professionals much lower than lawyers for longer.

Its probably a bit more flexible than ibanking. And easier to get into and stay in. Though I suspect the culture is generally a bit worse in law now. The sense of endless misery never seems to stop, and some of the stats re lawyers mental health are truly remarkable and horrifying. I think that is mainly because most lawyers dont yet have the imagination or confidence to find a comfortable place in the ecosystem.

Of course in the City it remains tremendously well paid compared to everything else one could do. 

Some sort of entreneurial thing would be the only better option, but that often requires youth or some family money to really go for. Its amazing how many lauded entrepeurs come from pretty comfortable backgrounds where they could afford to gamble the time and money whilst young.

For the rest of us, if academically inclined and in the humanities law remains a fantastic option.


Yeah if they're the straightforward career type. Almost all jobs are boring and I think lawyers often don't really understand how much more law pays than basically everything else.

We are in the age of the battery so advise them to do something related to that.

That means they could still be a lawyer if they really want to.  AI is going to change the legal map so what they are considering now (including pay) won’t be the same in 5 years time.



My instinct is to say no but then there may be a lot of opportunities in a few years that do not exist as yet which could offer job security beyond the average litigation / DD slave. Perhaps get the boring legal qualifications and mandatory training done and then pursue some sort of CS / data science / AI qualification and move into a hybrid space? That’s what I’m considering. 

"I have friends who make more as recruitment consultants in Birmingham." How much are these uncouth Brummies making at the moment?

Outside of LDN law is not that well paid - the average non-partner salary is about £45k.  You can comfortably earn more in a decent sales job.



I had mates who were pulling £75k flogging medical products.  In 2002.  


yes as a graduate - once you get the qualification, law pays more than any other job at that level and as a profession is pretty highly regarded

i would not recommend staying in the legal system as a whole long term though - the whole associate/senior associate/salary partner/EP system is a fvcking nightmare (and imo rewards the wrong things in a way no other business really does)

“as a profession is pretty highly regarded”


it is chips - by non-lawyers and employers

back in the day I used to feel jealous of pilots, who had similar luck in that they had to do fairly straightforward work for good pay

then of course the last six months happened and im glad my firm has an insolvency team

by which I mean it’s more highly regarded than “oh im a chartered accountant” or “actually im a surveyor”

If you are white middle class and well educated the barriers to entry in the legal profession are relatively low. There are few careers similar that pay as well in the first seven years, particularly considering no capital at risk/no entrepreneurial requirements needed. Only investment banking is much better, and you’ve got to flog yourself even harder for that. 

Of course I would. it's a great and varied career with many different paths and kinds of work and income vs lifestyle combinations for people to choose from. 

I think most people on ROF massively overestimate the shyteness of law (because we are living it) and underestimate the shyteness of other jobs. We have it pretty good, believe me - subject to the AJAG principle. 

What I *would* tell them is that law is very competitive and I would be careful not to encourage the dreams of someone who had no chance of getting a TC or pupillage but was determined to be a "lawyer" because he/she has seen Suits (or LA Law in my day)...

sure feebs but then at every dinner party you’d have to introduce yourself by saying “im in sales”

is the money really worth it?


”haha that’s a good one”

I have to work hard on parents who believe LLB is a form of direct entry 

Disgraceful treatment of the gal in that story Phoebe- glad she won.

The truly bright are amazing at maths and should under no circumstances be left alone with a client.

I’ve asked this question of a number of people in high paying jobs, they all say no. It’s not special to law, if you aren’t the business owner (Or within a small group of business owners), it sucks. The stress and money isn’t worth it and you constantly feel like you are sacrificing, often to enable your children to get on the same hamster wheel, having not spent nearly enough time with their parents.

The idea that private practice is a SHIT job whereas in-house is an AWESOME job.


I don’t think law truly qualifies as a shit job but its hassle to money ratio is way high. You have to be a bit of a tede to actively enjoy it. Which kind of tedeing you prefer, PP or IH, just depends on which kind of tede you are.

  • The idea that in-house lawyers are lawyers qualifies effortlessly for the epithet 'risible'.

Interesting.  How do you feel about senior/managing partners at law firms? Presumably they are not lawyers either, given the amount of time they spend herding cats etc...

I keep thinking about this thread

it's funny how you get into a channel in life and can't imagine other ways of living

(I include myself in this - what jobs ARE there)

I think so much depends on your brain too. I mean, I would like to say I would have done computer science but my brain would have been perplexed

herding cats is the very essence of law ffs

I’d like to work in government, for an NGO, or in sport. I think if I did that I’d be ok being a lawyer still.

I would like to say I would have done computer science but my brain would have been perplexed

Should we ask how your goal of teaching yourself to code is coming along? 

I find it quite satisfying in that plink gaemification way but cannot ever imagine it being a job

I can imagine coding as a job. I’d like to but I’d want it to be related to something I value. I’d like to make ninja sports tactics analytical software, and would probably be good at that tbh

Well ain’t that just one of those miracles from a benevolent deity - yet another thing that laz would ‘probably be good at’.

From aardvark taming to Zulu chieftain, the job hasn’t been created that our ginger hero couldn’t do well.

If he ever did it.


If they’re an undergraduate they’re already sort of on the rails depending on what they did at school etc.

The problem with doing stuff like computer science is you inevitably end up in situations/meetings where you’re trying to describe technical issues to non-technical ‘stakeholders’ (bleurgh) saying things like ‘i don’t think we can do that too easily because of X’

’what’s X?’

’well, imagine you’re re-wiring your house and you have an issue where...’ etc

and then the director of operations or someone equally overpromoted and under qualified starts waffling about management theory and you start internally rolling your eyes thinking ‘I know what Lean means you stupid tosser. I’ve been in the same stupid seminars you have. I know the Kaizen stuff. I know the characters and I know how to pronounce it in Chinese too...twat’ and then you just go ‘yeah ok. We can look into it’

i wish I’d done civil engineering then gone into building wind turbines or something.

I agree with Escaping Puppy, 10 Aug 18:07.

NVTL,  it depends on the undergrad's circumstances.

Answers vary:

'Yes', but read the health warnings'.

'Yes', but not legally-aided work, unless you're rich and idealistic

'Yes,' but do something else with your life first. 

'No', you'll be perpetual debt and only the minority work in MC or SC firms and earn 'top dollars'.

'No', stress, long hours, s.t. awful colleagues,poor pay (for most), or stick it out for a couple of years then change career

'No' if you are taking computer science, programming, coding.

'No' just no

'Yes', for the status, if they want to go to the Bar.