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The most employable and highest paid law degrees

A degree or qualification in law is a prestigious certification but it’s not immediately obvious which law qualification is going to be the one to increase employability. In this article we discuss some of the available law degrees and qualifications, and what to consider when deciding what law program you should pursue, especially if you want to further your career and increase your salary. 

Law degrees and PG law qualifications are an investment

Most employable law degreesSuccessfully gaining a law degree will open many doors, but why is a law degree an investment in your future?

Undergraduate and postgraduate law programs are highly competitive and challenging to gain admission to. Therefore, if you’ve been accepted into a law course, you going to be spending lots of time studying and working on projects and assignments with highly motivated and hardworking peers. This is an excellent opportunity to learn important skills like networking and self-discipline, these will stand you in excellent stead for your future career.

Pursuing a postgraduate law qualification, like the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), is a lifelong professional qualification that allows you the unique opportunity to pursue a career in legal practice. This qualification is now the key route in to becoming a solicitor in the UK, a fulfilling and reliable career choice.

It is undeniable that a law degree is an excellent investment not only in terms of hard skills like ‘paper qualifications’, but also in helping you to develop important soft skills that are useful for a career in law and beyond.


Why do employers value law degrees?

Having a law degree is likely to put your resume at the top of most hiring managers’ shortlist of candidates, even if you’re not applying for a role in the legal field.

Employers value law degrees because they are a testament that a potential employee has certain traits that would make them excellent to work with. Law degrees are famously rigorous. Pursuing a law degree requires numerous hours of deep study of complicated legal concepts, making complex legal analysis and putting forward complex arguments in both written assignments and other activities such as mooting competitions.

The analytical skills and determination that law graduates hone during their studies are transferable and highly valued in practically every job and industry – these are some of the reasons why having a law degree is something that employers tend to view as an asset in an employee, even beyond the legal field.

Most employable law degrees

Why do employers value postgraduate law qualifications?

Postgraduate law qualifications are highly valuable because they indicate that you have specialist knowledge about a particular area of law, such as technology, employment or human rights law to name a few. Knowledge about the law is complex, extensive and frankly never-ending – the reality is that it’s impossible for one person to know every aspect of the law in detail. But if you are in legal practice, a postgraduate law degree equips you with the knowledge to provide insights into a specialism that other lawyers may not be able to do.

A postgraduate law degree is an academic qualification that requires extensive report writing and

keen analytical skills, these abilities coupled with industry-specific expertise are an attractive combination to law firms that take on work that is focused on specific areas of the law.

If you have put time, effort and resources into pursuing and successfully completing a postgraduate qualification in law, it’s a clear signal to employers that you have a keen interest in the field – this is important to employers both in legal practice and beyond.

For example, if you have a postgraduate law qualification and are seeking work at a law firm that specialises in human rights law, then it will be clear that you have a keen interest in this area. This will make you very attractive to the interview panel as you have already demonstrated that you have the knowledge and skillset to enable you to tackle challenging cases.

Similarly, if you are applying for an in-house legal role at a tech giant, having a postgraduate qualification in cyber security law under your belt will demonstrate to the employer that you are truly passionate about using your legal knowledge to address the challenges in the tech industry.

As you can see a postgraduate degree in law is very attractive in the eyes of employers everywhere.

Law degrees and courses that lead to a professional qualification

most employable law degreesUndergraduate and postgraduate law degrees are primarily academic courses. Typically, further study is required after the successful completion of an LLB or LLM degree, to obtain a professional legal qualification. So, to practice as a lawyer you will also need to complete a professional qualification on top of your law degree, this could be the bar exam in the United States or the SQE in England the UK.

Not only can the type of qualification you need to pass to practice law depend on the country you intend to practice in. If your chosen country is the United States, the bar exam can differ from state to state, so you may need to pass a separate qualification for each state you work as a lawyer in.

In the United Kingdom, there are two main routes to obtaining a professional legal qualifications namely the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC). These are both professional qualifications that entail training for theoretical and practical elements of the law. Besides rigorous assessments on key theoretical topics, to successfully obtain these qualifications, one typically has to complete legal training work placements. It is unsurprising that professional legal qualifications are challenging to obtain but will lead to great rewards.

What are the most employable law courses?

A key question on the minds of those considering pursuing a law course is, which law degree is going to give me the best options in the workforce?

There are two broad categories of legal practice that pay the highest salaries in the UK.

1. Legal work pertaining to commercial, corporate or EU law tend to provide higher salaries as they typically involve deals on a larger scale, such as on a national or international level.

2. Working on local cases such as personal injury and family law tend to draw high remuneration as well. In the UK, London-based firms that focus on large-scale commercial or corporate law degrees tend to pay the highest salaries, therefore having specialist knowledge in these fields could be an asset that leads to better pay prospects.

What area of law do you want to work in?

It is important to remember that ultimately the LLB or LLM that could make you the most employable depends on what field of work you want to enter.  For example, if you are interested in commercial law, then an LLM in that subject would probably fetch you a higher salary working as commercial lawyer. It is advisable to choose a law degree that aligns with your career goals to maximise your chances of landing the best-paying role for your interests.

How much do law courses cost?

The cost of law courses can vary extensively depending on whether it is a law degree or a professional legal qualification. The tuition fees will also depend on where you pursue the program.

In the UK the cost of the SQE qualification is approximately £4,000, excluding living costs. However, the cost of postgraduate law degrees can vary from university to university. Here is a summary of the costs of an LLM degree from some popular universities to pursue an LLM in the UK:


Cost of LLM degree

University of Cambridge

Up to £37,500

University of Oxford

Up to £44,240

London School of Economics (LSE)

Up to £34,128

University College London (UCL)

Up to £32,100

Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL)

Up to £27,500


In conclusion

Undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees and qualifications are highly valued by employers and can lead to better employment prospects. However, the ideal law qualification in terms of career prospects and salary is highly dependent on your specific interests and job aspirations. It is important to properly research what courses will help you to further your personal career goals so that you can select the law qualification that maximise your chances of advancing in your field and being professionally fulfilled.


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