Law work experience in year 12 is crucial for aspiring legal professionals. It offers a realistic glimpse into the legal world, allowing you to observe the law in action, interact with professionals and start thinking about your own career path. Check out our article for a comprehensive guide on gaining valuable law work experience in the UK.

What is Law Work Experience in Year 12?

Law work experience in year 12 can be a valuable way for students to explore and understand the different aspects of the legal profession. This experience can include internships at law firms, as well as observing legal proceedings firsthand. By providing a practical glimpse into the inner workings of the legal industry, this experience can help students build a solid foundation for their future legal aspirations.

Law Work Experience Year 12 List of Cities Infographic

Types of Law Work Experience for Year 12 Students

For year 12 students, gaining work experience in the legal field is not just about observing; it’s about immersing oneself in the diverse world of law. From prestigious law firm placements to dynamic court visits and innovative online experiences, each type of work experience offers unique insights and invaluable exposure.

  • Law Firm Work Experience and Placements
  • Chambers Law Work Experience Year 12
  • Diversity and Inclusion Schemes
  • Court Visits
  • Online Experiences
  • Volunteering
  • Work Experience with Pathways to Law

Law Firm Work Experience and Placements

Law firm work experience for year 12 students has evolved significantly, with more firms offering structured placements. These opportunities range from short-term internships to comprehensive work placements. They often include participating in workshops, shadowing professionals, and gaining insights into the daily workings of a law firm.

Check out our training contract deadlines calendar to know exactly when to apply.

Not many law firms offer formal placements for year 12 students. However, this is changing, and more and more placements are being created by international and national law firms. Companies are starting to recognize that they can scout and monitor talent early on. These work experience placements often have a multi-step application process; some even have GCSEs or equivalent grade requirements.

How to Find Year Law Work Experience in Year 12 Flowchart

List of Law Work Experience Year 12 at Law Firm

  • BCLP – the firm runs the Career Kick Start Work Experience Programme, which spans over two weeks.
  • Burges Salmon – this Bristol-based firm hosts the Bright Sparks Programme which is week-long and has between 24 to 28 placements each summer.
  • Eversheds Sutherland – the firm hosts its Unlocked work placement programme over three days.
  • Pinsent Masons – provides a four-day long programme that provides you with employability tips alongside the legal experience.
  • Thomson Snell & Passmore – the firm provides week-long placements every summer in its Tunbridge Wells office.
  • Womble Bond Dickinson – this international law firm offers a variety of different work placements.

Chambers Law Work Experience Year 12

For those considering a career as a barrister, chambers work experience provides a unique perspective. These internships usually last from two days to a week and involve tasks like legal research, assisting in event preparations, and courtroom observation. Undertaking such work experience may provide you with better chances of securing a pupillage or a mini-pupillage.

List of Year 12 Chambers Work Experience

  • Matrix Chambers – provides a work placement that is centred around legal and administrative tasks.
  • Old Square Chambers – offers a work placement that offers an insight into barristers’ work.
  • Landmark Chambers – offers a work experience programme designed to help students discover more about life in a barristers’ Chambers.
  • Radcliffe Chambers – partners with Big Voice London on a two-day legal work experience programme for Year 12 students, particularly targeting those from state schools and eligible for free school meals.

Diversity and Inclusion Schemes

Diversity and inclusion schemes in the legal industry aim to widen access to the profession. These schemes are targeted towards students from diverse backgrounds and offer unique opportunities in the legal field. There are a variety of diversity and inclusion schemes that are run by various companies in the legal industry.

Court Visits

Visiting local magistrates courts can provide aspiring law students with a deeper understanding of how the law works in practice. This is because some court proceedings are open to public viewing, which can give you insights into the roles of barristers and judges. It can be very beneficial for you to observe court proceedings if you want to pursue a career in law.

How to Find Courts

Online Experiences 

It is important to note that while many year 12 work placements require an extensive application process, there are some that have a quite short application process. If you are interested in finding virtual internships that are easily accessible, then Forage is a great option. Forage offers a variety of virtual simulation internships from different firms, which are open to all and do not require extensive legal knowledge. These internships can be completed at your own pace, making them a great option for busy students. Some firms offer online vacation schemes – take a look at our vacation scheme deadlines calendar.

List of Online Experience for Year 12 Students

  • Forage – this virtual internship platform is used by numerous law firms to provide free and easy-to-access work experience. For many students, these virtual experience placements offer great opportunities to develop their commercial awareness.


Volunteering with local legal clinics or law firms is a great way to gain hands-on experience and contribute to community legal services. You can get in touch with local legal clinics, which specialise in pro bono or legal aid work, to ask if they want some extra help and volunteer with them. Some firms may also be open to allowing you to shadow lawyers during your school holidays. Contacting them directly is your best bet.

List of Volunteering Opportunities for Year 12 Students

  • Local firms
  • Community law clinics
  • University law clinics
  • Legal charities
  • Mentoring schemes

Work Experience with Pathways to Law

Created by The Sutton Trust, Pathways to Law, is a national legal access scheme that is operated by universities. The programme is run over two years and allows students to attend lectures, seminars, mock tricks, and even take part in guidance sessions.

It is important to note that Pathways to Law is not a standalone work placement program. However, students who participate in it are able to apply for placements with partnering London firms during summer holidays and sometimes spring holidays.

Law Work Experience Year 12 in Different Cities

Finding law work experience can be difficult. Below you will find some examples of experience that you can get in different cities of England.


Leading law firms in London often offer structured internships and work experience programs. These include opportunities in both large international firms and boutique practices, providing a diverse range of experiences in various legal fields. Below is a list of law work experience for year 12 in London:


Manchester’s dynamic legal scene offers placements in commercial law, human rights law, and more. Students can find opportunities in both traditional law firms and innovative legal start-ups. Below is a list of law work experience for year 12 in Manchester:


Known for its vibrant legal community, Bristol provides a range of work experience options in areas like environmental law, corporate law, and public sector legal services.Below is a list of law work experience for year 12 in Bristol:


Leeds, with its robust legal market, offers placements in sectors such as financial services law, commercial litigation, and property law. Students can gain experience in both large firms and specialized local practices. Below is a list of law work experience for year 12 in Leeds:


Birmingham’s legal landscape includes opportunities in criminal law, family law, and more, with a mix of large, nationally recognized firms and smaller, community-focused practices.Below is a list of law work experience for year 12 in Birmingham:


Liverpool presents diverse legal work experiences in maritime law, sports law, and other unique areas, reflecting the city’s rich history and modern legal needs. Below is a list of law work experience for year 12 in Liverpool:

Requirements for Year 12 Work Experience

The requirements will largely depend on which type of internship programme you are applying to. Generally, students will have to be:

  • In year 12
  • Have an interest in a career in law
  • A GCSE grade requirement – usually anywhere between 5.0 and 5.5
  • Watson Glaser Test – depending on the company

Some diversity and inclusion schemes will have additional requirements. For example, PRIME applicants have to fulfil one or more of the following criteria:

  • Be eligible for free school meals in the last six years
  • Be attending a state school or college
  • Be the first in the household to attend university
  • A full-time or part-time carer
  • Have been, or currently in local authority care
  • A refugee who came to the UK for asylum

Why You Should Do a Year 12 Work Experience?

Acquiring legal work experience in year 11 or year 12 can help you with applications for apprenticeships, universities, and jobs. It will also help you better comprehend the areas of law that are interested in and which path you may like better, e.g., solicitor or barrister. However, most importantly, you will gain insights into what it is like to work in the legal sector. It will allow you to potentially make a life-changing decision, whether you’d like to pursue an education and a career in law.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about year 12 law work experience.

How do I get work experience in a law firm in the UK?

To get work experience in a law firm in the UK, start by researching law firms that offer work experience or vacation schemes. These are typically formal programmes designed for students and can be competitive. You should:

  1. Check law firm websites for information on work experience programmes and application processes.
  2. Look for vacation schemes, which are short-term placements offered by many firms, particularly larger ones.
  3. Contact smaller, local law firms directly to inquire about informal work experience opportunities.
  4. Use resources like university careers services, law career websites, and legal profession networks for information and advice.
  5. Prepare a strong CV and cover letter tailored to each application.
  6. Be ready for interviews and possibly assessment days, especially for vacation schemes in larger firms.

What law firms offer work experience in the UK?

Many law firms in the UK offer work experience or vacation schemes, including:

  • Magic Circle firms like Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, and Slaughter and May.
  • Large international firms such as Baker McKenzie, Norton Rose Fulbright, and DLA Piper.
  • National and regional firms like Pinsent Masons, Irwin Mitchell, and Shoosmiths.
  • Boutique and specialist firms in various legal fields.
  • Local high-street firms, which might offer more informal work experience opportunities.

How hard is it to get into a Magic Circle law firm?

Gaining a position at a Magic Circle law firm is highly competitive due to their prestigious status, high-quality training, and the career opportunities they offer. Applicants need:

  • Excellent academic records, typically including high grades at A-level and a strong degree from a reputable university.
  • Strong legal work experience, such as vacation schemes or mini-pupillages.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills, as demonstrated in interviews and assessment centres.
  • A clear understanding of the firm’s work and culture, and a compelling reason for wanting to work there.
  • The ability to perform well in tasks such as case studies, group exercises, and written assessments during the selection process.

What is the best work experience for law school?

The best work experience for law school includes activities that develop skills relevant to a legal career, such as analysis, research, writing, and communication. This can include:

  • Legal work experience, such as vacation schemes, mini-pupillages, or placements in law firms or barristers’ chambers.
  • Volunteering in legal or advocacy settings, like Citizens Advice or pro bono clinics.
  • Non-legal work that develops transferable skills, such as teamwork, leadership, or customer service roles.
  • Participation in university law societies, mooting competitions, or debate clubs.
  • Internships or work in relevant industries, particularly if you are interested in a specific area of law like corporate, environmental, or technology law.