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What percentage of solicitors and barristers in Ireland do not have law degrees?

  • 23-07-2022 7:48pm
    Posts: 0

    Obviously they all have their professional qualifications, and I presume many (all?) did some sort of legal diploma before taking the FE1s or the barrister-at-law exams. But does anybody know what percentage of each group never did a full law degree? I know loads of people who did law degrees but went straight into business or something else, and many others who did history and English degrees and became solicitors or barristers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,149 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer

    What do mean by solicitors and barristers? There are many individuals who are qualified as either a solicitor or barrister but do not work as either a solicitor or barrister. There are qualified solicitors and barristers who do not have a degree at all. There are in-house solicitors and barrister and academic solicitors and barrister and there are solicitors and barristers in active practice. Before you can get a percentage you have to specify what categories are included.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Of the qualified solicitors and barristers, what percentage do not have law degrees? Surely there is a record of this when they pass the relevant qualifications for each profession. Somebody was saying to me that most solicitors had law degrees, and I'm wondering is that still actually true.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Count Dracula

    It is irrelevant really. You are entitled to exemptions in Blackhall or Kings Inn if you have a Law degree, please check fully for specifics.

    Otherwise you do not need a Law Degree prior to studying to be a barrister or a solicitor. They are not the same profession either, look it up, if you are going to succeed in either you will be spending the rest of your working days looking things up.

    It would not be uncommon for many barristers or solicitors to have a Law Degree, but it is by no means a necessity, at all.

  • Administrators, Entertainment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,707 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭hullaballoo

    Barristers are required to have either a recognised law degree, which is one of a list of specified law degrees that is published on the King's Inns website before commencing the Barrister-at-law degree course, or, to complete a 2 year diploma in legal studies at the King's Inns itself. In addition, there are entrance exams for all applicants to the degree course - 5 law exams in 5 days in August prior to entry. Essentially there is a requirement for barristers to have had some legal education prior to the education they get in the barrister degree course, which for what it's worth is not really about law but procedure.

    Solicitors don't have to have a law degree or (afaik) any kind of undergraduate degree. If seeking to be a solicitor with no undergrad, there is an additional preliminary exam. Then there are the FE1s. It is well documented on this forum how difficult the FE1s are. They are 8 exams on the substantive law and there are all kinds of rules around how many times they can be sit and by whom. It's all on the Law Society website. After that, there's a professional practice course followed by traineeship prior to qualification.

    Essentially what all of this means is that both professions require an element of legal education, formal or informal, before entry into the profession. On the other hand there is no absolute requirement for a law degree for either. In some ways having a non-law undergrad or other background can be beneficial as a lawyer. What is required is a minimum (high) standard of legal knowledge prior to entry into either profession.

    I don't think anyone inside or outside the professions knows or cares how many or what percentage do or do not have law degrees as it's a complete irrelevance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,149 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer

    A solicitor can qualify without a degree and transfer to being a barrister. there was a solicitor who became a judge, from Sligo who never attended secondary school, let alone had a degree.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,015 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    There are no "exemptions" for King's Inns. There are merely requirements to sit for the entrance exam for the BL which everyone has to take.

    You can satisfy those requirements via having a degree or postgraduate diploma qualification from the approved list. Their own Diploma in Legal Studies is defined as a postgraduate diploma for the purpose of the entrance exam (despite itself being open to non-graduates)