Qualifying for Legal Practice

Qualifying for Legal Practice

Please note: the following information is intended as a guide only and is subject to change. Students interested in pursuing the following careers are advised strongly to contact the appropriate bodies to verify and obtain further up to date information. Students are also advised strongly to follow developments in relation to the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011, which may bring significant changes in the near future.  This is not an exhaustive list.


Irish Legal Practice


The Law Society is the educational, representative and regulatory body of the solicitors' profession inIreland.

While there are no subject-specific pre-requisites to gain entry to the Law Society’s solicitor training course, graduates who wish to qualify as a solicitor must first pass an entrance examination, also known as the Final Examination - First Part (FE-1).

This examination is held twice a year, normally in April and October. It consists of the following eight papers:

  • Company Law

  • Constitutional Law

  • Law of Contract

  • Criminal Law

  • European Union Law 

  • Equity

  • Real Property

  • Law of Tort

Once a candidate has obtained an undergraduate degree, they can apply to the Law Society for the forms necessary to take these examinations. A candidate has five years from the date of their degree to apply for the entrance exam.

The solicitor training course also requires a candidate to:

  • Secure a training contract

  • Attend the Professional Practice Course I and pass the course examinations. This course and examination period takes place over 4 months (max)

  • Spend a period of 11 months as a trainee solicitor in the training solicitor's office.

  • Attend the Professional Practice Course II and pass the course examinations; this takes another 3 months

  • Serve 6 more months in the training solicitor’s office following successful completion of the Professional Practice Course II

The process takes 24 months in total.

For further information on qualifying as a solicitor please contact The Law Society of Ireland, 
Blackhall Place, Dublin 7; http://www.lawsociety.ie



Graduates (with approved law degrees) who would like to practise as a barrister must complete the Barrister-at-Law degree course in the Honorable Society of the King’s Inns. Applicants for this degree must first have passed certain ‘core subjects’ in their law degrees and must pass an entrance examination.

To be eligible to apply for Kings Inns, students must have passed the following subjects during their degree:

  • Land Law (including Law of Succession) = UCC Law of Property I (LW2249) and Law of Property II (LW2250)

  • Equity = UCC Law of Equity: Doctrines and Remedies (LW3303) and Law of Equity: Trusts (LW3305)

  • Administration Law = UCC Administrative Law: Grounds of Judicial Review (LW2264)

  • Company Law = UCC Company Law: Fundamental Concepts and Doctrines (LW3345) and Company Law: Finance, Management and Insolvency (LW3346)

  • Law of the European Union = UCC Constitutional and Institutional Law of the European Union (LW1112) and Economic Law of the European Union (LW2204)

  • Jurisprudence = UCC Jurisprudence (LW3367)

King’s Inns will also require entrants to sit and pass an entrance examination involving the following five subjects: 

  • Law of Contract

  • Criminal Law

  • Irish Constitutional Law

  • Law of Torts

  • Law of Evidence

Final year Law and Language students must take up to 40 credits of law modules in order to meet the requirements for Kings Inns. For details of module choices please see http://www.ucc.ie/academic/calendar/law/index.html

King’s Inns agree to accept jurisprudence/philosophy of law subjects studied as part of the year Law and French abroad for entry purposes.  A sentence to this effect must be shown on your academic transcript.  If you wish to apply to King’s Inns please contact the Law FacultyOffice with regard to informing Exams Records to request a transcript with the relevant information included.  Law and French students wishing to study at Kings Inn should discuss their module choices with Dr Bénédicte Sage-Fuller at b.sage@ucc.ie Tel: (021) 490 3812 or the Law Faculty Office at lawschool@ucc.ie Tel: (021) 490 3249.

On successful completion of the course, students are admitted to the degree of Barrister-at-Law).  One must then commence pupillage (‘devilling’) with a qualified barrister for a year in Dublin. This is similar to an apprenticeship where a junior barrister learns by shadowing a more senior member of the profession. It is the responsibility of the newly qualified barrister to secure a master. On completion of the first year, if a barrister wishes to practice on circuit outside Dublin, he or she must undertake further pupillage for another year with a master who practices on that circuit. It is often the case that barristers who wish to practice in Dublin will also undertake pupillage for a second year, perhaps in a different area of practice. All members of the Law Library are independent contractors and the period spent as a pupil is unpaid.

For further information relating to entry requirements, examinations, and details on becoming a Barrister-at-Law, students should contact The Honorable Society of the King’s Inns, Henrietta Street, Dublin 1. http://www.kingsinns.ie 

Telephone (01) 874 4840; Fax (01) 872 6038; Email: info@kingsinns.ie

For information on practising at the Bar consult the Bar Council of Ireland, Four Courts, Dublin 7www.lawlibrary.ie. Telephone: (0 1) 817 5000, Fax:  (01) 872 0455, Email: barcouncil@lawlibrary.ie.



Legal Practice in England and Wales

Legal Practice in England and Wales

Students who wish to train as a solicitor in England and Wales must apply to one of the Colleges offering a Legal Practice Course (LPC). For Legal Practice Course providers see http://www.sra.org.uk/students/courses/lpc-course-providers.page

Each LPC/CPE course provider will adjudicate to what extent your law degree will receive exemptions.  There is no longer central approval of Irish law degrees by the Solicitors Reculation Authority (SRA).

If you decide to have your degree recognised in England and Wales, you will be requested to show evidence that you meet the legal education requirements of the SRA, in other words, you need to show “equivalent means”:

“Equivalent means”

Regulation 2.2 of the Training Regulations 2014 allows us to recognise that the knowledge and skills outcomes (and the standard at which they must be acquired) may have been achieved by an individual through other assessed learning and work based learning. Where this is the case, we may grant exemption from all or part of the academic or vocational stages.”


In order to satisfy this test and gain exemptions for some or all of the areas of law, you may be required to present any or all of the following:

  • Original degree parchment
  • Original transcript of results
  • *Module descriptors for the modules you are presenting for assessment correct for the year you studied them (i.e. it is not adequate to present a module descriptor for LW1153 from 2006/7 if you registered for it in 2004/5).
  • *Reading lists for each module presented for exemption
  • *The syllabus of each module presented for exemption


*It is your responsibility to retain copies of these when they are distributed while you are taking the module, as tracking down this documentation at a later date may not be possible.  Therefore you are advised to keep copies, be they hard or soft copy, in case you need to refer to them in the future. These are indicative requirements only and depending on the course provider you may be required to provide additional information.

If you require assistance in making an application please contact your Programme Director. 

New York Legal Practice

The New York State Bar Exam is sat by a large number of our graduates.  Each application is taken on its own merit and the appliation process can  be long and involved.  Interested graduates should study fully Section 520.6 of the rules for the Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attourneys and Counselors at Law and their information on the eligibility of Foreign Legal Studyhttp://www.nybarexam.org/foreign/foreignlegaleducation.htm

If you require assistance in making an application, the Faculty of Law is happy to provide what assistance it can.  For a local alternative, the Irish American Bar Association of New York, http://www.iabany.org, is a very good source of relevant information.  Established in 1987, the IABANY is a professional organisation dedicated to connecting, serving and celebratingNew York’s legal professionals who are Irish born, of Irish heritage or simply interested in all things Irish.  Their website contains advice for Irish law graduates contemplating a US legal career.

School of Law

Scoil an Dlí

Room 1.63, T12 T656