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Areas of Law: How to Become a Public Lawyer

Another area of law, public law, is a potential career option – but what is it exactly? Find out all about public law in our free guide!

How to Become a Public Lawyer: What is Public Law?

Public law is a field of law that covers the government’s relationship with the citizens it oversees, it also considers the relationships between citizens that might have an effect on society. If the government makes a questionable decision on the rights of the individuals in society, or does not act within the law, this is where a specialist lawyer in public law might step in.

Public law can involve:

and so, you will have to cover a broad range of  legal sectors that coincide with your work. Cases challenging a government decision can be initiated by a citizen who is unsatisfied with the authority, who asks the court for judicial review – which will oversee, evaluate and rule on the citizen’s claim.

Public law tends to be a compulsory module at university, and you can go on to study it in an LLM, at master’s level. You can then go on to qualify in the sector and practice as a lawyer. Public law can also be referred to as ‘Administrative Law’ at a professional level.

How to Become a Public Lawyer: What Does the Day of a Public Lawyer Look Like?

On a day-to-day basis, a public lawyer might have to:

How to Become a Public Lawyer: How Does a Public Law Solicitor Differ From a Public Law Barrister?

A public law solicitor will work in a firm, most likely in a private practice, and will work on the case theory and development, and will handle documentation, client work and negotiation with other opposing lawyers.

A barrister working in the public law sector, however, will be the advocate for the case if it reaches trial in court. They will typically be an expert in public law issues, and will lead the team and make important decisions on the direction of the case, and will be the person arguing the case in court before a judge.

How to Become a Public Lawyer: What are Some of the Benefits of Working in Public Law?

One of the main benefits of working in public law is that if you have a genuine interest in politics, how leading authorities govern society, or protecting citizens from unfair policies that infringe their rights, you will get to experience all of these  – and also incorporate the law in your work. Public law is a fusion of different sections of the law, as well as public policies, government and citizens’ rights, so an advantage is a fast-paced, academically challenging profession.

How to Become a Public Lawyer: Where Can I Practise as a Public Lawyer?

The top UK private practice firms specialising in this area of law are:

You may also consider becoming a barrister that specialises in public law. A selection of the top chambers for this are:

How to Become a Public Lawyer: What Sort of Person Would Suit a Career in Public Law?

A candidate that has a genuine interest in the how the government sets policies to govern society – whilst acting within the law, or candidates that have an interest in how the governing body functions as a whole, would suit a career in public law. As a professional in a public law sector of a firm, you will may have to challenge or defend policies or actions of the government and its citizens, so its important that you are keen to specialise in the topic in great depth.

If you aren’t studying law as an undergraduate degree (where you will most likely study public law in your first or second year), then you could consider politics as an undergraduate degree – as firms will see this as an advantage due to your knowledge of the subject already.

How to Become a Public Lawyer: What Work Experience Looks Good for a Career in Public Law?

Some examples of work experience that would look good for this future career are:

How to Become a Public Lawyer: What are Some Typical Routes into Public Law?

The typical steps to becoming a lawyer in public law fields are:



Written by Amy Cheng


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