Instead of practising law, why not make it?
Every year, the Law Commission recruits a number of research assistants to help make the law simple, modern and fair.
We look for exceptional candidates from all backgrounds, all of whom have a passion for law reform.
The role is fixed-term for 51 weeks, with the possibility of renewal for a further year upon application.
Thinking of applying?
Find out about our current Research Assistants.
Here are some Top Tips to help you through the recruitment stages; from application through to joining the Law Commission. Also take a look at our CV Template, which should be used as a guide to structure your CV.
More information about being a Research Assistant and a timetable of key events can be found in our Guide for Applicants.
You can also find a short video showing what our interviews are like, and demonstrating good and bad interview skills.
On 1 December 2022 we held a free online information session ahead of our 2022/23 research assistant campaign. You can find the recording here.
Applications for the 2022/23 research assistant campaign will open in January 2023.
As a research assistant at the Law Commission, you’ll master complex areas of law and help shape UK legal reform as part of an expert team. You will develop a range of skills and gain professional experience that is hard to obtain anywhere else.
You’ll be part of an organisation which makes a real difference to people’s lives – the work you contribute to won’t just sit on the shelf. Over the past 50 years, more than two-thirds of our recommendations have been accepted or implemented.
At a central London location, in the heart of Whitehall, you’ll be working shoulder to shoulder with a Court of Appeal Judge, KCs, professors, barristers and solicitors – all at the top of their game. You’ll also gain insight into the inner workings of government, working with different departments and policy officials.
As a civil servant, you’ll also be able to access training and benefits to help you progress in your career. Time at the Law Commission is regarded extremely highly by employers – our research assistants typically go onto successful careers at the bar, top law firms, academia and in policy.
What do research assistants do?
Research assistants apply and are assigned to one of four teams:
- Commercial and Common Law
- Criminal Law
- Property, Family and Trust Law
- Public Law
Within those teams, a research assistant will mainly work on one project supporting the lead lawyer – normally a solicitor, barrister or academic.
This work involves a mix of legal research and writing, policy analysis, and administrative work.
Depending on the stage of a project you could be looking at how the present law operates in practice and considering how it should be reformed, helping to run large-scale open public consultations, or finalising recommendations to Government and instructing Parliamentary Counsel to draft a Bill implementing those recommendations.
What are we looking for?
There is no model candidate that we look for – often research assistants join us following postgraduate studies, professional qualification or later in their career, and sometimes straight after completing their undergraduate degree.
Competition for the role is extremely high. We look for exceptional candidates and select them based on the following criteria:
- You must have completed a course or courses involving two years’ full-time substantive legal studies or the equivalent in part-time studies.
- You must have first class or good 2.1 standard undergraduate degree.
- You must be able to demonstrate our essential behaviour, ability, experience and technical skills.
If you do not satisfy the minimum academic requirements on the basis of your undergraduate degree, you can demonstrate the academic standard through one or more of the following completed qualifications:
- A GDL (or CPE) at distinction, or at commendation with at least one mark at distinction and substantial additional skills and knowledge
- A completed Masters Degree in law (LLM, BCL, MA or M Phil) at 2.1 (merit) or above.
- A completed PhD in law.