in Legal Profession, Training Contracts, Pupillage and Work Experience

What is the difference between contentious and non-contentious legal work?

Q: What is the difference between contentious and non-contentious legal work?

A: Contentious legal work relates to legal matters that take place between two or more parties, such as a court hearing or a tribunal hearing to resolve a dispute.

Non-contentious legal work relates to transactions occuring between one or more parties, such as the sale or purchase of a house.

Very useful to know these terms when dealing with law firms  – a lot of law graduates and paralegals do not understand the difference. Litigious and non-litigious similarly apply in a lot of cases.

Examples of contentious legal work: Crime, Family, Employment, Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Shipping (Wet), Construction, Immigration, Personal Injury and Contentious Probate.

Examples of non-contentious legal work: Conveyancing, Commercial Property, Corporate Finance, Corporate Commercial, Shipping (Dry), Aviation, Energy, Commercial Contracts, Wills & Probate.

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. Visit our website for details of our various services –

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at