The cliche phrase that you can do anything with a law degree is profoundly true and slightly exaggerated. Here’s why.
Obviously, if you understand it literally and think that there’ll be a pile of job offers immediately upon graduating, you might be in for a disappointment.
As a matter of fact, this happened in 2012 to a group of lawyers who were willing to sue their schools for marketing the law sector as a potent source of employment. The judge decided that there’s no ground for prosecution and dismissed their claims.
On the other hand, many experts will tell you that there’s a high competition for “articling” and that law graduates have difficulty finding vacant clerkship positions.
If you’re preparing yourself for a career in law, this all might seem confusing and frightening. But things aren’t that grim. Once you understand the essence of different law-related opportunities, you’ll realize you have more options than you might have expected.
Obviously, most law graduates will seek to enter regulated legal professions – to become a practicing solicitor or a barrister (attorney in the US legal system).
It’s highly ungrateful to explain specific regulated frameworks for legal occupations in general because each jurisdiction has its own rules. However, as this is not the road that we’re the most concerned about within this article, we’ll take a brief overlook of regulated legal professions without going into the specific details and terminological nuances.
The most important thing you should note about this legal road is that it entails additional studying chunks. The further studying process again varies from system to system, but, for the most part, it is consisted of three major segments:
Widely speaking, all regulated legal occupations are divided into those within the courtroom and those outside it.
If you see yourself at the court hall, these jobs may seem appealing to you:
Another lucrative option for practicing or aspiring legal professionals is entering a law firm, whose size may vary from a one-person company to a giant enterprise shared by numerous associates and partners.
Typically, lawyers join the enterprise as associates and work their way to becoming partners. But, of course, it’s not a rule written in stone.
Law firm lawyers are usually highly specialized in a single niche, whether as part of a large corporation’s team or as a consequence of working in so-called “boutique law firms.”
Either way, articling in one of the law firms you like is an ideal starting point if you’re interested in this line of legal work.
Besides the regulated law field, there are myriad alternative ways to use the knowledge gained during bachelor studies. Because virtually everything in our world is somehow regulated by law, and because a law degree equips you with transferable skills, you can easily enter various sectors and industries.
Of course – and this is our point here – you have to possess the transferable skill set to be eligible to work in different fields. These include:
When you combine these with the fact that there are approximately 24 different practice areas of law, the equation seems obvious: yes, there are many ways that you can apply your expertise across sectors.
Here are the most common alternative career paths that legal experts have undertaken.
A paralegal is the first occupation you should choose if you strive to be a lawyer or prefer being close to this line of legal work.
In a nutshell, a paralegal is a lawyer’s right hand, who prepares and organizes legal documentation, conducts research, and takes care of multiple administrative tasks.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of a paralegal is $55,020.
As the term implies, mediators are impartial third parties whose job is to negotiate a conflict resolution. It might seem like the exact description of a lawyer’s work, but, in reality, mediators and attorneys have different roles.
Lawyers tend to be tied to a single client, offering him legal advice and estimating what’s in his best interest – while mediators need to stay objective, avoid sides, and do legal counseling (even when they are lawyers).
But, of course, the two roles are very similar for a reason. Both use the power of leadership, communication, and analysis to reach the best solution possible.
According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a mediator is $59,839.
Government And Politics
It might seem like a long shot, but that is not the case: the world of politics has already taken many legal experts. When you consider that both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela graduated from law schools, the close relationship between the two disciplines becomes not only “natural” but noble and dignified.
In more down-to-earth terms, note that legal experts can easily enter civil service and work within individual departments (or ministries) to ensure the administrative affairs are run in due diligence.
On the other hand, if your skillset is more leaning toward the communication and PR-related side of the spectrum, and you’re interested in politics, you should research in more detail the legal framework of political campaigns and seek opportunities to testify your expertise.
Or – of course – if you have a passion for influencing change for the better and your own leadership skills, you can always try to be an elected official yourself. After all, Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama did – and they all came from a law school.
Banking And Finance
Banking and finance law regulates the business operations of financial institutions. As in other practice areas, this particular type of law has many subareas, but its overarching context is to provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for the bank’s functioning.
A legal practitioner in the field is often expected to work as an in-house legal counsel and be fully acquainted with the nuances of this legal field.
For those who are more inclined towards academic environments and have highly developed analytical and research skills, pursuing a career as a law librarian might be an ideal choice.
As the term implies, law librarians manage legal databases, provide timely information, and deliver extensive research reports.
Although a university setting is the most apparent workplace for a law librarian, such managers of legal databases can also be found in the government or a private sector (in a law firm, for example).
According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a mediator is $60357.
Teaching law is reserved for those who have the pedagogical insight and are willing to help create another generation of legal experts.
Aside from possessing legal knowledge, law teachers must have strong interpersonal skills to develop and nurture the relationship with students, and the ability to organize and effectively deliver lessons.
Depending on which education level they’re aiming to work in, further education might be needed.
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics reports an annual mean wage between $95,840 and $137,430.
Law Enforcement Officer
Although the career of a law enforcement officer is not the first thing we associate with a bachelor’s degree in law, possessing the legal expertise can be genuinely beneficial for the job. To effectively protect law and order, police officers must have a solid understanding of legal terminology and procedures.
If a uniformed role isn’t your preference, there are other jobs you can take in the law enforcement sector. The most notable examples would be a prosecution file preparation officer or a police lawyer (additional study needed).
HR and Labour Relations
HR is increasingly becoming one of those fields that are generously allowing entrance to anyone willing to specialize in the area. With their in-depth knowledge of employment law, negotiating, and communication skills, bachelors of law are perfectly suited for the job.
As an HR officer/manager, you’re expected to mediate between an employer and an employee, ensuring that both sides are satisfied with one another. Of course, it will be your job to negotiate a solution and reach a resolution in times of dispute.
In many ways, having a job in HR is much like working in the courtroom – you should know who sits in the jury, estimate each side’s arguments, and try to influence the judge to make a righteous decision.
If you decide to enter the HR field, expect a great job outlook, as the US BLS projects a demand for the occupation to rise by 7% by 2029. Depending on how you position yourself, the average annual median salary can range from $63,490 to $121,220.
If you’ve ever imagined a real estate agent as solely a salesperson, you’re not capturing the whole picture this occupation entails. The professionals who handle real-estate transactions must know a great deal of real estate law. Their typical working day may include preparing paperwork for transactions, taking care of all the fillings, explaining legal nuances to clients, and drawing up contracts.
Also, a significant portion of successful sales is owed to exceptional communication skills, persuasion techniques, and the ability to negotiate the most favorable outcome. As you presume, these are all things a good bachelor of law should be well versed at.
Bottom line: is a Law Degree Worth it?
As at every crucial crossroads of your life, you are the sole person who can determine whether a bachelor’s degree in law is worth it. Once again, note that competition is fierce (although this highly depends on where you’re located), and don’t rely too much on easy schemes propositions.
Expect that you will have to earn the degree, but this is the only way to equip yourself with vital skills for the modern labour market.
Grimly warnings aside, studying law doesn’t have to be that hard – if you have passion for the subject. It’s also worth mentioning that there are many online programmes that you can take without sacrificing your life and work commitments.
If you choose CBU’s Bachelor of Law studies, expect a curriculum that will guide you through relevant practice areas of law and allow you to develop and perfect numerous transferable skills. Contact us today for more details, or download our prospectus to find out more.