Many of the most popular subjects – such as History, Mathematics, even Politics – mean graduating with your career options very much open. It is commonly understood that these courses can be applied rather broadly, and don’t come with a pre-established notion of your career path.
Law, on the other hand, does; mention LLB, LLM or another legal degree, and many people immediately assume your career plans are to don the wig and robes of a solicitor or barrister. Of course these are great options, though there are a considerable number of equally well-suited career choices which you might not expect to welcome those graduating from an LLB.
Whether you are currently studying and considering alternatives, currently practicing and seeking a new challenge, or wanting to know your options before beginning a law programme, you can rest assured there are plenty of reasons to keep those law books open.
Reasons to earn a law degree
Law is a broad and complex subject, so it goes without saying that – whatever your ultimate career goals – you should have an interest in legal matters and be prepared for the long hours required to handle the immense workload. If you can handle the drawbacks, earning a legal qualification can provide a vast array of career benefits. An immediate benefit is that an LLB gives access to more than just the justice system, but also a wider selection of career paths than most other degrees provide.
A number of non-legal professions seek law graduates, for various reasons. Graduates of law are often found to be personable and well-presented, with a broad range of desirable ‘soft’ skills employers are keen to snatch up. Alongside their existing legal knowledge, they can demonstrate their ability to grasp complex topics easily, and apply themselves to other challenging roles. All this means a Bachelor of Laws provides an extremely versatile foundation of knowledge.
In addition, you don’t need to travel to law school. With a variety of online learning programmes, you can bring a prestigious law school to you, eliminating a great deal of the costs usually associated with studying law, or campus learning in general.
What are your career options with a law degree?
Some of the options which open up from earning a degree in law are more obvious than others; but the sheer variety may surprise you.
Politics attracts a significant number of law graduates – whether as elected officials, or in a variety of supporting roles ensuring a political campaign is in keeping with the law. Whilst TV and movies have propagated the idea of rousing courtroom speeches, there is actually a great deal more of this in the field of politics – sometimes for garnering support or when taking part in debates.
Civil Service departments can make good use of employees with a legal background. There are plenty of different career options within the civil service, many of which handle legally-sensitive materials and documents, such as passports.
Journalism always benefits from sound legal understanding, and the two fields share a number of transferrable skills, such as strong communication. The ability to conduct research, and condense complex information into readable reports with an engaging writing style are also shared traits of law students and professionals within the field of journalism.
Activism doesn’t seem like a valid use of a law degree, but – as anyone who watches popular AMC series Better Call Saul will know – understanding the law means knowing how and when to push the boundaries. Legal acumen can prove surprisingly useful, helping demonstrations to stay within the legal parameters and by knowing the best methods to apply pressure to challenge or change the law. Admittedly, this isn’t renowned as a high-paying career; however, larger organisations such as Greenpeace or Amnesty International may be the best bet for those hoping to make a living from it.
Law Enforcement stands at the other end of the justice system. Whilst these positions may not necessarily require a legal qualification, there are certainly support positions within this field of work for which legal training can be a valuable asset, such as in case file preparation.
Human Resources teams can use legal knowledge and training regularly, in their adherence to employment laws and when drafting employment contracts. In addition, there may be a requirement to wade into wrongful termination disputes or trade union negotiations.
Finance roles require a great deal of trust. Senior positions such as that of Trustee, or Chief Financial Officer require a deeper legal understanding, due to the nature of these positions of responsibility. Meanwhile, junior positions can also benefit from knowledge of the many legal aspects to finance.
This is not, by any means, an exhaustive list: education, consulting, and even media and many more rewarding fields could feature. Ultimately, the message here is that a law degree does not restrict your career options; in fact, quite the opposite is true. But remember, you can always still become a lawyer.
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