Discover the various career options open to law graduates, with many lying beyond the legal profession. Read below and find out our answer to the question: what can you do with a Law Degree?
Lawyers work in a variety of settings, which necessitate both the skills you learn in law school, prior aspects of your pre-law school background, and additional training you will receive after law school.
It is also an extremely useful degree to have for a wide range of other goals. Among law graduates are CEOs, entrepreneurs, and legislators, to name a few.
A law degree can lead to a career as a solicitor or barrister, but it is not the only option. You have many options outside of the legal profession.
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Jobs you can do with a Law Degree
Let’s take a look at some possible career paths for law school graduates. Note, the list is not limited to the ones below:
Talintyre says the “Big Four” accounting firms in Australia (PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte) are increasingly trying to poach top-tier lawyers for their own growing legal services arms.
In 2016 the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) legal arm grew to 18 partners and is apparently chasing a target of 25 partners and 100 lawyers by the end of the 2016/2017 financial year.
Moving to an accounting firm has the added bonus of expanding your skill set, as most firms will require (and pay for) you to obtain the Chartered Accountants qualification.
Many lawyers make excellent journalists because of their attention to detail, natural scepticism, writing skills, and knowledge of Australia’s complex political and legal system.
Waleed Aly, Andrew O’Keefe, Liz Jackson and Annabel Crabb are a few Australian examples of well-known journalists with law degrees.
Many lawyers drift into legal recruitment because of their knowledge of the legal industry and contacts.
Talintyre says it’s almost impossible to work in legal recruiting without a law degree.
“You need to know what you’re talking about, in order to be relevant and recognise what the candidate or firm wants,” she says.
“I’ve heard of recruiters trying to place banking and finance lawyers into construction law firms. It can be awkward and frustrating for the candidate.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and independent Senator Nick Xenophon are among the many Australian politicians with law degrees.
Skills learned in law school such as argumentation, advocacy and an understanding of Australia’s political system are very useful in Parliament.
5. Management Consulting
Top-tier management consulting firms like Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company often encourage law graduates to apply to them because a law degree teaches you valuable critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Experienced lawyers are also hired for their experience in communicating with wealthy, professional clients.
6. Judge’s Associate
While not entirely outside the law, judge’s associate positions are well paid and allow you to hone your legal research skills in a different capacity to that of a lawyer.
If you don’t mind reading cases or researching (a lot), the salary is often high compared to that for graduates in law firms.
7. Human Resources
A move into human resources (HR) makes sense for many lawyers as it requires an ability to apply employment laws and mitigate risks relating to the employees’ health and safety.
8. Wealth Management / Investment Banking
Legal knowledge comes in handy for wealth managers seeking to circumvent banking laws and loopholes to the advantage of their investors.
Lawyers who have worked in large firms also tend to “get” banking and finance – they understand how the corporate world works and know how to manage and bill time effectively.
9. Police Prosecutor
It used to be that law graduates would need to spend three years in the police force to become a police prosecutor, but since 2008 graduates in NSW have been able to apply for an Accelerated Prosecutors Recruitment Program.
Law graduates are taught to argue and influence decisions, so why not put those skills to use in public interest advocacy if you care deeply about a cause?
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) in Sydney posts job openings online and is a good place to start for graduates.