You’ve got a Law Degree... Now what?
It was once the case that law students had the luxury of choosing between numerous firms, now each firm has its choice of hundreds of students. Although this recent shift in the job market can be rather depressing, do not despair, for there are dozens of other employers out there who are just as chuffed about you having a law degree as your Grandma is.
Let’s brainstorm, shall we?
Those problem solving, analytical and solid writing skills you’ve learnt and built upon at uni make law students perfect candidates for positions within government. There are plenty of government departments and government organisations to apply to, like the Attorney General’s department, AusAid, the Australian Law Reform Commission, ACCC, State and Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Defence Force, the DPP, the ATO and tons more! Simply Google ‘[your State] Government Jobs’ will bring up a plenty of government agencies. Read more about the process of applying for government jobs here.
If you founded the University’s Young Labor Club, or often find yourself writing passionate letters to the local council petitioning for a local bike path, it may be worth looking at working with an MP or political organisation as a speech writer, research assistant or policy officer. MPs spend a good deal of their time receiving, reading organising and evaluating information from many sources, and conveying that information and opinions in Parliament and to the public. They simply can’t get enough of the enthusiastic young political minds jumping up and down to read their ‘fan’ mail and write controversial monologues.
Working in the courts not only provides a world of experience, but is looked on very favourably by potential employees. The golden job for law graduates in the court system is as a judge’s associate or tipstaff. Both positions will see you act as a personal and professional assistant to the judge, providing comprehensive legal research service and assisting with court-related duties. Such research generally involves detailed analysis of case law and an examination of legal developments in areas where precedents may not be well defined.
Working in the Courts is a fantastic way of getting hands-on experience in the courtroom and a chance to observe how matters are conducted. It’s also a brilliant way to expand your professional network and build your legal confidence.
So you’re a people person, but the idea of representing your clients in the treacherous battlefields of the courtroom scares the absolute bejesus out of you? Perhaps a position in HR or legal recruiting would be more up your alley. Many HR Officers and Managers in the legal industry, especially those working in larger law firms, hold law degrees. Attention to detail, sound organisational skills and general knowledge of how the industry works makes law grads ideal contenders for these positions.
Take a look at other industries that you love, be it fashion, media, medicine, sport, or the environment. No matter what it is, there’s almost certainly an organisation, department, or in-house legal team that brings together your legal skills and your interests. If you work towards an area you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to put forward that winning application and land yourself a dream job.
And if your ultimate goal is still to practice law, think of this as simply taking the scenic route, ‘the road less travelled’. No experience is bad experience, and any skills you can build or contacts you make along the way can all prove valuable down the line.
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