Jobs you can obtain with a law degree
Those people with a law degree are the most employable of all university graduates. A Prospects survey estimates only 3.8% of law graduates are unemployed. However well employed law graduates may be, surprisingly, those with law degrees often do not become practising lawyers. In fact, it is estimated that less than half of those with law degrees go on to train as lawyers by undertaking the vocational courses of the Bar Vocational Course or Legal Practise Course.
This is not to say that law graduates do not obtain jobs which are in a legal field. As shall be demonstrated, there are more jobs available in the legal sphere than that of just solicitors and barristers. It can logically be assumed that those with law degrees make up a substantial number of those employed within the legal field. Of course those with law degrees are not limited to obtaining legal jobs but what shall become apparent is that the reputation of a law degree makes law graduates highly desirable to employers.
It is the nature of law degrees and the reputation of law schools that make graduates so employable in such various fields.
The skills necessary for and developed by a law degree are easily transferable to other jobs and careers. Skills such as researching from large pieces of varied and complicated sources and translating this into essays and opinions is highly valuable in any job. This particular skill is useful in careers such as journalism, the civil service or even further academia. Another skill which is essential to a law degree is the ability to write in a concise and informative way. Again, this skill is essential to journalism and jobs within the civil service.
Law degrees obviously entail the formation of legal arguments based upon the evidence gathered through legal research. In order to successfully form a legal argument, logical conclusions must be drawn and this skill is easily transferable to other jobs. One such career may be in the political field where organisations such as think tanks rely upon employees to research qualitative and quantitative sources to draw socio-political or social policy conclusions. Those with Law degrees are ideal for this job.
From initial assessment it is apparent that a law degree is conducive to obtaining many different careers and jobs. Taking a more comprehensive approach to possible careers open to those with a law degree it is clear that many jobs are suitable. The most obvious option is to practise in the law either as a solicitor or as a barrister. A law graduate would have to undertake the LPC or the BVC respectively in order to achieve this and as aforementioned, nearly half of all law graduates choose to undertake one of these courses.
This is not to say however that by undertaking the courses law graduates will acquire jobs as solicitors and barristers. Both jobs, especially that of the Bar, are highly competitive and the majority of BVC graduates do not become barristers but rather, have to obtain other jobs. Following one of the vocational courses, a law graduate can apply their learning through a paralegal job. Paralegal positions are available in most areas of law which makes it an ideal job for a graduate as a stepping stone to another job or vocation.
Law graduates can utilise their education directly by obtaining jobs within the legal justice system. The jobs available in the justice system are too many and varied to list in full but such jobs as court clerks, court ushers, probation officers and police officers are open to people with law degrees. Police forces such as the Metropolitan Police have fast-stream systems to allow graduates to enter and move through the police ranks faster than non-graduates. These graduate schemes are competitive but those with a law degree are far more likely to be accepted onto them than non-law degree graduates. Those with law degrees can also directly use their legal training through legal reporting and publishing jobs. These are multiple and varied incorporating both court-based work and legal research. Whilst the legal reporting is more easily obtained having achieved a vocational qualification, it is possible for law graduates to obtain these jobs through experience alone. Legal publishing is arguably an easier job for a law graduate to achieve as one can enter the job with just a law degree and through experience, advance through the career.
For those who do undertake to practise law through being a solicitor or barrister, there are many jobs available once experience has been gained. As reflected below there are many opportunities in the Civil service and these include not only policy but also careers in the Coroners office and financial service departments.
The Civil Service is a varied career with much call for legally trained persons from graduates to fully qualified lawyers. Those with law degrees can join the Government Legal Service (GLS) to act as lawyers throughout the Civil Service departments. Law graduates will have to undertake the LPC or the BVC but the GLS funds this and allows graduates to be solicitors or barristers. Law graduates can also join the Civil Service through the fast-stream system. This option would not utilise a law degree as much as other jobs but it would incorporate the skills acquired during a law degree as mentioned above. The skills most useful would be writing and research skills.
Those with a law degree can obtain academic jobs either by undertaking a teaching qualification and teaching secondary school pupils or by undertaking post-graduate study and teaching at undergraduate level.
As aforementioned, popular vocations of those with legal degrees include journalism and political research such as in think tanks or working for an MP. Generally these professions do not require additional qualifications but rather, further experience in these fields would be required to progress and both jobs are extremely competitive to achieve. There are also jobs available for the legally trained in business and accountancy fields. More businesses are expanding a legal department to reduce legal costs and this is most apparent in accountancy firms and banks.
In conclusion, it is apparent that a law degree creates the opportunity to obtain many jobs from legal practice to journalism. The skills acquired during legal study are transferable to many professions and the respect granted to a law degree allows graduates to obtain varied jobs.