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Career Advice

How to Decide on a Career Path in Law

So you’re thinking about becoming a lawyer? Well, you might have been perturbed by a spate of articles that claim there are just too many lawyers in the world and not enough jobs for Law changethem to do. However, this isn’t to say that law is not a worthwhile career choice; in fact, as we’ll see, in an unstable job market, it will equip you with the skills to succeed in the job market whether it’s in the legal profession or not.

The normal route

The options for studying law vary around the world. In the US, UK or Australia you will be required to complete a law degree and then some form of legal training such as the PLT (practical legal training) or LPC (legal practice course). This will usually be followed by a training contract within a law firm that equates to paid work experience as the company will usually sponsor you for this period. In the UK, graduates from other disciplines can also do a law conversion course via the GDL (graduate diploma in law) and then follow the same route of legal practice then training contract. Starting salaries for lawyers are generally relatively high compared to national averages, offsetting the financial cost of doing the degree in the first place. It is worth taking into consideration that the legal profession will be undergoing plenty of restructuring. Just as retailers have increasingly moved their businesses online, legal services are shifting away from traditional business models. Take this into consideration when starting your degree and it could stand you in good stead. If you’re about to embark on a career in law and are confused by the legal jargon, then take a look at this legal dictionary for help with terminology.

You don’t have to do law

Doing a law degree doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a job in law or in a law firm and often by necessity you might be forced to look at other career options. Yes, you may end up in the courtroom or working for one of the ‘magic circle’ firms; equally you may not. Law is such a highly regarded degree and carries with it a myriad of marketable skills that it will always be attractive to potential employers. The global recession has forced many companies to look at their outgoings and cut costs by bringing services in-house and that includes legal services. So once you’ve graduated, don’t limit your search to the big law firms as they will be inundated with applicants. Law is of course a massive part of politics – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both have law degrees. Other professions where knowledge of the law can be invaluable are real estate, journalism and finance. The latter particularly is fraught with complex legalities. If you’re more interested in the third sector, then working for an NGO is a good route to take or, if you want to affect policy making in government, public interest advocacy can be a rewarding career.

So, if you choose to study law, you will find it is a solid foundation for work not only in the legal profession but many others as well. Best of luck on your career path!

Author Bio: Jamie Faulkner is a freelance writer for a number of business related topics, from finding the right career path to getting started with small business insurance.

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