What Can You Do with a Law Degree: Unlocking Diverse Career Paths
The journey towards a law degree is often considered a path steeped in tradition, leading towards well-defined careers like attorneys, judges, or legal consultants. But have you ever contemplated, “What can you do with a law degree?” A law degree can open doors to exciting, influential, and unconventional career paths in our rapidly evolving world.
This blog post aims to delve into the wide-ranging opportunities a law degree offers, illustrating how this esteemed qualification can become a springboard to diverse careers, extending far beyond the courtroom.
Why Study Law?
Before you think about “What can you do with a law degree?” let us answer a common query among prospective college and postgraduate students, “Why study law?”
The decision to study law often stems from a deep-seated desire to understand the workings of society, a passion for justice, or the thrill of intellectual challenge. But the advantages of studying law extend well beyond these motivations.
Let’s review why you should consider diving into this fascinating field.
Firstly, the law is ingrained in every facet of our lives. Whether international treaties shaping global politics, regulations dictating business practices, or civil laws influencing our everyday interactions, legal frameworks underpin our society. Studying law provides a unique lens to understand and navigate these complexities.
Secondly, a law degree hones a set of highly transferrable skills. Law students cultivate critical and analytical thinking by dissecting complex legal cases and grappling with diverse viewpoints. They develop exceptional problem-solving abilities, often devising creative solutions to complex legal issues.
Moreover, law education refines communication skills, both written and verbal, enabling students to present persuasive arguments—an asset in any professional setting.
Finally, a law degree can pave the way for significant personal growth and societal impact. As a law student, you delve into moral and ethical questions, challenging your worldview and fostering empathy. As a legal professional, you can shape policy, champion justice, and contribute to societal change.
In essence, studying law is about more than just mastering legislation and legal procedures. It is about developing a robust skill set, broadening your perspective, and empowering yourself to make meaningful contributions to society.
The breadth of knowledge and skills gained through a law degree can serve as a powerful tool, regardless of the career path you ultimately choose.
What Are the Different Types of Law Degrees?
What are the different types of law degrees? In legal education, there are several types of law degrees, each offering its unique focus, purpose, and career path.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common law degrees you may consider pursuing:
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
This is typically the first step in legal education for those outside the United States. It’s an undergraduate degree that provides a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of law and legal systems. An LLB degree is often a prerequisite to practice law in many countries.
Juris Doctor (JD)
In the United States, the JD is the standard law degree that allows graduates to sit for the bar exam and practice law. It’s a postgraduate degree that requires an undergraduate degree for admission. The JD curriculum is rigorous, focusing on all aspects of law, and provides a comprehensive understanding of the American legal system.
Master of Laws (LLM)
An LLM is a specialized, postgraduate law degree that lawyers, JD or LLB holders might pursue to gain expertise in a specific area of law. Common specializations include tax law, international law, human rights law, and corporate law.
Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD or JSD)
This is the highest level of a law degree, often pursued by individuals interested in academia, scholarly research, or a high level of legal specialization. It’s comparable to a Ph.D. in other fields of study.
Many institutions offer joint degrees, allowing students to study law in combination with other disciplines. Common pairings include a JD/MBA (Master of Business Administration), JD/MPA (Master of Public Administration), or JD/PhD, among others. These programs can provide a broader skill set and open diverse career opportunities.
As students think about “What can you do with a law degree?” they should consider whether they aspire to practice law, delve into legal research, teach, or apply legal expertise in another field, or take unconventional paths before they pursue one of these degrees.
The world of law degrees offers a range of options to suit various career aspirations and goals. By choosing the right type of law degree that aligns with your passions and career objectives, you can embark on a fulfilling journey in the legal profession or related fields, making a meaningful impact in the world of law.
How to Get a Law Degree?
Embarking on the journey to obtain a law degree is a decision that requires commitment, resilience, and a keen intellect. While the process may seem daunting, understanding the steps can help you navigate this path with confidence.
Here’s a quick guide on how to get a law degree:
In the United States, a law degree is a postgraduate qualification. Hence, the first step is to complete an undergraduate degree in any field. However, certain disciplines like political science, philosophy, or English may provide a solid foundation for law studies due to their emphasis on critical thinking and communication skills.
Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
Most law schools in the U.S. require applicants to take the LSAT, a standardized test that assesses reading comprehension and logical and verbal reasoning proficiencies.
Law School Application
Once you have your LSAT scores, you can apply to law schools. Applications usually involve submitting academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and LSAT scores.
Once admitted to law school, you will typically spend three years completing a Juris Doctor (JD) program. The curriculum usually covers foundational subjects like contracts, constitutional law, civil procedure, and criminal law in the first year, followed by more specialized electives in subsequent years.
After graduation, you will need to pass the bar exam in the state where you intend to practice. This challenging test assesses your knowledge of the law and your ability to apply it practically.
Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
Once you are a practicing lawyer, many states require ongoing legal education to stay updated on current laws and legal practices.
The path to obtaining a law degree is challenging, but it’s also rewarding. It is a journey that cultivates a range of valuable skills and provides the opportunity to make a significant impact on individuals, organizations, and society.
Whether you are inspired to fight for justice, shape public policy, or navigate complex business challenges, a law degree can be your gateway to fulfilling your ambition.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Law Degree?
Students often ask, “What can you do with a law degree?” Many people associate a law degree with traditional courtroom roles like lawyers or judges. While these are key career paths in the legal sector, a law degree’s versatility extends far beyond these conventional roles.
With the unique blend of analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of legal frameworks that a law degree provides, you can unlock a wide array of careers across various industries.
So, what jobs can you get with a law degree? This section delves into the diverse career paths that you can embark on with a degree in law.
Traditional Legal Careers
Let’s start with traditional legal careers that most people are familiar with. These roles typically involve the direct application of legal knowledge and skills:
- Lawyer: As a lawyer, also known as an attorney, you would advise and represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies on legal issues or disputes. Lawyers can specialize in numerous areas, such as criminal law, family law, intellectual property law, or corporate law.
- Judge: Judges oversee the legal process in courts. They impartially preside over cases, ensuring justice is served by interpreting the law, assessing evidence presented, and controlling how hearings and trials unfold in their courtrooms.
- Legal Consultant: Legal consultants offer advice to clients on specific legal matters. They might specialize in areas such as estate planning, business contracts, or personal injury claims. Some consultants work on a freelance basis, while others are part of a consulting firm.
Roles Outside the Courtroom
Law degree holders also find rewarding careers outside the traditional courtroom setting. Here, they often apply their legal expertise to solve complex business or policy issues:
- Corporate Counsel: Also known as in-house lawyers, corporate counsels serve the legal needs of a single corporation. They advise on legal rights, obligations, and strategies, handle legal disputes, and ensure the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Policy Advisor: Policy advisors use their understanding of law and legislation to guide the development of policies in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private corporations. They research issues, analyze proposed policies, and advise stakeholders on the potential impacts.
- Compliance Officer: Compliance officers ensure that businesses adhere to laws, regulations, and internal policies. They identify potential compliance risks, develop risk management strategies, and monitor and report on the effectiveness of these strategies.
- Contract Negotiator: Contract negotiators use their legal knowledge to negotiate, draft, and review contracts for businesses or individuals. They ensure the terms are legally sound, fair, and in their client’s best interest.
Legal Roles in Emerging Industries
Emerging industries, such as technology or environmental sustainability, offer exciting opportunities for law graduates. Here are a couple of examples:
- Tech Industry Legal Advisor: As technology evolves rapidly, tech companies need legal professionals who understand technology and law. These professionals may work on issues like data privacy, intellectual property rights in software, or legal challenges related to artificial intelligence.
- Environmental Lawyer: With increased awareness of environmental issues, there’s a growing demand for lawyers specializing in environmental law. These lawyers may work for nonprofits, corporations, or government agencies, advising on air and water quality laws, sustainable land use, or wildlife protection.
A law degree opens the door to many career opportunities beyond the courtroom. While traditional legal careers like lawyer, judge, and legal consultant remain prominent, there is an ever-expanding landscape of possibilities.
From serving as corporate counsel, policy advisors, compliance officers, or contract negotiators to exploring emerging industries like technology or environmental sustainability, the versatility of a law degree knows no bounds.
By leveraging the analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and legal expertise gained through a law degree, you can forge a successful and fulfilling career in diverse sectors.
So, whether you choose the well-trodden path or opt for an unconventional route, a law degree equips you with the tools to make a lasting impact and contribute meaningfully to the ever-evolving legal landscape.
Unconventional Careers with a Law Degree
A law degree equips you with a versatile skillset that transcends traditional legal professions. While courtroom and corporate legal roles are common avenues for law graduates, there are numerous unconventional careers with a law degree.
The analytical thinking, meticulous research abilities, and persuasive communication skills honed during a law degree can open doors to a wide range of professions.
If you find yourself still pondering the question, “What can you do with a law degree?” let’s explore some of these less traditional but equally rewarding career paths.
Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind innovation and economic growth, and a law degree can be an invaluable asset for aspiring business owners. Understanding contracts, business law, intellectual property rights, and regulatory compliance is fundamental to running a successful business.
Moreover, the problem-solving and negotiation skills learned in law school can help entrepreneurs navigate business challenges and build successful ventures.
For example, Haley Altman, a lawyer turned entrepreneur, recognized the need for innovative solutions in the legal tech space. She co-founded Doxly, a legal transaction management software company that streamlines and simplifies complex legal processes.
Altman’s entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of the legal landscape allowed her to identify a gap in the market and develop a successful tech solution.
A law degree can also pave the way to a career in journalism. Legal knowledge can be invaluable for reporting stories involving legislative issues, court proceedings, or public policy. The ability to understand and explain complex legal concepts in a way that is accessible to the general public is a skill that many news organizations value.
Take the case of Megyn Kelly, a well-known American journalist and news anchor. She leveraged her law degree and experience as a corporate litigator to build a successful career in broadcast journalism, providing insightful legal analysis on high-profile cases.
It might seem like a leap to go from law to creative writing, but many successful authors started their careers in law. The strong writing, research, and storytelling skills developed during a law degree can be an excellent foundation for a writing career.
Legal thrillers are a popular genre, and who better to write them than someone with a deep understanding of the law?
Consider the example of John Grisham, one of the best-selling authors worldwide. He used his experiences as a criminal lawyer to write compelling legal thrillers, selling over 300 million copies of his books.
Non-profits and advocacy organizations often deal with legal issues, from contracts and employment law to regulatory compliance and lobbying. Law graduates can use their skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on society by working in this sector.
Take the inspiring story of Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard Law School graduate. He founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that has won significant legal challenges reducing excessive and unfair sentencing in the United States.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. A law degree can lead to careers in education, human resources, politics, real estate, and countless other fields. It provides a robust foundation of skills and knowledge that can be leveraged in virtually any career.
So, if you are considering a law degree but worry about “What can you do with a law degree if I’m not sure about traditional legal roles?” rest assured that there are numerous unconventional paths where your law degree can shine.
Whether you see yourself arguing cases in court, advising tech startups, penning best-selling novels, or driving social change, a law degree can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel.
A law degree provides a unique perspective and an analytical framework that can be applied to nearly any professional and personal endeavor. Therefore, if you are considering embarking on the journey to a law degree, remember that the potential career outcomes are as diverse and broad as your ambitions.
As you navigate the answers to the widespread query, “What can you do with a law degree?” you might be considering pursuing a law degree as you enter college or for your postgraduate plans. Admissions experts like AdmissionSight guide prospective college and postgraduate students considering pursuing law with their deep understanding of the admissions process.
Moreover, AdmissionSight provides insights and advice tailored to aspiring law students’ specific goals and aspirations. Our experts help students navigate the complexities of choosing the right law school, offering guidance on program reputation, curriculum, faculty expertise, and potential career opportunities.
Admissions experts also assist students in crafting compelling personal statements and application essays that effectively convey their passion for law and highlight their unique experiences and qualifications.
To know more about AdmissionSight and what we offer, schedule an appointment for an initial consultation with our experts today.