ARE you half-way through your law degree, but not looking forward to a career in law? Is lawyer a good career.
Do you dread that moment at family reunions when someone is bound to come up to you and ask rhetorically “So...you’re going to be a lawyer...?”
Do you feel that you were somewhat blinded by the glossy facade of being a solicitor or barrister when you decided you wanted to pursue a law degree, but are now feeling overwhelmed?
If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s far from the end of the world! As we live in an age where adaptability and flexibility are among the most sought-after features from graduate recruiters, there are an increasing number of graduates who are choosing other jobs with their law degree. Does that mean that your law degree was an absolute waste of time and effort? Absolutely not! Since the law underpins every industry in some way, the skill set and the knowledge law graduates are equipped with when they leave university is highly applicable in any domain. So here are some options any law students in two minds may want to take on board.
Law graduates with a knack for numbers and who crave the intensity of a career in the City flock towards this area. Jobs in this vein are very competitive and high-strung, but the perks are often worth the effort. In particular, potential employers looking to fill positions in corporate finance, fund management or private-client services will require knowledge of commercial and tax law. Successful candidates possess intellectual rigour and stamina.
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For students who are seeking a less intense career, but which makes use of the same analytical and numerical skills, chartered accounting is their direction of choice. Contrary to popular belief, this job is not limited to routine number-crunching. The options for graduate jobs range from tax consultant for individuals or private businesses, to being an accountant at one of the Big 4 (Delliotte, PwC, Ernst & Young or KPMG).
However, becoming a chartered accountant requires extra qualifications, but having a law degree may exempt you from some of the required exams.
When students are particularly passionate about a specific area of the law and they want to have the chance to research its evolution, their choice of career is in academia. Consequently, they get the opportunity to harness their knowledge on a particular topic of law, while moulding the minds of the youth of tomorrow.
For this sort of career, law graduates are required to have a PGCE certification on top of their law degree and some previous experience working in an academic environment. Bearing this in mind, many universities offer their students to get involved in pro bono projects, some of them including teaching positions at local schools.
Law graduates constitute a significant number of contributors for law-related publications, either in print or online. Their ability to work well under pressure, conduct thorough research and offer insight in different legal areas makes them the ideal candidates for magazines like The Lawyer or The New Law Journal. Legal publishing provides the ideal environment for graduates who want to pursue their passion for the law in a more observational role (as opposed to the more hands-on experience of a lawyer).
Of course, if your passions lie in some other area of expertise, don’t feel like you should limit yourself to a legal publication. The same skills are highly appreciated in any respectable area of journalism.
Although the art and law appear to be worlds apart, they share common features. The contemporary art market could not run as smoothly as it does if it wasn’t backed up by legal knowledge of contracts, insurance, taxation and intellectual property. Working in an established auction house makes use of the meticulous and problem-based thinking that law graduates are endowed with.
It is worth noting that working at auction houses is highly competitive and requires some knowledge of art history, but at the same time it is a lucrative, worthwhile endeavour.Government
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Whichever direction you might lean towards, never forget that, despite its specific focus, a law degree can potentially lead to a very fulfilling career in an area you love. All you need to do is search!
Get more advice for law students at our Law section, with content on careers, courses and more.