Career Paths Opened Up By A Law Degree

Career Paths Opened Up By A Law Degree

So you’re aiming to graduate in law. That means you could enter practice as a lawyer, but it also gives you access to a lot of other career paths which people outside the profession generally don’t know as much about. It could lead to you becoming involved in policy development, politics, running a legal department, becoming a legal journalist, or even staying in academia to educate the next generation of law students. If you’re wondering what is likely to be best for you, this article will help by outlining some of the most popular options to help you reflect on what best suits your particular talents and passions.

Litigation And Trial

If you’ve grown up wanting to become a lawyer, the chances are that you’ve imagined yourself engaging in courtroom duels. There are plenty of opportunities in this area, but of course it’s not all about the dramatics – every process begins with a lengthy process of research. If you’re interested in this kind of work, you should think about whether you want to work for the government (as, say, a public defender or in support of a particular state or federal department), in private practice (with some freedom to pick and choose cases, mediated by the need to earn a living), or as an in-house lawyer for a company or wealthy private client.

Mediation And Arbitration

Not all legal work is oppositional. In mediation and arbitration, the aim of lawyers is to weigh up arguments and seek to find solutions which are, as far as possible, acceptable to all parties involved. Mediation involves working with clients to help break down misunderstandings and to negotiate compromise. Arbitration allows them to avoid a costly litigation process by agreeing to submit to your judgement as a neutral third party. These processes are most often talked about in relation to corporate law, but they also have a vital role to play in family law and other areas where sensitivity is a priority.


As well as working with already extant legislation, people with legal training have a vital role to play in the development of new legislation, ensuring that it addresses specific problems as desired, fits into the existing legislative framework, doesn’t create unwanted side-effects, and is free from loopholes. This creates opportunities in policy development, which, for those with political ambition, can be a springboard for standing for election. Almost half of the members of Congress have a background in law, and there are also opportunities in state and local government. Graduates can start by seeking out positions as legal policy advisers.


If you have a passion for fairness and feel that you are good at understanding the arguments on both sides of most cases, you might want to work toward becoming a judge. Highly-capable students can become judicial clerks straight after graduation, giving them the chance to participate in the judicial decision-making process. Once attached to a court, they take on a range of tasks which blend administrative work with tasks like legal research and cite checking, for which their specific training is invaluable. Undertaking a JD program online at Cleveland State University is an ideal way to develop the skills needed for this type of work, and it can be completed in as little as three years.

Research And Academia

If you find the research aspects of legal work particularly enjoyable, you may want to expand on those skills and contribute to the development of the field through a career in legal academia. This usually entails choosing a specialty, such as maritime law or humanitarian law, and developing a deep understanding which will not only enable you to publish useful insights but will ultimately prepare you to teach others. Most law professors continue to carry out their own research and develop more niche specialties as they begin teaching the next generation of legal experts. Academic work also involves conferencing and engaging in professional dialogues which help to refine the profession at the top level.


If you have an interest in business and a talent for organization, there’s a whole host of careers available in administration, either working for an established law firm, setting up your own, or working in a corporate legal department. This can be a very lucrative line of work, and if you choose the company carefully it can present all sorts of interesting challenges. Alternatively, if what you’re seeking is routine and a steady pay check, there are roles which will allow you to work on the same types of documents on a regular basis so that you play a useful role but enjoy a low-stress environment.


Every news outlet needs access to lawyers, and major ones keep them in-house in order to ensure that they can take on powerful people without having to worry about silencing or revenge. Furthermore, individual journalists need legal training if they are to report ethically on court exchanges and complex legal cases, and there is also a need for legally-qualified people to train new journalists in areas like libel and copyright law. All these opportunities mean that if you have a commitment to helping the public access important information, putting your skills to use in journalism could be the perfect career choice.

This breadth of opportunity demonstrates that legal training offers widespread possibilities, and if you find that the first career path you try doesn’t suit you, it’s usually relatively easy to transfer to another one. A good law course will give you the opportunity to find out more about these different areas, but you can also try writing to successful professionals in those areas which most appeal to you. You’ll find that they often write back with good advice. Whatever your choice, you can expect law to be a demanding field but one which presents you with the chance to give your very best and which offers not only good financial returns but the satisfaction of using your mental abilities to the full.

Related posts