Monday, 5 May 2014

What else can you do with your law degree?

What else can you do with your law degree?
A legal career will be hard to come by as a glut of law graduates struggle to fit into fewer graduate places. So what else you can do with your law degree?

Enrolment numbers provided by universities around Australia show that the number of students enrolled in law is on the rise. The bad news is that, according to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook, job openings in the legal profession will be low over the next few years. The number of graduate places has also shrunk correspondingly, according Graduate Careers Australia.

What to do with a law degree?

Whether you’re a law undergraduate or new graduate, the widespread competition will affect your chances of landing a role in the legal profession. Fortunately, many students undertake a law degree not to become a partner, barrister or QC down the line, but to expand their skill set and add value to another area of study.

Throughout their degree, law graduates acquire:

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Critical reading abilities.
  • Research skills.
  • Oral communication and listening abilities.
  • Task organisation and management skills.
  • Writing skills.

This means graduates can enter a broad range of industries, from education, journalism and finance to conflict resolution, advocacy and politics.

One industry that requires all the skills of a law graduate is the tax sector. Many graduates who have also completed a degree in commerce, economics or accounting may have already considered this path. The tax industry is diverse and the work more plentiful compared to roles in the legal profession.

Make your move now

If you’re looking to enter a complementary field, from tax to property, media to politics, identify what specialist education and training you will need. In some cases, your other degree, in tandem with your law education, will be sufficient to secure an entry-level role in your targeted field. Undergraduates in more general degrees, such as arts, science and history, should also consider how their majors may affect their career opportunities.

In some cases, despite having two degrees you may need to undergo additional specialist training. The Tax Institute, for example, offers courses in Australian Tax Law for aspiring tax specialists, while chartered accountancy is popular for aspiring accounting professionals.

If you have your heart set on a legal career but can’t land an entry-level role, look for a comparable position in another profession that offers similar work. If, for example, you’re interested in contract law, you may find it easier to secure a role in human resources and recruitment, or in the construction industry negotiating and drawing up project contracts.

Taking a holistic view of your law degree will give you many more opportunities outside the legal profession than within it, so embrace the broad range of careers a law degree can unlock.

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