Understanding Your Options As a Law Graduate

When you’re studying at university, sometimes you can spend a lot more time focussing on the coursework, and less time on your career goals. That can be problematic, particularly at the end of a course, where it’s essential that you understand what your options are as a graduate.

This can be especially difficult in sectors where there are a wide variety of options available upon graduation. For example, what are some of the things that you can do with your qualification? What are the differences between a Juris doctor vs a bachelor of law? What are some of the career options available to legal graduates, and what are the potential salary ranges for such careers?

Let’s explore your options as a law graduate, and how a career in the legal sector can be both fulfilling, both professionally, and financially.

Why are Law Graduates so important?

Legal structures form the backbone of legislative, executive and judicial frameworks, both domestically and internationally. As a result, it’s essential to have individuals within these spaces that can interpret, analyse and utilise these frameworks to attain outcomes that meet their outcomes.

As such, legal graduates are in high demand across a variety of sectors. Public sector lawyers may work in a variety of roles, including within the civil and criminal justice systems. There are plenty of roles available in the private sector as well, where you can pursue a role in a niche that you may be interested in, such as family or tax law.

It’s expected that demand for legal graduates will continue to grow, as the legal system experiences an increased volume of legal cases across a broad spectrum of fields, as many cases have been delayed as a result of COVID or other disruptions.

What’s the difference between qualifications?

While it can seem like there’s a gulf of difference between a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Laws, in fact, they typically are treated with equal importance, when considered by prospective employers. It’s important to understand that the main difference between the two is typically the academic expectations, as well as the level of study.

Typically, a Bachelor of Laws is completed by a student who has completed Year 12, and wants to enter the legal field straight away. In such a case, Bachelor of Laws graduates are typically young professionals, looking to jump into the field of law.

On the other hand, Juris Doctor courses are only available as a post-graduate degree. In fact, Juris Doctor candidates typically enter after having some experience in other industries, and can often provide invaluable domain experience from other fields. For example, some well-known JD candidates, such as Corinne Grant, came from fields as varied as comedy and entertainment to contribute to the legal industry today.

It’s important to note that both a Bachelor of Laws and a Juris Doctor both provide excellent opportunities to leap into a legal career, upon completion.

Where can a legal degree take me?

A legal degree can open a variety of doors for graduates who are determined, passionate, and willing to engage with the legal sector. No matter your interest, there’s a career option that may be suitable for your particular needs.

One of the most common legal professions is the pursuit of a lawyer. This may entail day-to-day activities such as providing legal advice, entering negotiations, and writing contracts for a client. In some instances, it may also require court appearances.

For those that are looking to pursue a career in the courtroom, a role as a barrister might be of interest. As a career that is largely in the courtroom, a barrister represents clients within the courtroom and matters spanning across all sectors of civil and criminal law.

Not interested in a career in the courts? Fortunately, there are career options available for that as well, with roles such as legislative and policy advisors available all through the public and private sectors.

No matter your role, a career in law can be potentially lucrative, with experienced lawyers typically earning an average salary between $85,000 and $105,000 per annum, according to Seek.

A legal qualification can open the doors to an amazing range of career opportunities. No matter your interests, or existing knowledge of the legal sector, it may be worth speaking to a career adviser and seeing what options are available for you.

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