University can be stressful enough, without the added pressure of trying to decide what career you want to go into if you decide that becoming a solicitor or barrister is not for you. If you don’t want to enter the law profession in these two ways, having a law degree is still an excellent way of entering other careers that may interest you more. Here are 5 alternative career paths, some remaining in the legal sphere and some not, which may help!
CILEX – or the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives – is the governing body for Chartered Legal Executive lawyers, legal practitioners, and paralegals. CILEX works with the Government and the Ministry of Justice to offer access to a flexible career in law and can allow you to receive on-the-job training in solicitors’ offices or other legal departments. This would be the perfect opportunity for those put off by the rigid, traditional routes of the LPC or BPTC, and would allow a much more flexible entrance into the legal sector.
Becoming a Paralegal is somewhat of a common choice amongst law graduates, whether as a career choice or as a way of trying to gain a training contract with the firm. As a paralegal, you would be supporting lawyers in their work, and this could include: taking statements from witnesses; researching cases and any legal information needed; helping lawyers to prepare for court cases and drafting documents and letters as well as much more. Paralegals can also decide to specialise in one specific branch of the law. This is, again, a good way of entering the legal sphere, without taking a BPTC or LPC. However, if you choose, it could be a pathway to gain a training contract and funding for an LPC if you decide to take that at a later date.
Being a member of the Police Force can be a challenging, hard job, with many difficult situations arising. However, if you do enjoy a challenge, and working with people to try and fight for justice, it may be a job for you. The Police currently offer a number of options for graduates, with the most common being a “fast track programme”. This programme offers an accelerated promotion scheme, which can allow graduates the change to go from police constable to inspector in just three years. Speaking to The Guardian, Indiya Eckley – who graduated with a degree in Criminology and Law from the University of Derby – started working for the Police Force as part of this programme. She said that
“It’s an exciting thing to do and an amazing experience, but it’s hard work because it’s not your standard nine to five. So many challenges are created and thrown at you. The mystery makes the job exciting: No day is ever the same.”
If this sounds appealing to you, a job in the Police may be the perfect way to enter the legal work place at a different angle to that of a solicitor or barrister.
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, Chuka Umunna, Nelson Mandela – all names you would associate with the world of politics. Yet, all of these political personalities also have law degrees. A law degree teaches you to argue, critically analyse, see both sides to a debate, and law school, in general, can give you public speaking opportunities such as mooting. These skills are all easily transferable to a career in politics – as shown by the fact that 14% of MPs in 2010 had past careers either as a solicitor or at the Bar. There is also plenty of opportunity behind the doors of politics for law graduates; many Parliamentary Researchers for MPs (involved in running the MP’s Westminster Office, and providing support with briefings on legislation) have law degrees. If you are interested in the political world, there is likely to be a job for you with a law degree.
Ombudsman is a term you may vaguely recall hearing in Public Law lectures, and they can offer an exciting opportunity into entering the public legal world, without entering the solicitor or barrister route. Ombudsman deal with complaints in a variety of sectors – from Parliamentary complaints to Health Service complaints, and are seen as the first port of call for those with complaints, before the much more formal Judicial Review. Analytical skills, problem-solving, and writing letters and documents are key to being an Ombudsman – something which a law degree provides. If you enjoy hands-on work, and public law, this may be the role for you.