Career Options for Law Students: Top Ideas for Law School Graduates

“If I get a degree in law do I have to be a lawyer?” – a typical question for every law undergrad. Yes, you can work as a lawyer, but the range of careers you can pursue goes far beyond lawyering.

Whether you are a fresh school grad, law school student, or alumni, wondering “what’s next?”, kudos to you, as you are exploring multiple options not fixating on the most-associated-with-law-degree professions. If you are also thinking about getting a part-time job or applying for an internship already, head over to for professional help with your assignments.

Junior Job Options in Law

There are a lot of well-paid positions which require a certain experience of law practice, whereas some of them are suitable for law grads with little or no experience at all. Here are some junior legal jobs:

Legal Transcriptionist

An excellent option to start your legal career is to try your hands on legal transcriptionist’s position. The main job duties will include filling out legal papers, transcribing and editing information, and performing other administrative tasks. For this kind of job you need:

  • degree in law;
  • excellent command of language and strong proofreading skills;
  • fast keyboarding skills.

If you want to start your career path with legal transcription with a prospect of advancing to more powerful positions, your average annual earning will comprise more than $22,000.

Court Clerk

Being a court clerk involves assisting court staff and issuing orders of the court. Besides, the list of your responsibilities will contain record-keeping, examining legal docs, creating calendars of the case, contacting witnesses to get more information for court, and assisting in all administrative processes. The following position requires:

  • Bachelor’s degree in law;
  • experience in legal procedure and other relevant positions will be a plus;
  • multi-tasking abilities.

Those who aspire to start their career path with a court clerk position can expect a salary of more than $40,000 per year.

Courtroom Careers

If you feel interested in dipping your toe into the legal world, a career in the courtroom may become a great opportunity for you. Law degree presents you numerous options to consider:

Defense Attorney

The first law-related career is focused on defending and proving the innocence of clients accused of felonies. Those who want to qualify for a defense attorney position to represent people charged with criminal misconduct need to:

  • get a law degree (Bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year institution);
  • graduate from the law school;
  • pass the bar examination in the state they consider to practice in;
  • strong public speaking and decision-making skills.

The approximate annual income of defense attorneys may range from $50,000 to $130,000.


In opposition to fighting for clients who allegedly committed a crime, you can take another side to build a prosecution plan, prove the guilt, and ensure that criminals are fairly punished. Apart from epic and movie-like acting as a legal representative in the court, your responsibilities will also include close cooperation with police, law enforcement agencies, and court staff. Basic requirements are:

  • law degree (Bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year institution);
  • graduate from the law school with J.D (Juris doctor);
  • state bar license;
  • strong reasoning skills;
  • excellent public speaking skills.

As a prosecutor, you can expect to earn more than $75,000 per year.


It would be the next level career in law, though it’s smart to keep in mind this option from the very beginning. As a judge, you will assure following and carrying out the law in all the cases, be in charge of the processes in the courtroom, listen to witness testimony, and determine guilt or innocence. To take a position as a judge, you need:

  • degree in law (Bachelor’s degree and Juris doctor);
  • state-specific license;
  • not less than five years of experience practicing in law;
  • strong decision-making and reasoning skills;
  • critical thinking.

On average, judges earn more than $100,000 per year.

Non-Law Options for Law Students

If you are a law student but want to explore alternative jobs where your degree would be helpful, here are some career ideas that you may try your hand at:

Tax Officer

Students who are not afraid of responsibility and consider tax collection and return checking to be suitable can apply their law degree in tax inspection. Your duties will include checking financial accounts and tax-related docs and ensuring that businesses and individuals pay the right tax amounts. To become a tax officer, you will need:

  • minimum 4-year degree;
  • previous experience on related position will be advantageous (e.g., at customer service);
  • analytical and logical thinking;
  • patience, communication skills, and attention to detail.

The salary that you can expect for being a tax officer is about $62,000 per year.

Human Resources Officer

This job will be a perfect choice for extrovertive and sociable personalities with a good eye for the best candidates. As a law student, you will be familiar with labor laws meaning your degree will be beneficial for this particular position. The responsibilities of HR officers include managing all the steps of the hiring process, establishing conditions for candidate adaptation, monitoring employee performance, and ensuring employees’ satisfaction with the working process. To be an HR officer, you need:

  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • additional training, certification, or relevant experience;
  • strong communication, problem-solving, and time-management skills.

The average annual income of a human resources officer is about $65,000.

Let’s Sum It Up

Because of the multidisciplinarity, law degree opens the doors to multiple careers, both legal and non-law. Some of them require years of practice and experience, while others may become your first job after graduation. And remember, no degree can impose limits on your future career choice as long as you strive and work hard for it. Here are some examples of famous people who you did not expect to have a law degree:

  • Barack Obama – 44th president of the United States.
  • Henri Matisse – French artist and sculptor.
  • Mahatma Gandhi – Leader of the Indian Independence Movement.
  • Rebel Wilson – Australian actress.
  • Harper Lee – famous writer, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.
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