When meeting new people or introducing myself, the question often arises: ‘What do you study at University?’ This question is inevitable if you are a young adult who seems academically inclined. I happily answer, stating I study a double-degree of Law with Communications and Media, to which I am more often than not met with the response: ‘Oh, so you’re going to be a lawyer?’ I smile awkwardly and say ‘Yes, maybe! We will have to see’ because that is the answer people want to hear. Vagueness is easier than being honest in opening the sticky can of worms with the label No, Actually, I Don’t. At this point in time, I do not think I want to be a lawyer. Am I ruling it out entirely? No, it could happen one day. But it seems like such an obvious, linear path, does it not? Of course, it makes sense to become a lawyer if you study law! Despite telling family members multiple times I don’t see myself working in a traditional legal role, they scoff at my sentiments and reassure me I’ll enjoy it, I’ll change my mind, and “If you don’t become a lawyer what will you do? Law students become lawyers”.
On the contrary, there has become a rise in law graduates pursuing other careers that are not typically legally inclined. The dynamics of the legal profession have dramatically shifted, with the future of the legal profession to be in question. Richard Susskind OBE explores this concept in his 2008 book, The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services. Susskind discusses that while there will always be a need for lawyers, the market suggests individuals are ‘increasingly unlikely to tolerate expensive lawyers for tasks that can equally or better be discharged by less expert people, supported by sophisticated systems and processes. Such lawyers do exist already like the ones at LegalVision NZ. Susskind further explains that lawyers are identifying their skill sets apart from the law, for example, litigators identifying as project managers, corporate lawyers as negotiators and deal-makers, in-house lawyers being risk-managers, and banking lawyers providing financial advice rather than legal advice. For the past decade, the market has been oversaturated with law graduates competing for hard to come by junior roles in all firms, not just top-tier ones. Prospective law students are discouraged from studying the discipline by traditionalist viewers, who see the only value of a law degree if one practices the law in a traditional way.
As a result of this shift, recruitment agencies, alongside law students and practicing lawyers themselves, are recognizing the Bachelor of Laws qualification to encompass a diverse range of skills. These skills are interchangeable and have the potential to meet the requirements of being employable in our changing society through non-traditional roles. Here are the most interesting jobs you can do with a Law Degree:
Interesting Jobs For A Law Degree Holder
This is potentially the most interesting job, and certainly very out of the box. Law graduates know how to communicate effectively, most have a flair for writing and crave creative expression after being contained to what seems to be a small grey box for so many years. Jodi Ettenberg, the founder of the widely popular website, Legal Nomads, chased her dream to become just this. After half a decade of practicing the law and saving her money, Ettenberg planned a gap year off work to travel and blog about it. Twelve years later and she is still doing it, having widened the scope of Legal Nomads and turning her blog into a business. She has also created an online guide titled Thrillable Hours, a play on words of ‘billable hours’ which accounting staff, law clerks, paralegals, and solicitors know all too well. Thrillable Hours encourages graduates who want to stray from the conventional path to do so and provides inspiration and resources for the road ahead.
In a similar vein to travel bloggers, entrepreneurs have big visions and the skillset to align their dreams with reality. Entrepreneurs need to connect and network, engage in negotiations, have perseverance when things go south, and think strategically. This is evident with Sarah Davidson, a corporate lawyer turned business owner. Davidson created her business, Matcha Maiden, selling traditional green tea in Australia before it was popular. Her niche grew into a Melbourian cafe, Matcha Mylkbar; and then the Seize the Yay podcast and non-fiction novel. She advocates for ‘Seizing your yay’ and following the path that makes you happiest.
Depending on who you ask, this may or may not be an interesting job, however, it definitely can be. Becoming a politician is an easier transition for law graduates, as they know the legal system and its functions. Lawyers are taught advocacy, fighting for justice and the rights of others. While lawyers represent individual clients or organizations with their specific
personal matters, politicians represent the wider community and their values. Engaging with the community to ensure justice on a wider-scale, close to home, is a rewarding and enriching experience for many engaged in the profession.
Diplomats, foreign affairs, and officers for embassies often have a background with studies in law. Understanding the functions and relationships between different legal systems is crucial in international affairs, appealing to graduates who studied International Law, Human Rights Law, Environmental Law, and Law of the Sea. Being educated on these global issues provide good foundations for a career in international relations, coupled with the passion and resilience needed in a high-stress environment.
Law graduates are taught how to think critically, analyze what is presented to them, problem-solve quickly, and communicate effectively with a wide variety of people and different situations. Law graduates have begun gravitating towards strategy consultant and analyst roles in an array of fields, as these jobs incorporate their passion for being a part of the solution while not being involved in the legal sphere.
While in law school, multitudes of essays are written. Graduates have impeccable reading, writing, comprehension, and editing skills otherwise they would have dropped out of law school after semester one. Editing roles, whether they be in publishing houses, newspapers, podcast scripts, is a fantastic match for legal graduates who enjoy reading and writing rather than analytical problem-solving.
While it can be stressful navigating the quest for a graduate job, law graduates and current students should find comfort in knowing their degree has versatility and flexibility. With a law degree, the world is your oyster – it does not have to be just a courtroom.