The non-legal career opportunities after getting your Law degree
9th May 2019
There's more to the legal system than criminal, contract and constitutional law. The wide variety of areas that a lawyer can specialise in offers a wide-ranging choice of career paths for any law graduate. And the broad range of choices doesn’t stop there. Each year there are plenty of law graduates who enjoyed the academic pursuit of completing their LLB, but would prefer to apply the transferable skills gained in three years to a different role all together. Statistics consistently show that half of UK legal graduates don’t work end up working in the legal sector.
Research, interpreting, evaluation, analysis, critical thinking, confident and persuasive communication, problem solving, memory recall, theoretical discussions, reasoning and formulating sound arguments, working under pressure, managing time, quick decision making, writing and presenting concisely and attention to detail are all commonly recognised as skills gained from studying law at university. They also happen to be the requirements for many jobs outside the legal sectors. So, if you don’t end up becoming a solicitor or barrister you could well end up in one of the following areas.
Politics and the Public Sector
Barak Obama, Tony Blair, Hilary Clinton and Nelson Mandela all studied law before rising to fame in the political arena in their respective countries.
In the United Kingdom, MPs with a legal background now make up almost one-fifth of the House of Commons. And for those who are less interested in frontline politics, there are plenty of opportunities to work in public service, with roles in the Civil Service, the Police, Immigration, Public Affairs, Trade Unions and Trading Standards. The jobs in public service vary from leading a policy area to operational delivery roles.
Banking and Finance
Many banking, finance and accountancy roles require a grasp of legal concepts, as well as numeracy. A career in the banking and financial services sector could see you in a range of roles, from investment analyst at an international bank, auditor at a governmental regulatory body to actuary for a small private firm. Generally, employees in this sector invest or manage money for their clients. As such, they need to be able to understand business and financial information so that they can anticipate market changes and respond accordingly.
Wherever they end up, finance professionals are expected to be adept communicators with strong analytical skills and the ability to assimilate new information – and, fortunately, those are the same skills you’ll have developed as a law student.
Charity, not-for-profit & NGO
Other law graduates end up in the third sector, whether that’s looking to work for legal-related charities, such as NACRO, Victim Support, or Amnesty International, or for employment with advisory services such as the Refugee Council, and Citizens Advice. For many non-profit organisations, a firm grasp of legal concepts when it comes to company law, employment law and tax are invaluable.
Many law graduates move into policy roles for charities, conducting research into a specific policy area or leading international development programmes overseas.
Law related careers
There are also plenty of career options that align well with the legal knowledge you will have learned during your degree. Many graduates take up careers in professional services business roles that require an understanding of law. Compliance officers are usually found working for financial companies and other business areas that are heavily regulated. Similarly, whether you really enjoyed doing an optional employment law module at university, or you want to work in the HR department of a law firm or with a legal recruiter, HR and recruitment presents a great option for law graduates too.
Of course there are many careers that simply require you to have a degree in any discipline. These include teaching, sales and marketing, PR and communications, retail management, start-ups, administrative roles.
The latest research still suggests that graduates more likely to be in employment and earn more than non-graduates; so whatever degree you end up choosing you are likely to be enjoying a long and prosperous career after graduation.
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