Alternative careers with a law degree
You can have a career in law without becoming a solicitor. If you’ve completed your law degree or graduate diploma in law, there are other professions that would value your qualifications.
- Chartered legal executive
- Judicial assistant
- Law costs lawyer
- Legal cashier
- Legal secretary
- Probate practitioner
- Researcher at Law Commission
Barristers represent clients in court and through legal proceedings. They present their client’s case before a judge or jury. They are independent and unbiased sources of legal advice.
Chartered legal executives are qualified lawyers who specialise in one area of law, such as litigation or conveyancing.
Legal executives can go on to become solicitors, law firm partners or managers, or hold judicial posts.
With a law degree, you can complete the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives graduate fast-track diploma.
Licensed conveyancers specialise in the legal aspects of buying and selling property, known as a conveyancing transaction.
Judicial assistants support members of the court, usually by doing legal research. The role can vary depending on which jurisdiction they work in. Areas of work can include family, employment and commercial law for example.
Solicitors and barristers often start their careers in this role as it gives them the opportunity to work closely with judicial members of the court.
Law costs lawyers make sure clients are properly charged for work undertaken on their behalf. They help divide up costs between the prosecuting and defending advisers at the end of long and complex cases.
They may represent clients in court when there’s an issue over costs. For example, if a client is unhappy with their solicitor’s bill, they may be instructed to argue either in support of the bill or opposing the bill.
Legal cashiers look after a law firm’s finances. They process transactions and make sure the firm complies with the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Accounts Rules.
The Institute of Legal Finance & Management offers a diploma and legal cashier qualification.
Legal secretaries provide specialist administrative support to solicitors, barristers and the law courts. They prepare legal letters and documents such as wills.
The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs offers a legal secretaries diploma course.
Paralegals support solicitors, barristers and legal executives. They need knowledge in law but are not qualified solicitors. They are usually employed in law firms to work in a specialised department.
Licensed probate practitioners specialise in the legal aspects of inheritance, wills and estates when a person dies.
Every year the Law Commission recruits research assistants to work on legal review and reform projects. Placements are for 12 months.
Court ushers make sure that everyone involved with a court case is present and that they know what to do.
There are other careers which value law graduates’ skills, including:
- Civil Service – the fast stream is a quick route into the Civil Service
- policing – there are a range of careers in policing
- teaching – the Teach First programme offers work experience and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education qualification
- working for an MP – working for a member of parliament gives you the opportunity to help effect change in local government or on a national scale
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