Ever fancied a career in law? Along with medicine, law is often viewed as one of the most challenging career fields. Many people think that education is enough, but usually other steps need to be taking to ensure you stand out from all the other law school grads.
Here are a few ways to help secure a job in law.
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Take a Course
In most cases, some kind of higher education is required to get into law. Most people take the standard route of a law degree before heading to law school to complete their qualification. If you’re aiming on becoming a lawyer or judge, this is generally the only route, however for other roles you may be able to take other courses.
For example, an Associate In Arts And Criminal Justice could help you achieve a career as a paralegal, police officer, security officer or even a victim advocacy counselor.
Some legal careers are now accepting graduates with any kind of degree, so long as there is a clear passion for law. There are even paralegal apprenticeships that offer on-the-job training.
Be aware that whatever route you take, you will most likely have the option to take various modules which could help you specialize. This can help to turn a standard law degree into something more interesting for an employer.
Alternatively, there may be other degrees with law-related modules, such as a legal writing module on English course or a forensics science module in a Chemistry course.
Keep Your Options Open
Many people make becoming a lawyer their sole focus, just as many people taking a medical degree aim only to be a doctor. However, there are all kinds of careers within the field of law.
There are careers in HR, legal journalism, politics, activism, recruitment, law enforcement, security and even the government that can also be great for using your law knowledge. It can be worth researching these as alternatives.
You should also not let geography be a barrier. If you’re only searching for local jobs, you could be limiting your options and making it harder to find that dream job in law. Being willing to travel both to study and to work could open you up to all kinds of job options.
Networking is vital when pursuing any career. It can allow you to find vacancies you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to find. Don’t wait until you’ve completed your education to start meeting people.
Go to job fairs and visit conferences where you may meet people already in the law trade looking to take on new staff. Use social media sites such as LinkedIn to connect with people in senior legal positions and become an active member of online groups.
Many clubs can also be great places for networking. These may include university societies, activist groups, political groups or even debate clubs.
Take a Guided Tour of Court
Many courts offer guided tours. This can be useful for not only building contacts but building a better understanding of your potential work environment.
You may also be able to arrange tours of police stations, law firms and various other buildings in the sector. Open days may be interactive and may even offer hands-on experience.
Bag Some Voluntary Experience
Having voluntary experience behind you can look good on your CV. There are plenty of ways to bag voluntary experience within the field of law. Various charities may offer free legal support and may welcome those that are passionate about law and that have qualifications.
This may help you to develop skills needed for a paid job in law. You can find such positions at sites such as Law Careers. There may also be work-shadowing opportunities in legal firms and courts. These may give you some hands-on experience within a particular role.
Make the most of any voluntary experience that you can get. Ask your employer whether you can try your hand at certain tasks – show enough confidence and they may be willing to teach you some skills that could help when later applying a paid job.
Voluntary experience can sometimes even lead to a full-time job. For example, providing you have a degree behind you, you may find that you’re able to impress a law firm enough whilst work shadowing that they offer to take you on full-time in a paid role.
Start a Blog
Blogging can be used as a way of demonstrating your know-how, as well as showing that your confident to put your opinion out there. You could start a blog that provide legal news, legal advice or you could even simply offer debates and opinions on legal issues that interest you.
The likes of WordPress are great for starting a written blog. You may even want to create a ‘vlog’ (a ‘video log’) which basically involves getting behind a camera and creating your own videos. These could similarly be opinion-oriented, news-based or a form of advice.
Make sure to provide a hyperlink in your CV – most résumés are sent digitally nowadays so an employer will be able to read your blog/watch your vlog for themselves.
Be an Activist
Activism shows that you’re enthusiastic about changing the world and social rights, which is what law is all about. It shows that you’re willing to argue your case and can therefore be looked highly upon by employers.
Find something that you’re passionate about and get involved whether it be through charity work, protests or simply showing awareness. Getting involved in activism may help you to network. It may even help with marketing yourself.
Don’t Let Yourself Become Demotivated
The key to being successful in law is to stay motivated. Don’t give up when searching for jobs – keep applying and don’t let rejections get you down. Make sure you’re applying to positions directly and not just responding to job ads.
Enthusiasm is key in law, as you will be competing against lots of other enthusiastic people. Show your passion in interviews by asking questions about the job and demonstrating why it is that you love law.
If you don’t get the job after an interview, ask what you could have done differently to have got the job – many employers will be willing to give feedback.
There are lots of support networks out there for aspiring law workers. These involve recruitment services as well as counselling for those that are finding law school a struggle or who have graduated and can’t find a job.
If finding a job is taking a financial strain, do consider taking on a temporary job to settle you over. Just make sure that you continue to look for jobs whilst in this position so that your qualifications aren’t put to waste.
Even when you do land a job in law, always keep looking forwards as this will help you to progress and ensure that you don’t stay in an entry level job forever.