Alternative Careers in Law
Less conventional legal roles
The legal profession can offer a wide range of career paths aside from traditional practice. Many of these jobs will be open to people from non-legal backgrounds, graduates from other disciplines or anyone who gains the required qualification(s). If you wish to involve yourself in the legal sector but do not wish to become a lawyer, or have found yourself unable for whatever reason to secure the qualifications you would require to apply for a role as a legal professional, then these jobs may just be for you, putting you where the action is without requiring you to jump through the hoops of being a qualified solicitor or barrister. These roles may also suit those who have the requisite qualifications but no longer wish to work as a lawyer or are finding it impossible to secure a position as one.
This involves a wide range of tasks associated with planning, running and co-ordinating the day to day workings of an organisation. A logical, professional approach is required as well as excellent communication skills. Opportunities exist for legal administrators within the public sector, charities and further education institutions.
Company secretary is the most common administrative post found within the private sector — this role requires knowledge of legislation affecting organisations, and will involve preparing itineraries, organising meetings, drafting reports and recording minutes. Most companies will recruit a secretary who is qualified in law or accountancy, but it is sometimes possible to join as a graduate and study whilst working to become a member of the institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA). Therefore, there are a variety of paths you can take while working in such a rol.e
Analysis and Research
Roles associated with this would include legal publisher, information manager and librarian. There are publishers who specialise in legal publications, and occasionally recruit people with legal qualifications for roles in editorial, production or marketing roles. There are also openings for law graduates to work in law libraries at large solicitors firms, academic libraries or other specialist information centres. Similar roles can sometimes be found concerned with maintaining legal databases on computers, and would fall under the heading of Information Science.
Community Advisory Work
If you have an interest in working within the welfare sector of law, it is worth considering social or probation work, welfare advice or housing management. These careers require relevant experience and further qualifications, and considerable work experience is usually required to get in. Those with an interest in law enforcement could look into the police service, as well as local authority departments, giving legal advice to the public and within the local authority. A role like this would most likely deal with issues such as planning permission, trading standards and environmental health among others.
Law is generally only taught in further and higher education. Most candidates for higher education would have a higher university qualification. In further education there is no requirement for a teaching qualification, but it has increasingly become the standard for applicants to have one. Law graduates can study for a further education certificate to teach on courses at A-level or similar.