A good law qualification is one of those things that you really can’t go wrong with. Because it doesn’t just mean you have what it takes to become a well-paid corporate lawyer; instead there are a whole range of other careers available to you that require some sort of qualification in law. Here are just a few of them...
Solicitor or Barrister
After ‘lawyer’ (by which you’d generally be referring to a corporate lawyer) it perhaps goes without saying that the most obvious jobs you can get with a law qualification are either a solicitor or a barrister. What’s the difference between the two? In the UK, a solicitor tends to be the legal professional who advises their client and prepares their case for court, while it’s the barrister who presents it to the jury (think Rumpole of the Bailey, Atticus Finch or Kavanagh QC).
A legal secretary is the person who provides administrative support to a team of lawyers within a legal firm. Duties can range from the clerical and administrative to the organisational (jockeying a busy lawyer's diary, invariably), but there’s one thing that anyone who’s ever worked at a legal firm will testify to: you couldn’t do without them and expect things to continue to run smoothly. (Sound like something you’d be interested in? You can find out more about becoming a legal secretary here.)
A paralegal differs from a legal secretary in so much as their role might be expected to be made up almost exclusively of legal, as opposed to administrative, work. Close to half of all legal practitioners in the UK are paralegals rather than qualified solicitors and, like the legal secretary, are an essential link in getting the client work done satisfactorily. In other words, if you haven’t completed your LPC (Law Practice Course) but have a law degree or qualification, there are still lots of decent employment opportunities out there for you.
Trading Standards Officer
A cornerstone of the role of a trading standards officer is a strong knowledge of consumer law. Why? Because you’re going to be working for a local authority protecting the rights of the consumer with regards to goods and services and investigating any potential abuses or misdemeanours. Areas of the law that you might find yourself dealing with as a trading standards officer range from product labelling and weights and measures to fraud and counterfeiting.
Human Resources Manager
Hiring (and firing...) these days can be something of a legal minefield, in which due process must be strenuously adhered to. As such, having a good working knowledge of employment law – and probably some qualifications – under your belt is going to be a requirement if you want to work in a middle to senior role in human resources.
This last position is one that you might expect to graduate into in the more senior stages of your career. Generally a senior board member, a company secretary (or corporate secretary) is the one who makes sure a company is efficiently administrated and complies with any statutory and regulatory requirements. With so much responsibility resting on ones shoulders, an intimate knowledge of the workings of company law is almost always expected.
Fancy a career in the legal profession? Find out more about how to become a lawyer.