“Attending law school is a great decision. There are so many things that you can do with your law degree, it might actually be hard to try to narrow down the career path you would like to take, the traditional practice of law or working in an alternative career,” said August Farnsworth, Interim Director of Career Services and Professional Development at the University of La Verne College of Law. “There are an endless number of career opportunities available to law school graduates.”
- The majority of law school graduates pursue careers in private practice. However, opportunities in public interest, business, government, and the judiciary abound.
- Practical skills are important regardless of your career choice. If you have not yet chosen a law school, check out their practical skills program. You will be more marketable if you have learned not only about the law but also if you have been able to apply what you have learned in real life situations.
- Stay connected to your law school’s Career Services Office. “The Career Services and Professional Development Office is here to help students. We love to assist our students with determining and reaching their career goals,” says Farnsworth.
- It is important that your academic record is as impressive as possible. Take advantage of a law school’s academic support programs. They are offered because they work.
- Consider your optimal work/life balance. Do you have the freedom to work until the wee hours of the night, or would you prefer to pick up your kids from their soccer practice? Examining your personal responsibilities will help you select the right career path for you.
- If you are still undecided about a legal career, consider a dual degree. La Verne Law offers combined degree programs to give graduates even more opportunities in the job market.
About Private Practice
- Law school graduates can pursue opportunities in small, medium, or large sized law firms as well as hanging their own shingle as a solo practitioner. Each type of firm will have different salaries, responsibilities, and objectives. For example, large firms often offer the highest salaries, but the openings are competitive and the firms may require 60 to 70 hour work weeks.
- Attorneys in small firms and those that practice as solo practitioners typically have lower entry level salaries than their counterparts in the larger firms, but they obtain more experience and responsibility faster.
- Attorneys in private practice often pursue two or more related legal specialties and enjoy working with a diverse client base.
- Students seeking careers in private practice should focus on developing strong practical skills while in law school, including:
- - Analytical skills
- - Advocacy skills
- - Communication skills
- - Research and writing skills
- - Risk assessment skills, and
- - Risk avoidance skills
About the Public Interest Sector
- Attorneys who work in public interest practice advocacy on behalf of a group of individuals in society, often indigent populations or those with unequal legal rights.
- Public interest opportunities include practice in disability rights, environmental law, homeless rights, immigration rights and gay and lesbian rights. Public interest jobs pay less, however most attorneys truly enjoy their work and find it extremely rewarding.
- There are many attorneys that work at all levels of the government including the city, county, state and federal levels. Some examples of attorneys that practice law in the government are district attorneys, public defenders, and city attorneys.
- Government attorneys receive excellent benefits and can enjoy a more regular work week.
- Law school grads may also pursue legal positions in the military, including careers in the Air Force JAG, Army JAG, and the Navy JAG.
- Attorneys who work in companies are called in-house counsel. These attorneys handle most legal matters for the company.
- Working in business allows a law school graduate to combine an interest in law with his or her interest in a particular industry for example: banking, finance, investing, real estate, insurance, legal publishing, marketing, and management.
About the Judiciary
- Law school grads who wish to pursue opportunities in the local, state, or federal judiciary must have:
- - Superb academic records
- - Strong research and writing skills
- Students interested in the judiciary may choose to apply for a judicial externship during law school or for a post graduate judicial clerkship.
Additional Career Opportunities
Law school grads are also found in:
- Think Tanks
Here is a Sample of Legal Specialties for an Exciting Career in the Law
- Admiralty and Maritime Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Animal Law
- Antitrust law
- Bankruptcy Law
- Civil Rights
- Computer and Video Game Law
- Constitutional Law
- Corporate and Securities Law
- Criminal Law
- Employment Law
- Environmental Law
- Estate Planning
- Family & Juvenile Law
- Health Law
- Immigration Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- International Law
- Labor & Employment Law
- Products Liability
- Public Interest Law
- Real Estate/Land Use
- Sports & Entertainment Law
- Tax Law
“It is definitely important to keep an open mind and to continue to learn about as many opportunities as possible and try them out,” says Farnsworth, “you never know what you might like to be when you grow up, even after you have grown up.”
For more information about La Verne Law’s Career Services and Professional Development Office, please contact (909) 460-2016. For more information about admission to La Verne Law, please feel free to contact (909) 460-2001.