It’s not an ideal position to be in. You’ve just spent three years (or more) in an incredibly stressful and challenging environment, life has been nothing but exams and late nights in the library, and now you’ve decided that, although you have completed a law degree, you don’t want to be a lawyer. Even worse, you’re half way through the course but already know that law isn’t the profession for you. Parents, having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on your university education, only add further pressure. It can seem like a pretty miserable situation but don’t panic, this week we’re looking at some of the things you can do with a law degree if you don’t want to be a lawyer.
First of all: damage control. If you’re sure you don’t want to be a lawyer, and you’ve only completed one year of your course, it might be smart to cut your losses and start again. This will save a great deal of money, time and emotional torment. It may seem like a waste, but wasting one year is better than wasting three. You should also know that you are not alone because law remains an incredibly competitive field. A study by the Higher Educational Statistics Authority in 2012 showed that only 45.8% of UK law graduates in 2009 were working in the legal sector. Now, attempt to contextualise your situation. You have an excellent degree, probably from a good school, which represents some highly marketable skills. You should also ask yourself some searching questions. Did you hate every aspect of the law or is there a sector you could see yourself specialising in? Have you considered emerging sectors, like space law? Were there any other elements of your degree (for example, law and a foreign language is a popular option) that you might like to pursue?
However, if you really do want to go then you still have plenty of options. Data acquired by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) revealed that 54.5% of law graduates in 2009 got jobs in the professional, scientific and technical activities sector which does include the legal profession but also covers accountancy, PR, advertising and recruitment. Another 8.9% went into public administration, 6.7% into finance and 6.3% into education. The Law Faculty at the University of Cambridge also cites recent graduate entering, among other fields, commercial management, publishing, information management, community work, and public protection, security and investigation. (www.careers.cam.ac.uk/sectors/law/cmslawalts.asp) Budget time to think about what you really enjoy, go to careers fairs and job talks (most universities swamp upcoming graduates with these events), listen to presentations, brush up your CV and consider internships. When searching, keep your eyes, and your mind, open.
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