By Mia Casey
While many students undertake a law degree without any intention of practicing law, the recent onslaught of news articles bemoaning the lack of jobs for law graduates can be more than a little off-putting. Throughout this, it is important to remember that law degrees foster a variety of skills and experiences sought after in a number of fields. So if you’re studying law and thinking of branching out beyond the traditional legal career pathways, read on!
When studying law, you’ll come to realise that one of the key elements many subjects assess you on is your ability to think critically and analyse information. Being able to receive data and strategically determine what is relevant to helping your company achieve its goals is a valuable ability. For example, if you work in business and another company approaches yours with a new venture, being able to analyse the offer to determine its benefits and downfalls is crucial. Critical thinking can also be highly beneficial in more creative fields, as it can encourage new ideas!
Interpersonal communication skills
Studying a law degree often means completing group work with a diverse group of people. As universities are becoming more globalised, many classes include students from a broad range of cultural backgrounds, each bringing a different knowledge base and understanding to the issue at hand. The ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with a variety of people, particularly in a group setting where you share a common goal, is a great skill to possess.
Many organisations work globally, and being successful in a multicultural society like Australia will mean being able to share ideas, work practices and skills in a way that fosters open understanding and respect. These experiences can be referenced on your CV, and could prove particularly helpful when applying for organisations or industries that have a more international focus.
Time management skills
Many students manage to juggle part-time (or even full-time) work while studying. For those completing a law degree, this often means completing hundreds of pages of required reading for classes, whilst balancing work commitments (and a social life!). Achieving respectable grades and completing well-researched work, while juggling work commitments and extracurricular activities highlights your organisational and time management abilities. Many industries work to deadlines, so show employers that you can succeed under stress and still complete great work!
While problem solving is an outcome-focused skill, it requires many of the same elements critical thinking does: analysis, brainstorming and determining the logical steps to take to achieve the desired goal. Many of the assessments offered throughout law degrees involve hypothetical scenarios containing a number of legal issues, which you have to evaluate and provide advice or solutions to. A large number of industries (from marketing and business to IT and design) are looking for candidates with proven problem solving ability. While some may require extra qualifications, the ability to effectively provide solutions is a highly sought after skill.
Law assessments almost always require a high level of written communication skills. Spelling, punctuation and referencing are graded harshly, and any errors should be near non-existent after a year or two studying your degree.
The ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and theories in a variety of formats (eg. Essays, letters of advice, problem solving activities and group assessments etc.) can be exceedingly beneficial in a number of contexts.
Being able to write effectively is a requirement in a vast variety of fields – from drafting a proposal or report, to emailing a colleague. Showing that you can (and have) produced high quality written work will provide a boost to your employability.
Find out more about where your law degree can take you, by registering today for the upcoming Careers Beyond Corporate Law event hosted by UTS:Careers as part of the Festival of Future You! It’s an amazing opportunity to hear from leaders from the not-for-profit, government, entrepreneurial and traditional law sectors about what your law degree can do for you!
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