Tips for Pursuing a Legal Career

Are you interested in working in the field of law? Many people are drawn to the legal profession because of movies or TV. They imagine themselves heroically defending the innocent or prosecuting the guilty. However, there are other types of jobs for attorneys and work in the legal profession that does not involve becoming a lawyer. The tips below can help you get started.

Explore Possibilities

You don’t have to decide right now about what kind of an attorney you want to be or even whether you want to be an attorney or have a different legal career. To start with, find out what your options are. Being a lawyer is a demanding profession, so if you are considering this, you might want to do some research and talk to some lawyers to find out what their career trajectory was and what their day-to-day job is like.

Traditional options that don’t require law school include becoming a paralegal, a court reporter, or a legal secretary, but there are also some newer positions. For example, if you have a background in nursing, you could move into legal nurse consulting. Suppose you like computers or tend to have a more technical mind. In that case, you could take advantage of current tech breakthroughs in law and consider becoming a litigation support specialist, which involves assisting an attorney with tasks such as creating databases or material presented at trial.

Get Your Education

Find out what kind of education you need based on the career path you have decided to pursue. For example, if you want to become a paralegal or a legal secretary, you may need an associate’s degree at minimum, but some employers will require a bachelor’s degree, and you will be more competitive with one. You may also want to get a certificate in paralegal studies or something similar.

A bachelor’s degree is usually a good idea for other career tracks as well. For example, if you’re planning to go to law school afterward, you don’t have to major in criminal justice or a similar field. Instead, future attorneys may study literature, philosophy, political science, or other subjects that give them a well-rounded education and good communication skills. To fund your education, you may want to determine whether you are eligible for scholarships, grants, and federal student aid.

Get Experience and Network

If you are in school, try to join student organizations and make the most of your alumni network or mentors who work in the area that interests you.

You can also look into getting internships or simply part-time work at a law firm. If you already have the educational credentials you need and are making a career change, talk to everyone you know about what you’re doing to help you widen your network.

If you’re struggling to break into the field as something other than an attorney, one option is to take any job at a law firm that you can get, such as a receptionist, and work your way into the position you want.