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So you want to work in Law?

Essentially, law is the way society regulates its behaviour. The intention of the legal industry is to create rules of conduct that are understood and respected throughout the population and to run an effective system for adjudicating disputes and crimes.

Civil law is generally related to disputes between individuals, while criminal law is concerned with crimes against the government (or crimes that break laws the government has set).

A typical way to enter the law industry is to become a paralegal, a support person who does everything from filing to legal research. Many paralegals end up going to law school.

Lawyers also play a big role in the industry. They actually spend most of their time researching and doing paperwork, although some lawyers argue cases before judges or juries. There are many different kinds of lawyers with different specialities.

Once someone has extensive experience and education in law they can go on to become a magistrate or judge and preside over and decide cases.

Working in the law industry often involves long hours in a stressful, deadline driven environment. Most people who work in the industry carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and often have to deal with people who have been accused of a crime or who are victims of crime, which can sometimes be difficult. In general, people who work in this industry do have the satisfaction of providing a vital service to the community as they serve as advisors, advocates and protectors.

Types of jobs in the Law industry include:

  • Lawyer (also called Solicitor, Attorney, Counselor,Barrister, Advocate)
  • Paralegal (also called Legal Assistant)
  • Legal Secretary (also called Legal Assistant or Administrative Assistant)
  • Magistrate
  • Law Clerk
  • Mediator (also called Arbitrator or Conciliator)
  • Court Messenger
  • Judge
  • Court Reporter

Personal Skills

Five key skills that will help you score a job in the Law industry:

  • Strong intellectual ability
  • Stamina, energy and resilience
  • The ability to respond to stress in a productive way
  • A sense of fairness and integrity
  • Advanced communication, negotiation and persuasion skills

Interview and Job Hunting tips

  • Really research the law firm. They must believe that they were your first choice for the job.
  • Clearly understand your role in the law firm. Really understand what is expected of you so that you can impress them with your readiness for the task at hand.
  • Know your career narrative inside out and be ready to match your skills and experience to what they are looking for in a candidate.
  • Express your willingness to work flexible hours including overtime. The lawyers who do best sacrifice themselves a bit and have a drive for getting the job done.
  • You may be up against competition with similar academic achievement, in which case it will be your soft skills that set you apart. Show that you are proactive and like to get involved by joining a club, a team or a society outside of your studies.