What Can You Do With A Law Degree?

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The field of law encompasses a wide variety of career paths. From law enforcement to studying government regulations, you have many options to choose. Law is considered “the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision” (www.dictionary.com). Become a high-esteemed lawyer in the federal court system, or if you’re more interested in enforcing the law, you can choose a career as a police officer as an alternative but still be educated in the detailed legalities of the courts.

Categories of Law

There are many different fields of law available to study for undergraduate and graduate students alike. A select few are presented here for your benefit so that you may better inform yourself before you make a decision on what your course of study will be in higher education. They all focus on principles and regulations, but they have many differences.

Bankruptcy law -study of how people who can no longer afford to pay their bills are able to obtain monetary value for their assets in order to pay their debts; study of how specific laws from the U.S. Constitution are able to help individuals and businesses from losing everything they own or from closing

Business law -study of laws that directly relate to the conducts and rights involved in sales, trading, and merchandising by business partnerships and corporations; can encompass both private and public law

Constitutional law – study of the interpretations of the written laws specifically in the U.S. Constitution for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the American government and its people

Criminal law – study of laws used against individuals and groups who have committed crimes

Family law – study of rights in family relations; specifically, marriage/divorce, adoption, child welfare/abuse, domestic partnerships, etc.

Immigration law – study of government regulations on what individuals are allowed into the nation, how long of a stay they are permitted, and how those without legal permission to be in the nation should be prosecuted

International law – study of rules nations have set for one another when doing business with one another

Labor law – study of rules and regulations in the workforce specifically involving wages, personal behavior in the workplace, and discrimination in the workplace

Law enforcement – study of how rules and regulations are enforced by individuals with higher positions of authority at state and federal levels

There are many other categories of law, as well. If you plan to get a degree in law, you will take courses that cover these types and more so that you are well-versed in the basics of rules and regulations set by governments to control their peoples.

How to Get a Degree in Law

Some of the highest-esteemed and most famous universities for law are located in the United States. If you’re interested in becoming a lawyer to help people get the justice they deserve or working for the government to try to make the nation a more comfortable and secure place, then you should plan on taking advantage of the law programs that these universities have to offer. However, if you’re looking to go into the field of law enforcement, there are academies that specialize wholly in that subject. It is recommended that you obtain at least a bachelors degree in pre law or law in order to qualify for graduate programs.

Universities with Highly Ranked Law Programs

Contrary to popular belief, the famous Harvard Law School at Harvard University is no longer at the top of the list for best law schools. This Ivy League university in Cambridge, MA, ranked in at number 2 on the Best Law Schools Comparison list. The median GPA of their graduates is a whopping 3.89, with the median LSAT score 173. The university offers opportunities to earn joint degrees (or dual degrees) and master degrees in various types of law; and more specifically, Harvard Law School has a total of 1,679 students which allows students the opportunity to have closer relations with their professors and advisers in order to maximize their learning experience.

If Harvard Law School is number 2, you’re probably wondering just what school has snagged the top spot now. That would be Yale Law School at Yale University. Although the school has the same median LSAT score as Harvard, its median GPA is an insane 3.9. It’s safe to assume that the GPA reflects the influence of the student-faculty relations, as the total number of students attending Yale Law School is a mere 638. After achieving a bachelors degree in law from an accredited university, Yale offers the opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in law. Located in New Haven, CT, Yale Law School boasts that an insanely high percentage of students find employment within a year after graduating, that percentage being 96.5% of students. If you want to become one of the top lawyers in the country, you shouldn’t hesitate to send out an application to Yale Law School.

Law Enforcement Academies

The Indiana Law Force Acadamy is located in Plainfield, IN, and offers education and training in a variety of legal authority positions. These positions include but are not limited to police chief executives and jail officers. You can access their podcast episodes, physical fitness standards, and more on their website to see if this is the place for you.

The Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) Law Enforcement Academy in Lakewood, CO, offers a variety of degrees and training programs. Participants can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice with just an extra 24 credit hours. The academy offers courses that range from Burglary and Theft Investigation to Vice and Narcotics Investigation to Victims’ Rights, teaching you academics and training you for field work. See the academy’s website for further information and how to apply.

Careers in Law

With a law degree, you can do a wide range of jobs that range from entry level positions to climbing the business ladder for higher paying paths. Whether you have an associates degree, bachelors degree, masters degree, or doctoral degree in an area of law and/or law enforcement, you have many options to choose from.

Entry Level Law Careers

Below are just a few of the many career options you will have once you receive a law degree.

Entry Level Police Officer

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Entry level police officers need to be personable and confident. Responsibilities can include but are not limited to patrolling a set area while on the clock in addition to responding to calls and testifying in court when necessary as a result of participating in police calls. A police officer must go through rigorous training and testing before he or she can receive said title, so endurance, strength, and perseverence are all highly useful qualities to possess.

Police officers with less than one year experience can start this position making an annual salary of between $38,000 and $65,000, not including any possible bonuses.

Bilingual Entry Level Attorney

Bilingual entry level attorneys are attentive to detail and possess excellent communication skills. They are responsible for insisting professional attorneys by performing secretarial duties like organizing client paperwork and arranging and sitting in on meetings in order to better understand the flow of the everyday happenings of successful attorneys. They are also responsible for assisting in the preparation of court presentations and meetings, as well. Being able to speak at least one other language fluently is extremely beneficial in the field of law, so this small characteristic can have a large impact on the position’s annual salary.

The annual salary of an entry level attorney can be around $45,000. However, if you happen to be bilingual, your annual salary has the potential to increase to over $60,000.

Other Careers in Law

There are many other opportunities for a person with a law degree to earn significantly more a year; however, just know you’re going to work for your money. Nothing comes easy.

Legal Recruiter

Legal recruiters are responsible for researching job types in order to determine qualifications for specific positions for which a law firm is looking to hire. They then contact employment agencies and colleges and other places that will allow them to advertise for open positions at the firm in order for the firm to gain new hires. After the firm receives a set number of applicants for a specific opening, the legal recruiter then organizes travel and lodging arrangements for meetings and interviews. These are just a few of the respoonsibilities a legal recruiter undertakes. Legal recruiters are expected to have excellent communication and research skills in addition to impressive organizational talent.

Legal recruiters can make $55,000 or over $100,000 a year depending on knowledge and experience.

Jury Consultant

Jury consultants possess good communication and reasoning skills, as they deal with many different types of people each day. They often possess background knowledge in behavioral psychology in addition to their law degree so that they can better read people’s behaviors. They are responsible for observing responsive behavior of potential members of the jury during the selection process in order to determine who would be best fitted for delivering a verdict in court without causing an uproar or seeming too insecure about the agreed-upon verdict. Throughout the case, a jury consultant often works alongside the attorneys to clue them in on behavioral tendencies or habits of the jurors assigned to the case so that the lawyers can better influence the jury to sway one way or another.

Because of their experience and knowledge in both law and behavioral science, jury consultants are capable of earning over $100,000 a year.

Companies that Hire People with Law Degrees

Now that you’ve got an idea of what to expect in the field of law, you can take a look at some of these companies that look for people with experience and knowledge to contribute to their businesses.

Pellegrino Law Firm – founded in 1929; one of the oldest law firms in New Haven, CT; located near Yale University

NBCUniversal, Inc. – headquarters in New York, NY; legal department in Universal City, CA, positions for legal assistants, attorneys, etc.

Foley Hoag LLP – law firm based in Boston, MA; hires lawyers, business professionals, paralegals, etc.

Lockheed Martin – headquarters in Bethesda, MD; global aerospace and security company; hires legal assistants and other positions on the company’s legal counsel

Memorizing rules and regulations is very time consuming and takes a lot of effort. It can be stressful at times, and you will get frustrated. Studying law is far from taking the easy way out. It is for the courageous, the strong, and the determined hearts.

Click here for more information on programs and other potential career options in the field of law.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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