A law degree is flexible. You can take an expected path and choose to practise law or utilise your law degree in many other areas across the public or private sector.
For some, gaining employment during or after university can be a daunting and stressful task. In this section, Human Resources (HR) professionals discuss their views and provide advice for students wishing to gain employment. The HR managers featured here are working across a variety of organisations where a law degree provides the foundation of skills and expertise.
In this section we have gathered some insights from industry to answer your most frequently asked questions.
- What do employers look for in Law graduates?
Employers consistently express that they are looking for candidates that show a well rounded range of skills and experiences. This involves study commitments, casual work (related or unrelated), extra-curricular activities and interests.
“We look for an ability to be diverse and an ability to be able to work across lot's of different streams within our business... candidates that have participated in student competitions, have volunteered, are involved in a sporting club, or show some form of passion.”
“... strong skills in critical thinking... an ability to research, or interpret legislation, contracts and legal documents.”
“... technical writing skills. [Law graduates] can be really analytical... being able to verbally communicate but also communicate in writing.”
- What advice can you offer for the application process?
Each company will carefully select their application process. Some will involve an online form with many steps or stages while others will have a personal touch and involve recommendations or referrals from colleagues already working within the organisation. It is a good idea to be prepared for a variety of application processes and to do your research prior to starting your application.
It is important to remember to tailor your application for each organisation.
“It's about somebody being able to have the confidence to stand up there and say: I deserve this, I've worked as hard as I could and I will continue to work hard, because I want to work hard for you. ”
“Have a look at an organisation's values set and then see what you've done in your career or your activities that align with those values. ”
“Be genuine. Don't try to second guess what we're trying to hear. Answer the questions as honestly as you can... don't be afraid to ask questions! ”
- How is my GPA viewed as part of the application process?
Your grade point average (GPA) is viewed differently by each organisation. Some will ask for your transcript as part of an application process while others may never ask for this information. For those who do consider GPA, each will place a varying degree of importance or 'weight' on your academic results.
“It's not the most important thing for me... I need the transcript to indicate that there's been a commitment to the studies and you have a good understanding of what the law is... there's no judgement in the result. The judgement is in the process. ”
“It is something that would be looked upon, but it's not something that would be the first point of call... we look at it in the context of the who you are as a whole person - how you've answered your application... it's not a deal breaker.”
- If I don't want to practise Law, how else could I use my Law degree?
There are many future career paths for students with legal training that are not in legal practice. These options are available in the public or private sector and these industries will recognise your analytical skills, critical reading abilities, writing skills, ability to synthesize information, research abilities, problem solving skills and many more qualities.
“Policy, writing, Project Officer type roles... a number of managers also have Law degrees.”
“Commercial Advisors, Contracts Administrators, Safety Legislators.”
“There's a big push for innovation... that means programmers, technology... different production techniques... that all requires lawyers.”
- Where have University of Adelaide Law Graduates gone on to work?
For students completing Law degrees, there are a number of career options outside of pursuing legal practice. University of Adelaide Law graduates have found meaningful work here in Adelaide, accross Australia and on an international scale. As an example, some of our graduates have taken on fulfilling roles as:
- Workplace Relations Advisors within public and private industry
- Contracts or Policy Officers for State and Federal Government
- Investigators for Government Departments, Regulatory Agency's or Private Industry such as the technical and retail sectors
- Intelligence Analysts for Federal Government
- Ministerial Liaison Officers for State Government
Alternatively, you could combine your Law degree with a double degree and use your major to explore your area of interest!
If you are wondering where your law degree could take you, there are more resources available to help you: