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21 January 2020

Have a law degree but don’t want to practise law?

Successful Alternative Careers for Law Graduates



If you complete your law degree and decide your career should take a different route… there are options.



In some ways being a (management) consultant isn’t a million miles away from being a lawyer in that in both professions you act as a trusted advisor. However, the big, obvious difference is that consultants don’t practise law. Instead, you advise organisations on one of the following: strategy, operations or human resources.



The ability to debate and then scrutinise legislation for its implications and legal practicalities is an all-important part of the role.



Law training can help a diplomat re-frame discussion, pick through the detail of an agreement, grasp how other jurisdictions work.


Compliance specialist

Large, modern organisations comply with all manner of legislation and best practices, be those connected with project management, risk assessment or keeping IT and other systems safe and lawful. The compliance expert uses their knowledge of the law to ensure this happens.


Quality assurance specialist

The globe is mass of transactions and promises made between organisations and their clients whoever those customers are or what they expect in terms of goods and services. Organisations rise and fall according to their ability to sustain the quality of those things, and a legal training helps identify and avoid problems in those areas.


HR specialist

There is a vast amount of legislation involved in managing a workforce – everything from laws around advertising for staff, how you select people, treat them, pay them, help tax them, keep staff records and say goodbye to them. Health and safety, equality, human rights, working time, employment contracts and data protection are just some of the legal areas you’ll be involved in.


Advice worker

Typically – although not exclusively – Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) style advice work. Settings can include community centres, doctors’ surgeries as well as in dedicated advice centres.


Teacher or trainer

Put your skills of advocacy, persuasion and love of ideas to use educating the next generation. Or train adults in skills such as mediation in the workplace.


Trading standards officer

Ensure companies trade in a way that complies with the law.


Civil Servant

Via the competitive Civil Service Fast Track, be propelled into a management role within a government department.



Do you fancy being a sleuth? The two-year Police Now National Detective Programme trains you to be one. You’ll need a 2.2 or better plus two or more years’ work experience after graduating. The police force is looking for candidates who’ve had a dose of the real world, warts and all.


Legal recruiter

Your law degree will give make you relevant to the lawyers whom you’ll help place into work.


Quantity surveyor or town planner

Your law degree’s emphasis upon attention to detail will hold you in good stead either as a quantity surveyor who costs and project manages construction work or as a town planner who controls the growth and development of urban areas.



Lawyers are hired by clients to negotiate and understand the maze of contracts, detail, what’s permissible and what’s involved in financial deals and private finances – and that’s also what financial experts do be they budget analysts, auditors, financial analysts, tax consultants, bankers, stockbrokers or insurance experts.


Literary agent

Another role where the details of contracts are all important. In this case, the work involves with authors’ contracts. You also act as an advocate for authors.



Another profession where advocacy and persuasion are to the fore along with negotiation, strategy and listening skills.


HMRC official

Help keep the public finances on track by working for HM Revenue and Customs. Its four-year training programme will get you involved in taxation work and collecting tariffs. Its work would increase in a post-EU UK. The department is also responsible for student loans and enforcing the government-set living wage.


Border force officer

Be part of the frontline law enforcement organisation, keeping the UK’s borders secure and safe.


Legal journalist and legal publisher

Use your legal knowledge to write about legal development or commission legal texts, legal news and legal resources.


Whatever you decide to do, make sure that the path you follow is rewarding and worth your precious time. And if not, remember to revisit this list and make a new start!


Happy 2020 everyone!


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