Having a successful career in law requires determination and grit, an understanding of how law courts work, and a strong moral compass. One of the things it doesn’t require, despite what you may have heard, is a law degree.
While becoming a lawyer or other legal professional required a strong academic background at one point, the landscape has changed a lot, and there’s now a whole generation of legal pros who have taken a more vocational path.
Here are a few ways to start your career, without an impressive Law Degree.
1. Legal Service Apprenticeships
Legal service apprenticeships were once a fairly small niche, but today they’re taking the sector by storm. Legal firms all over the western world are beginning to recruit promising school leavers and people looking for a career change.
Some of these vacancies can pay a typical graduate’s entry-level salary, making them a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. Academic credit can help, but generally isn’t required, provided you can show good literacy and numeracy skills.
You’ll be employed by an active law firm, and will be able to put everything you learn into practice right off the bat. Seen as the company will be sponsoring you to undertake the apprenticeship, it’s very unlikely that they’ll let go of you easily, and will do everything in their power to help you towards a successful career.
2. Become a Paralegal
The role of a paralegal is the overarching goal for a lot of people working in law, despite the big salaries and sheer prestige that comes with being an attorney.
Legal firms have plenty of need for them, it’s very rewarding work, and can pay extremely well. It’s also a great way to network with other legal professionals, in case you ever need some trusted advice or an experienced DWI specialist to defend your rights.
Getting a job as a paralegal usually means that you have some legal qualifications under your belt, and a decent knowledge of the law in general, as you’d generally be working under a qualified lawyer, supporting them in the handling of their cases.
At some law firms, paralegals can even take on roles that are very similar to a lawyer. Having said that, some places will have you focussing mainly on admin and secretarial work. This can be a very flexible job role, and lead onto a range of other great opportunities.
3. Become a Legal Secretary
Legal secretaries are the foundation of every smooth-running legal firm in the world, despite the tiny amount of limelight they get compared to other legal professionals. There are a lot of qualifications at various levels, but most of them can be taken without any demonstrable knowledge or experience in the legal sector.
While some experience in admin and secretarial work can be advantageous, it’s not essential, and by the time you complete these qualifications you’ll have a sound understanding of whatever practice area you have your eye on.
After getting your foot in the door with this job, you may even have opportunities for further training and education, making you a valuable fee earner for your firm.