Law degrees typically open you to a range of careers. Our article tells you what you can do once you’ve achieved your Juris Doctor.
Law degrees are one of the most difficult graduate degrees to achieve, but having this degree in your portfolio can open your potential to many different careers besides being an attorney.
If you are considering attending law school and want to know what kinds of careers you might be able to achieve, or if you are already enrolled in law school and wondering what your career will look like once you graduate, you’re in the right place.
Our article gives you information about the Juris Doctor degree and the careers you can do with a law degree.
What to Know About the Juris Doctor Degree
The Juris Doctor degree, also known as a J.D. or a Doctor of Jurisprudence, is a professional graduate degree that must be obtained before an individual is eligible to practice law in the United States. There is no undergraduate law degree, and students who wish to obtain the J.D. degree must first complete their undergraduate education before going through the process of applying to law schools.
Any individual of any age, provided they meet the application and law school admission requirements, is able to obtain a J.D., and many law schools find themselves hosting a range of candidates at different points in their lives.
In addition to the Juris Doctor degree, the most popular degree to obtain at law school, students might be able to enroll in a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) or a Master of Laws (LLM) degree program, though this does depend on their desired career outcomes.
Careers You Can Do With a Law Degree
There are many different careers you can do with a law degree. We list some of the most popular below so you can review the varied career paths that are open to you after you achieve your J.D. degree.
Becoming a lawyer is one of the most common careers that individuals pursue after receiving their law degree. Practicing as an attorney in any field requires a J.D., and you must typically pass the bar exam in your chosen state before you are allowed to work as a lawyer.
There are many different types of law that you might be able to pursue as a lawyer, such as:
- Environmental law
- Corporate law
- Construction attorney
- Compliance lawyer
- Public defense attorney
- Criminal law
- Family law
- Divorce attorney
Of course, there are many, many more legal fields and companies that may need the assistance of a lawyer; speak with your advisors during law school to see which career field suits you best and the classes you might need to take to prepare yourself.
Business and Management
Many corporations and managerial positions benefit from the skills that a Juris Doctor aims to develop. Law students tend to pay attention to detail, understand contracts and legal matters as they pertain to business, and succeed in leadership positions.
You may be able to apply to a high-level role in a company of your choice with a law degree, and you might be able to attend a law school that administers joint J.D./MBA degrees to increase your chances of working in business after graduation.
Another popular choice for law students upon graduation is working as a judge. To do this, you will need to graduate with your J.D., take the bar exam in your chosen state, and apply for a judgeship. This will give you all the training you need to work on your own in this field.
Eventually, you will be able to apply for jobs within your state’s court system or the federal court system, making good use of your law degree.
Finance, such as banking and investment firms, typically require the assistance of a lawyer. While financial and investment law can be a type of law that you practice as an attorney, you could also work as a banker, accountant, or other specialty within the finance world, as long as you meet other prerequisites for a career in the finance world.
If you are looking for a more non-traditional career you can pursue with your J.D., you might want to consider becoming a law librarian. Law librarians are well-respected and work within law libraries across the United States to categorize materials and ensure law libraries are well-functioning. You will most likely also need a Master of Library Science degree to become a law librarian.
What Steps Do I Need to Take After Receiving My J.D.?
Once you’ve graduated from law school, you might think that you can enter the workforce straight away, but there are actually a few more steps to take. Before you are able to practice law in the United States, you will need to take the bar exam for the state you wish to work in. I
f you are pursuing a career besides practicing as an attorney, you might not need to take the bar exam, but there may be other prerequisites that you need to complete before you are able to start work.
How Do I Prepare For Law School?
If you are concerned about applying to law school, the best way to prepare is to study hard for your LSATs, work with an LSAT tutor, and take your time with your law school applications. Dedicated and consistent studying with careful attention to detail on your law school applications are sure to make you a competitive candidate and set you ahead for admissions.
And then, once you’ve been accepted into the law school of your dreams, you can achieve your J.D. and progress to your desired career, whether it is in law or an adjacent field.
Putting Your Law Degree to Work
Law degrees are hard work, and you might be wondering which of the many wonderful careers out there you might be eligible for with this degree. Fortunately, your J.D. opens the door to a variety of different career fields, so if you aren’t too sure about practicing as a lawyer, don’t worry – you can put your law degree to work in a different career field as needed.