Law graduates’ transferable skills give them an advantage in the non-legal job market, says Cat Pond
If you study law, you go into law. Simple enough, surely? Well, not to the growing number of law graduates currently branching out into a variety of different sectors.
A glance at a selection of university surveys on the destination of legal graduates, and a chat with my fellow law students, reveals a wide range of jobs taken after the completion of their studies.
Finance has an unsurprisingly large presence, but the property, marketing and voluntary sector are all well represented. Of course, there are the more unusual onward paths taken. One survey showed graduates becoming ski chalet hosts and taking on animal husbandry roles.
Still, there appears to be a kind of stigma attached to those who might choose not to become lawyers after gaining the relevant qualifications – as though they have somehow failed.
But as the legal profession – from the City, to legal aid firms – struggles in a harsh economic climate, this stigma is fading. While the most popular route for jobless law graduates continues to be to gain experience working as a paralegal for a couple of years, such jobs are much harder to come by as law firms cut costs by outsourcing or redundancies. Increasingly, the only option for the beleaguered law graduate is to search elsewhere.
Personally, I believe this attitude is something to be applauded, and in fact shows the commercial savvy and adaptability that is so prized by firms. Rather than beating around futilely while panicking about the state of their bank account, at least law graduates who move to other industries are doing something positive.
A friend on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) recently applied to Barclays Capital, and I’m happy to say she was accepted for a prestigious and well-paid position. Even if a training contract does not eventually materialise, her new role will be something above the usual boredom of a temp worker and provides the opportunity for career progression.
So take heed law students: there’s no need to spend years in a limbo of monotonous jobs while searching for legal opportunities. The skills acquired during a law degree can get you flying high a lot quicker than you think.
Cat Pond is currently studying the LPC at the College of Law. Previously she studied history of art, then completed the GDL, and hopes to go on to work for a London firm.