As expected, law graduates frantically make moves to pursue one career or the other within the sector but to a large extent, reputable legal careers usually demand additional training and expertise. It should equally be noted that although the roles are similar, the names given to these legal careers differ from one country to the other. In fact, lawyers who must have originally been trained as either barristers or solicitors are known to have the capacity to function as both, interchangeably. Over the years, there have been cases where lawyers who kick-started their careers as solicitors, subsequently became barristers and vice versa. Therefore, to avoid confusion and unwanted complexities, legal practitioners who function as both, in some countries, are simply referred to as Lawyers. Below are brief descriptions of some careers in the legal sector.
Barrister: Also known as an advocate in some countries, a barrister’s role is to represent clients in a courtroom. Usually, barristers are called to action or employed by solicitors who may require their expertise as representatives for cases in law courts. This means that barristers are basically functional when advocacies before courts are necessary. In addition, barristers give legal advice, consistently pleading cases in place of clients and solicitors.
Individuals can equally approach a barrister privately, either for representation in the court (rather than going through a solicitor) or for specific guidance/ advice. A barrister generally pays attention to a particular field of specialization and this could be any of the fields that have been described in “Specialization: The Spice of Legal Practices”.
Furthermore, some barristers are classified as self-employed. Although, they usually belong to bodies; Chambers, with whom they share basic expenses. Then, others outside this category are those who are actively employed by government institutions, firms owned by solicitors, corporations, agencies, among others.
In the United States, barristers and solicitors are now referred to as “Attorneys”.
Barrister’s Clerk: Every career has its business aspect and Law is not exempted. A barrister’s clerk is that expert who is responsible for the business and administrative aspects of a law firm. He or she coordinates diaries, manages fees, markets the firm and develops its reputation. A clerk in the sector is equally known to have a mastery of court etiquette, regularities as well as relevant accreditation skills.
Solicitor: This is an expert who gives prompt legal advice on multiple issues. A solicitor is regularly responsible for constant explanations and consultations with clients. And while he or she may just have to deal with a client on some occasions, there are situations where clients could be a group of individuals or privately/ publicly owned institutions. Solicitors can also stand in as representatives of their clients in courtrooms, during divorce proceedings, in property negotiations, during child custody disputes and when effecting business contracts.
In addition, solicitors have to create necessary documents/ paperwork so as to ultimately come up with desired outcomes for their clients. They can either work for national or local public agencies or be employed by private organizations. However, on some occasions, solicitors voluntarily represent clients who are not financially capable to secure legal services.
Paralegal: Although it is improper for paralegals to give legal advice, they remain a good set of resourceful individuals who dispense qualitative skills when assisting clients or their employers, who are usually lawyers. In fact, paralegals are perceived as being integral to the legal sector in Canada. Individuals in the field are trained to coordinate legal information of their employers, manage clients’ caseloads, write letters and conduct researches on different cases. In addition, paralegals are tasked with conducting interviews, questioning witnesses, handing over applications to judges and taking down statements from clients.
On most occasions, paralegals work for law firms. They equally have slots in the legal division of privately owned establishments and some work with law enforcement agencies, police and other related armed forces.
Other Career Options for Law Graduates
It is easy to predict that the bulk of trained lawyers would desire a career in the legal sector, specifically because job descriptions in the sector are well defined. That notwithstanding, there are many other sectors where lawyers can easily thrive and excel tremendously. Due to the rigorous academic challenges, a wide range of topics covered and the relevance of knowledge gained in studying Law, a lawyer is definitely prepared to work with media houses, public relations companies, financial organizations, NGOs, Human Resource departments and so many others. In conclusion, lawyers perform outstandingly in managerial roles.
Universities with Standard Academic Training for Prospective Lawyers
If you are convinced that a career in law is the right step for you in your quest for academic and financial liberation, then, these universities are equipped with the right resources, conducive academic environment, and the ideal manpower to power you towards a largely successful career in the field.
- York University
- Northumbria University
- Coventry University
- Plymouth University
- Florida International University
Wow! Combining the insights shared in “Law: The Mother of All Careers” as well as those in “Specialization: The Spice of Legal Practices” with this eye-opening piece on careers to be pursued in Law, there can be no further arguments on the lucrativeness and resounding relevance of Law as an academic field. If you have read the piece until this point, I’m sure you are equally convinced.
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