Top 11 Jobs for Pre-Law and Legal Studies Majors
What can you do with a pre-law degree other than becoming a lawyer? Many people who choose legal studies or pre-law as an undergraduate major don’t end up going to law school right away, or even at all. There are many other career alternatives a legal studies major can consider.
What Can You Do With a Pre-Law Major?
The pre-law or legal studies curriculum prepares college students for a broad range of careers both within and outside the legal profession. Legal studies majors develop research skills as they gather information about legal cases. They learn writing skills while composing briefs, research papers, and essays about legal issues.
Pre-law students develop critical thinking and analytical skills as they interpret cases. They learn to digest large volumes of information with speed and high levels of comprehension.
Legal studies students refine their presentation, persuasion, and debating skills while defending legal or ethical cases in classes or mock trials.
Top Jobs for Legal Studies/Pre-Law Majors
Legal reasoning and knowledge can lead to many different career paths. Yours will depend on your unique combination of skills, values, interests, and personality traits. Many pre-law majors plan on attending law school, but there are other options you may want to consider either as an interim job while deciding on or applying to law school, or as an alternative career option.
There are many different career paths within the field of law. Law school graduates can practice general law or specialize in corporate law, tax law, antitrust law, malpractice, real estate, criminal law or another specific legal area.
Lawyers can be self-employed or work for a corporation or the government.
A job working as a paralegal or legal assistant can be the perfect stepping stone to law school, or to another career. Strong organizational skills are essential for paralegals and legal assistants as they coordinate documents and exhibits for law firms. Legal assistants must be very accurate and precise as they proofread documents and make sure that materials are in order.
Some legal support workers will utilize the research skills developed by legal studies majors as they gather information about legal precedents.
They tap many of the same resources like Lexus Nexus that legal studies students are trained to utilize. Strong verbal communication skills are required to explain legal issues to clients.
Legislative assistants help analyze proposed legislation and advise political officials about the impact on constituents. They use the writing skills of the legal studies major to draft correspondence, language for bills, and scripts for speeches.
Legislative assistants use persuasive skills to convince constituents and legislators about the merit of legislative initiatives.
Human Resources Representative
Human Resources (HR) staff need to be able to read and understand wage, salary and employment law, and apply legal reasoning to a broad range of personnel issues. There are many legal considerations involved in hiring and terminating employees. Benefits and pension programs and policies must be structured in compliance with legal statutes. Some HR representatives help to formulate union and employee contracts that are legal documents.
Persuasive, presentation and writing skills cultivated by pre-law students help the Human Resources professional in areas like recruiting, training and policy development.
Compliance officers monitor and review actions by their organization or clients to ensure operations, projects and procedures follow laws, policies and contract stipulations. The critical reading and legal reasoning skills of the pre-law curriculum help compliance officers to interpret legal statutes.
The writing, presentation, and persuasive skills honed by legal studies majors are useful as compliance officers formulate policies, educate staff and convince management about the advisability of compliance.
Accountants study rules and laws which govern how organizations collect and represent financial information. Like legal studies majors, accountants must be able to interpret how laws and guidelines relate to a body of information. Internal and external auditors draft reports and advise organizations about the formulation of policies and procedures.
Tax accountants must track the ever-changing landscape of IRS rules and legislation that impact tax planning. As consultants, accountants utilize the presentation and writing skills cultivated by pre-law majors to report their recommendations.
Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement professionals at all levels from local police to state and federal agencies must comprehend and apply legal concepts as they patrol, investigate crimes and arrest offenders. They must write reports that accurately and precisely incorporate details of crimes.
Law enforcement officers utilize the verbal and persuasive skills of pre-law majors as they educate the public and encourage compliance with laws.
Real Estate Agent
Commercial and residential real estate agents draw up contracts for leases and purchases that must be legally sound. Like pre-law students, they must read and interpret legal statutes and documents. Real estate agents tap verbal communication skills to explain legal issues to clients.
Agents utilize negotiating and persuasive skills to convince other agents and customers about the viability of proposals. They must be attentive to detail when drafting and finalizing agreements.
Mediators resolve disputes between parties outside of the courtroom. They must understand legal issues and convince clients of the benefits of forging agreements without litigation. Like legal studies majors, they must be able to view cases objectively and view issues from the perspective of both parties.
Mediators apply problem-solving skills to identify mutually agreeable proposals. Writing skills are essential for mediators when they draft agreements. Strong verbal and persuasive skills are required to help explain potential agreements and encourage parties to accept compromises.
Law Librarians, like legal studies students, must identify resources for gathering legal information. They must be able to evaluate new technology and publications to ensure that attorneys have the best resources available.
Law librarians enlist strong communications skills to advise lawyers, paralegals and law students about resources suited to their cases. Law librarians must be well organized and systematic to create logical systems for retrieving information.
Government Relations Officer
Government relations officers analyze information about legislation related to the mission of their organization. Writing skills, developed through the legal studies major, are essential when drafting summaries of legislative proposals for staff. Verbal and persuasive skills help government relations officers to present issues to legislative staff.
Government relations officers apply knowledge of the legislative process to track bills and strategize about the best timing for interventions. They are required to read and comprehend large volumes of legally oriented information.