What can’t be done with a law degree? Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the profession, still wet behind the ears, or even just contemplating law school as an option, the maxim holds true.
Here are four career paths to consider, based on the accounts of those who chose to trust their gut and take the plunge.
1. Private Practice
Attaching yourself to a law firm is perhaps one of the more traditional career options. Fresh law school graduates are required to serve 9 months in chambers, before they are called to the Bar to become qualified lawyers. Starting out in a law firm, you will hold the position of Legal Assistant or Associate. You may be promoted to Senior Legal Assistant or Senior Associate after a few years of service. At smaller-sized law firms, you may be made a Partner at this point. You are either an equity partner, who is entitled to profit-sharing of yearly revenue, or a salary-earning partner, which entitles you to a year-end bonus on top of a monthly salary.
The good stuff: Stable income, high salary increment, professional exposure, flexible work hours.
2. In-house Career
Alternatively, you could attach yourself to corporations. For instance, financial institutions, public-listed companies, and multi-national organizations are some the companies that require a corporate lawyer. Possibilities include working in a corporation’s legal department as a legal officer/ legal executive, a managerial position or even as the head of department. After several years, your salary increments are expected to be higher than your counterparts in privately owned law firms. Additionally, corporations are known to provide enticing benefits such as a higher EPF contribution among many.
The good stuff: Commercial realm exposure, enticing benefits, attractive payroll
3. Government Agencies
If the two previous routes do not seem appealing, perhaps serving in the Government tickles your fancy. There are many positions that you can apply for in the public sector. For example, the Attorney General’s Chambers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC), are just some of the agencies that can be joined.
The good stuff: Stable employment, stable working hours, pension
If you are more academically inclined and feel that pedagogy and research is more your cup of tea, then academia where you should be. You can apply to be a lecturer in the law faculty of institutes of higher education. There, one can nurture the next generation of law students and play a part in the discovery of valuable aspects in the field through research. When everything has been said and done, you can publish a book about it all.
The good stuff: Stable working hours, a job viewed in high prestige, independence, easier-to-deal-with management.
After obtaining a law degree, there are multiple career choices, as outlined above. The important thing to take away is that whichever path you choose on your journey, make your choice based on what drives you inside and not based on exterior motivation.