There’s an assumption that a legal studies degree is only necessary if you want to become a lawyer. On the contrary, there’s so much more that you can do with a legal studies degree. While studying to become a lawyer will require further your education beyond a baccalaureate, there are plenty of occupations that you can pursue with a pre-law degree.
Students who graduate with their bachelor’s degree may not go to law school right away. Many graduates have gone on to find rewarding careers in other professions that are applicable to their degree of study.
For example, there are a variety of jobs to choose from in government organization through legal studies which you are qualified for with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. There is great upward mobility in these careers. A Legal Studies Degree can be a great stepping stone for high-level government positions if you plan on pursuing a master’s or doctorate law degree in the future.
The administrative team here at Florida National University (FNU) wants to inform you about some of these options as we feel that our Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies is a great alternative for aspiring college students who are looking for a profession that’s geared more toward applying their soft skills with a type of occupation that’s not as technical as a science degree.
Is a bachelor’s in legal studies the most valuable undergraduate program before law school? This is the question most students ask while charting their college education through to law school, which in America is preceded by an undergraduate degree. While the debate goes on about what might be the most valuable undergraduate program, most students are still searching for an answer that will give them a head start on their legal career while still in college.
The purpose of the Legal Studies Degree (LS) Bachelor of Arts Program is to expand students’ critical and analytical thinking skills, advance students’ ability to communicate complex data, both verbally and written. This training together with your aptitude for workplace soft skills, would make these jobs a great fit.
Here are 6 jobs that you pursue with a legal studies degree:
This is, of course, one of the most obvious choices. It’s perfect for graduates who have the desire to work in law, but might not want to invest the resources in going to school to practice law. Working as a paralegal is the next best thing! As a paralegal, you’ll be assisting practicing attorneys with drafting legal documents, conducting research, organizing files, and a string of various administrative duties. With this pre-law degree, you’ll be prepared to assist lawyers in a variety of work settings such as law firms, government agencies, private practices, and corporate legal departments.
A job working as a paralegal or legal assistant will be a great experience before starting law school, or any other career. You will gain strong organizational skills are these are essential for coordinating documents and exhibits for law firms. Legal assistants must have great attention to detail as they proofread documents and make sure that the documents 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.
There are plenty of organizations that support this profession. The National Federation of Paralegal Association, Florida Alliance of Paralegal Association, and the Paralegal Association of Florida are just a few organizations that can help propel your legal career after you graduate.
2. Law Enforcement Officer
Many of us have our own depiction of what being a police officer is. While we may have an understanding of the physical requirements of responding to emergency calls, suspicious activity, and apprehending criminals, there is a level of academic know-how that’s required for such a profession. What we don’t see or may not have realized is that these professionals have a job to do. Aside from patrolling the streets and handing out traffic tickets, law enforcement officers are responsible for upholding and maintaining order in the general public. In order to do this effectively, they must know and understand the law in order to enforce it and issue citations to those who break it as they patrol, investigate crimes and arrest offenders. Also, they often must write reports that accurately and precisely incorporate details of crimes.
As learned in a Legal Studies program, police officers utilize the verbal and persuasive skills of pre-law majors as they inform the public and seek their cooperation with the law. This kind of career can be worked on at a local, state, and federal level.
3. Get into Real Estate. Become an Agent!
Not every profession concerning the law involves cops, robbers, and lawyers! The real estate profession requires certain knowledge about the law at a local level. The buying and selling of property involve tons of paperwork that needs to be filed with the city. The city must keep track of who owns what, especially when it comes to land. In some states, an attorney takes care of these matters. In others, real estate agents take care of all of the paperwork and filings. Both commercial and residential real estate agents draw up contracts for leases and purchases that must be legally correct.
Just as pre-law students, they have to read and interpret legal statutes and documents. Real estate agents also need strong verbal communication skills to explain legal issues to clients. Through persuasive discourse, agents negotiate with other agents and customers about the viability of proposals. Of course, drafting specifics on an agreement also requires attention to detail.
There are also real estate agencies that house both a practicing attorney and a real estate agent. At any rate, with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, pursuing a career as a real estate agent will put you one step toward realizing your professional goal.
4. Law Librarian
Top 6 Jobs You Can Get With a Legal Studies degree with today’s technological advancements, the profession of a librarian has progressed in terms of technical responsibilities. Cloud applications have increased the need for a more organized, secure and scalable database that can be updated as new cases occur.
The career of a Law Librarian requires extensive knowledge of legal publications in terms of being able to retrieve and file them in an organized manner. In addition to managing a law library and keeping up with the budget and being an information hub for legal resources, the Law Librarian oftentimes is responsible for conducting extensive research for different levels of the law including, but not limited to legislative history, news and media, business intelligence and more. As a Law Librarian, you can find yourself working in a university, law firm, or for the government.
5. Social Worker
A social worker’s responsibilities involve helping people and communities. In such a person’s position as this, having a background in legal studies is always welcomed. The role of a social worker involves acting as an advocate on the people’s behalf oftentimes responding to life and death situations regarding mental health and/or abuse. Social Workers mainly concern themselves with the social and mental aspects of an individual. If it gets too physical, law enforcement usually takes over, but the two professions will work in tandem in such situations. As a social worker, you have the option of counseling child and family, as a school social worker, in mental health and substance abuse, or in healthcare.
These people might be experiencing financial issues, health crises, or domestic abuse, so they are employed by local and state government departments to assist. Social workers provide counseling among other services to help people find gainful employment, extract themselves from difficult family situations, or overcome drug and mental health problems.
In general, social workers need to have a bachelor’s degree in social work or psychology. However, in the case of government departments that provide social care, those with a degree in legal studies are hired to assist clients dealing with past legal issues.
6. Probation Officer
Just as social workers and law enforcement work in tandem, the role of a probation officer also works alongside the social worker. Although the probation officers’ area of expertise is to evaluate people who have been incarcerated, following up to test for drugs and substances that might violate their probation. The probation officer can be looked at as a personal law enforcement officer who also shares some of the responsibilities of a social worker ensuring the most effective course of rehabilitation.
Probation officers work in legal correctional departments that work in conjunction with local and state courts. Probation officers are responsible for performing administrative and counseling duties to properly assist defendants who have been sentenced to probation by the court. They can also assist the courts by monitoring and investigating offenders for any ongoing criminal activity.
A degree in legal studies isn’t specifically required, but most government departments require parole officers to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree related to law or social work.
Other Jobs You Can Pursue in Legal Studies
Law Firm Careers
Several career options in private law firms are available to those who possess a bachelor’s degree in legal studies: legal assistant and legal administrators are all available as entry-level positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $50,940 on May 2018. Although many employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, law firms also hire paralegals with an associate’s degree.
In some states, a bachelor’s degree in legal studies can provide entry into government positions such as a magistrate judge, administrative law judge or hearing officer. Educational qualifications for these positions vary by state, with some states requiring a law degree. You must be elected or appointed to these positions, depending on the process used in your state. The median annual wage for administrative law judges and adjudicators was $99,850 May 2018.
You can also find corporate jobs associated with a legal studies degree, such as human resources assistant, customer service representative, analyst, and consultant. Teaching in paralegal and legal assistant programs or working as an assistant or advocate in a community non-profit corporation are also options. Pay varies by position. The median annual wage for social and human service assistants was $33,750 on May 2018.
More about FNU’s Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies
The Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies provides students with plenty of career opportunities. With this degree, graduates will obtain an advanced skill set of critical and analytical thinking that will help them communicate complex data within the legal field in the private and public sectors.
If a student chooses to pursue a legal studies program at the bachelor’s level, it is critical to find one that fits the needs of law school; that is, a program that requires copious amounts of reading and writing criticism as well as research opportunities. Because there is no set standard for legal studies as a major, students are encouraged to do the research to ensure the FNU program will prepare them for graduate study.
FNU also offers an Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies. This two-year degree program has been designed for those students seeking a career in law with students taking courses that survey the American legal system. In addition, there are courses in communication, humanities, behavioral science, mathematics, natural science, and computers. Upon graduating, students can pursue upper-level studies, or commence a career within the legal profession pending successful completion of a criminal background check, and character fitness (including credit-worthiness).
Both degrees can be completed 100% online.
To start your career as a college student in legal studies, contact an FNU advisor to discuss financial aid options today!