What comes to mind when you picture the legal profession? If you’re like most people, you imagine a high-powered attorney in a courtroom setting. This image, although common, is by no means representative of the field as a whole.
Attorneys serve clients in a variety of settings and capacities—and along the way, they’re assisted by paralegals, law clerks, intake representatives, and a variety of other skilled individuals who are just as passionate about their work in the legal field.
If you’re fascinated by law but not particularly interested in becoming an attorney, you can still make a difference in this thriving sector. Whether you work for a law firm, with the court system, or in marketing, your efforts can make a real difference. With a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, you’ll enjoy access to a variety of exciting career opportunities. Several of these are explained in detail below:
As a paralegal, you will play a critical role in investigating cases and drafting legal documents. Your efforts could make a huge difference during the discovery phase, which sets the stage for a successful resolution down the road.
Beyond conducting research, you may be actively involved in trials or other legal proceedings. In such settings, you may fulfill essential duties such as handling exhibits or taking notes for attorneys to review later on.
An understanding of key legal terms and concepts is critical to success as a paralegal, but you’ll also want to develop extensive technological skills. If you’re like many modern paralegals, you’ll handle a large volume of documents via dedicated case management software or electronic discovery tools.
While many paralegals work for law firms, this career path can also involve a variety of other settings and organizations. Many paralegals work for government agencies. Others are employed at the corporate level in the fields of finance or insurance. The increasing need for paralegals in such settings has prompted rapid growth in this field, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics citing an above-average job outlook of 12 percent by 2028.
If you love the intellectual stimulation of case law, you’ll quickly become entranced with your day-to-day work as a law clerk. Research is a key component of this career path, which may involve the in-depth examination of federal and state statutes, court records, legal briefs, and a variety of other critical documents.
While considerable overlap often exists between the duties taken on by law clerks and paralegals, several differences are worth noting. Paralegals are sometimes able to find work after obtaining a certificate or associate degree, but finding employment as a law clerk will prove almost impossible without more extensive education, such as a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies.
While paralegals generally work for small or midsize law firms, law clerks are more commonly employed by judges or larger legal practices. They often hold the authority to dispense legal advice. Meanwhile, most paralegals are required to refer clients to attorneys.
Often, aspiring attorneys begin their careers as law clerks in hopes of eventually working their way up the professional ladder. As such, requirements differ considerably from one position to the next. Some openings are limited to law school graduates or attendees, while other employers accept candidates with four-year degrees.
Legal Intake Representative
When clients call law firms in hopes of learning more about top services, they typically interact with intake representatives. These helpful individuals are fully on board with the culture and philosophies of the practices they serve. During intake calls, they convey these values while making potential clients feel welcome from the start.
Intake staffers essentially act as sales representatives, seeking a swift close to ensure the most effective possible use of marketing dollars. Their efforts also set the stage for effective attorney-client relationships, as those who feel cared for from the get-go are more likely to communicate openly and honestly with their lawyers.
Legal Marketing Specialist
Law firms invest a great deal of effort in attracting and retaining strong prospects. Increasingly, these campaigns occur online, where poor management can lead to wasted resources and a low return on investment. Attorneys occupied by increasing caseloads may look to marketing specialists to handle the complications of attracting qualified leads who actually hold the potential to become long-term clients.
Effective communication is critical to success in law firm marketing, of course, but attorneys also may prefer that the specialists who serve their firms understand the ins and outs of their legal niches. For this reason, many favor those with related academic credentials.
Not all Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies graduates work for law firms. Many play a vital role in the modern court system. Court reporters, for example, create accurate written transcriptions of the verbal interactions and physical gestures that occur during depositions, trials, and other legal proceedings. Sometimes referred to as stenographers, these employees provide detailed records of legal events that can be referenced as needed by judges, prosecutors, attorneys, plaintiffs, and defendants.
Testimony transcribed by reporters may be read back onsite at the judge’s request or provided for use at a later date. If testimony proves inaudible or otherwise difficult to understand, reporters may seek clarification. However, most are skilled enough to understand and promptly record testimony that others may struggle to keep up with during fast-paced legal proceedings.
Human Resources Representative
Legal studies programs help students develop a variety of transferable skills that can be called upon in numerous fields. Some graduates find themselves quickly adapting to the field of HR, where their legal reasoning and extensive understanding of employment law may lend them a valuable perspective. They can play a critical role in developing fully compliant policies and initiatives to ensure that hiring, benefits, and pensions are carried out according to local and federal statutes.
There’s a lot to love about the fast-paced field of law. This surprisingly versatile career track offers a myriad of exciting opportunities. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box as you seek your dream job.