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What else can I do with a law degree?

This article appears in: Law
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So you’re thinking about studying law? If you’ve got dreams of becoming a barrister, a judge, or a solicitor at one of the big six law firms, you’re on the right path with a Bachelor of Laws at Charles Darwin University

But what happens if you change your mind right after graduation or even halfway through your career? Luckily, the skills you pick up during your law degree will set you up for success in a whole range of non-legal professions. 

Here are 5 alternative career paths for law grads that put your skills and knowledge to good use:


After a law degree, you’ll have done your fair share of research, combing through hundreds and thousands of pages of textbooks and cases. Journalists need sound research and investigative skills to ensure their work is credible and accurate. 

Though journalistic writing is objective where academic legal writing is more persuasive, both lawyers and journalists are well-versed in the art of processing large amounts of complex information to form a clear, concise argument.

Lawyers and journalists are often naturally inquisitive people, with a solid understanding of ethics and a need to search for truth.

Oh, and have you heard of a legal journalist? They’re the perfect combination of both professions, where a journalist provides specialised reporting on law-related topics. It combines your intricate knowledge of the law with journalistic skills. 

Public Service

There are many ways to use your law degree to your advantage in the public service. There are roles specifically for those with a legal background, and then there are roles that rely on skills most law graduates acquired during their degree. 

For fresh law grads looking to find a law-based role in the public service, many agencies and departments (including ASIO and the Attorney-General’s Department) offer legal stream graduate programs. 

Thanks to your skills in analysis, communication, mediation and negotiation, law graduates are highly sought after for non-legal roles across the public service.

Public service jobs are popular for being well remunerated coupled with a great work-life balance. You can use your legal knowledge and skills without the stress of billable hours and late nights.


If you loved school so much you want to stay there, consider a teaching career. Not only are teachers in high demand across Australia, but you can still put your law degree to good use. 

At Charles Darwin University, you can even get qualified as a teacher in as little as two years with a postgrad degree. Plus, our flexible, online study options mean you don't have to sacrifice your current career or lifestyle to make a career change.

For the best of both worlds, become a legal studies teacher to share your interest in the legal system with the next generation. Many of your students will have selected legal studies as they are hoping to study law at university – just like you did. 

Inspired by your own law lecturers? Prefer legal theory to legal practice? Law academics enjoy the same benefits as others in the tertiary sector – flexibility, stability and a more desirable work-life balance, but entering academia isn’t a cruisy path by any means. It’s competitive, involves postgraduate research (though it’s possible to become an associate lecturer through professional experience) and then building up your teaching experience over many years. 

If you excelled during your law degree and have the motivation to sustain the long academic climb, a career as a law academic can be highly rewarding. 


It seems only natural that lawyers would be adept at making laws, right? 

Australia’s very first prime minister, Edmund Barton, was a barrister who crossed over into politics. Around one third of the prime ministers after Barton would have law degrees, from Gough Whitlam, Malcom Fraser and Bob Hawke to John Howard, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

Above your intricate knowledge of how laws are made and interpreted and the inner workings of Australia’s political system, your law degree likely equipped you with skills that are required for leadership. Think persuasion, negotiation, strong communication and conflict resolution. 

Prefer to work behind the scenes? Senators and Members of Parliament all employ staff to help with their duties. Working as a staffer means you can help to create change in your local area or on a national scale – all without having to see your face on a placard.


Many of your favourite authors successfully crossed over from law. Think Franz Kafka, iconic Australian bush poet Banjo Patterson, John Grisham, Matthew Reilly, and Harper Lee and Gabriel García Márquez – though technically Lee and Marquez didn’t finish their degrees before turning to writing.

Some have even drawn heavily from their legal backgrounds to inspire their works, like legal thriller writer Scott Turow and detective mystery novelist Erle Stanley Gardner.

So what is it about law students that makes them great writers?

Well, law grads have developed their persuasive writing and communication skills. If you can’t engage your audience, you won’t make it far as an author! Lawyers also tend to be organised and self-disciplined, which is essential for staying on track when writing a book over many months. 

Importantly, they both pay attention to the little details.

Any lawyer drafting a contract knows the consequences of an ambiguous or misplaced word. Analytical thinking and research, two skills that become second nature after a law degree, both come in handy when you’re trying to develop complicated plots and multi-faceted characters. 

Rest assured, these examples are only the tip of the iceberg. The skills you gain make you a highly valuable employee across a range of professions and industries, whether you stay on the legal path or not. 

A Bachelor of Laws at Charles Darwin University is still the degree that opens doors.

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