Create solutions for people on a global scale and challenge yourself professionally by studying a law course.
What do law graduates do?
Graduates of law courses may work in a variety of roles in the legal industry, or choose to work in the public or not-for-profit sectors.
If you choose to work as a solicitor after completing a legal qualification, you can expect to perform tasks like:
- Meeting with and interviewing clients to determine the nature and extent of legal problems;
- Documenting facts and establishing what happened in particular legal disputes;
- Taking notes and preparing letters and other documents for clients;
- Conducting legal research, including interviewing clients and other people, taking written affidavits, and researching statutes and case law;
- Preparing cases for court by complying with court procedures;
- Representing clients in negotiations, mediations, litigation and other legal proceedings;
- Preparing and reviewing client documents, including letters, wills, contracts and mortgage, sale and lease documents;
- Formulating and communicating legal advice to clients; and
- Acting as a legal trustee or guardian on behalf of clients, or as an executor of clients’ wills.
If you work as a paralegal or legal secretary, you can expect to perform tasks such as:
- Conducting legal research into case law and statute;
- Preparing memoranda of advice on particular legal questions;
- Observing client meetings and taking notes;
- Drafting letters and documents for solicitors;
- Organising files and maintaining documents; and
- Conducting discovery and other evidence management.
If you work as a law clerk, including as an associate to a judge, you can expect to perform tasks like:
- Listing actions for hearing and processing documentation for court actions;
- Documenting details of court proceedings, actions and decisions;
- Enforcing the law as an officer of the court by executing court orders such as eviction notices;
- Serving legal orders and documents such as summonses and subpoenas;
- Managing probate and trust files; and
- Organising jury and witness lists, summonsing and swearing in juries and witnesses.
After completing a law course, you may choose to complete further practical legal training and registration in order to work as a solicitor or barrister. You may also choose to seek employment as a:
- Legal Receptionist
- Administrative Assistant
- Information Desk Clerk
- Clerical Worker
- Legal Administrator
- Junior Legal Secretary
- Media Liaison Officer
- Information Manager
- Administration Manager
- Policy Advisor
- Law Reform Commissioner
- Legal Advisor
- Policy Analyst
- Intelligence Analyst
- Child Protection Officer
- Strategic Policy and Planning Manager
- Correctional Services Officer
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You’ll find working in the legal sector rewarding if you:
- Love working with people
- Are highly organised
- Have strong written communication skills
- Can pay attention to detail
- Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Have excellent time management and organisational skills
- Enjoy problem-solving
- Are highly motivated
- Can think strategically and exercise sound judgment
- Can make decisions
- Can work well autonomously
- Want a job where you can make a difference
- Enjoy being challenged
The Australian Government’s Job Outlook predicts strong growth in job opportunities for legal professionals over the next decade, predicting the profession will grow to employ approximately 2,000 more people by 2020.
Job Outlook describes the profession as large, and it currently employs approximately 67,700 people. Job Outlook predicts approximately 69,700 people will be employed as solicitors by the end of the decade, and approximately 11,800 people employed as paralegals. Law course graduates may also seek employment in related fields, including the public administration, security and communications sectors.
The size of the legal profession indicates roles are available in all areas of Australia.
According to PayScale, a solicitor can expect to earn on average between $45,000 and $102,000 per year, with an annual average salary of $64,000. PayScale notes that solicitors with between 10 and 20 years of experience command the highest average annual salaries, earning approximately $108,000 per year, compared to entry-level solicitors, who can expect to earn on average approximately $61,000 per year.
A paralegal can expect to earn on average between $38,000 and $72,000 per year, with an annual average salary of approximately $54,000. PayScale notes a similarly strong, positive relationship between a paralegal’s work experience and earning capacity, with practitioners who have approximately 10 years of professional experience earning on average $65,000 per year, compared to the $50,000 earned on average per year by entry-level paralegals.