What Can You Do with a Law Degree?

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Working in the field of law is a prestigious career path that requires a great deal of dedication and education in order to be successful. For motivated students that have a passion for justice, earning a Law degree can give you the opportunity to make a difference on the local, state, or federal level. Whether you are working as an attorney or presiding over cases as a judge, a Law degree is an essential component for entry into these challenging, fast-paced careers.

There are several types of Law degrees available, and in the table below we have highlighted 40 different careers related to the field of Law. By looking through this information, we hope you will gain a better understanding of the different career paths that may be available to you after graduating from a Law degree program:

Job Title Job Summary

Median Annual Wage

Law Firm Partner Joint owner of a law firm that supervises the legal teams, handles cases, and oversees the daily operation of the business.


Deputy General Counsel Responsible for managing ongoing litigation and overseeing investigation on behalf of their firms.


Senior Counsel Mentors other attorneys within the law firm and is responsible for handling a variety of in-depth legal matters for their clients.


Senior Corporate Counsel Part of an organization’s executive legal team who is responsible for negotiating and drafting a variety of business contracts.


General Counsel Main legal advisors for their organization that assists with legal advice and possible company mergers.


Intellectual Property (IP) Attorney Gathers evidence and represents clients in court regarding matters surrounding intellectual property.


Managing Partner, Law Firm Manages the operation of a law firm and is responsible for delegating responsibilities throughout the legal department.


Associate General Counsel Attorney that assists a company’s general counsel by working to protect and direct all departments on legal issues.


Assistant General Counsel Works to ensure a company is compliant with relevant laws and regulations by assisting with the development of policies and practices.


Patent Attorney Works within a company to help ensure that their organization’s patents adhere to regulations and are defended from infringements.


Judge, Trial Court Presides over cases between prosecutors and defendants across a variety of legal matters.


Corporate Counsel Works with sales, marketing, and operations within an organization by offering legal advice and handling compliance matters.


Attorney (Corporate, in-house) In-house attorney for a corporation that works to counsel their business in legal matters and offer negotiation support.


Legal Counsel Chief lawyers of large corporations or government agencies who are responsible for ensuring businesses are working in accordance with the law.


Litigation Attorney Lawyer that specializes in dealing with lawsuits and representing plaintiffs or defendants in court cases.


Professor, Postsecondary Lectures and teaches students in a higher education facility and contributes to research in their area of specialization.


Attorney / Lawyer Professional in the field of law that works to advise clients on the best course of action based on their legal rights and responsibilities.


Associate Attorney (Law Firm) Responsible for a variety of legal tasks within their law firm, including research, court proceedings, and providing legal advice.


Criminal Defense Lawyer Attorneys that are responsible for representing clients who are charged with crimes in the court of law.


Administrative Law Judge, Adjudicator, or Hearing Officer Typically works for the government and is responsible for overseeing legal procedures for local, state, and federal courtrooms.


District Attorney Lead prosecutor within the jurisdiction who represents a given area during the prosecution of criminal offenders.


Family Law Attorney Professional lawyer who handles legal cases pertaining to custody, divorce, or adoption issues.


Bankruptcy Attorney Works with clients considering bankruptcy by reviewing documents, conducting research, and presenting court cases.


Prosecutor Licensed lawyers who appear in court proceedings on behalf of the government.


Senior Paralegal Experienced paralegal who works within a large law firm or corporation that is tasked with researching and documenting duties associated with court.


Staff Attorney Works in a number of industries to use their legal expertise in order to assist organizations with day-to-day legal issues.


Magistrate Judge Judge that is responsible for presiding over cases that involve municipal law, misdemeanors, and small claims cases.


Compliance Officer Ensures companies are up to date on licensing requirements and handles issues related to compliance with laws and regulations.


Immigration Attorney Typically works for the government to present cases within a court of law in matters concerning immigration.


Corporate Paralegal Works within a corporation’s legal department to assist the attorneys with a variety of legal administrative tasks.


Contract Specialist Creates, examines, and monitors contractual agreements between their organization and its suppliers to ensure they are legally compliant.


Law Librarian Works alongside lawyers in a variety of settings to perform legal research, respond to information requests, and manage legal resources.


Entry-Level Attorney Works to gain experience in the legal setting by assisting senior personnel with casework, research, and information gathering.


Assistant District Attorney Works alongside district attorneys to prepare case materials, interview witnesses, and evaluate cases for a jurisdiction.


Litigation Paralegal Responsible for a number of duties related to the litigation process, including handling documents and acting as a liaison for parties in the case.


Mediator Acts as a neutral third party in legal disputes to help resolve the differences between two or more parties.


Legal Secretary Works for lawyers or the courts to perform secretarial duties and provide legal support to attorneys.


Court Reporter Court official who is responsible for creating written transcripts to record spoken communication in a court proceeding.


Legal Administrative Assistant Works with lawyers and paralegals to provide support in researching and administrative tasks.


Paralegal Works within a law firm to preform legal, regulatory, and business research for their company’s lawyers.


*Data sourced through Payscale.com

What can you do with a Law Degree?

As you can see, working in the field of law can lead to lucrative employment opportunities that involve a number of different industries. Whether you start out as a legal secretary or work in high-level corporate law positions, a Law degree can open the door to a number of exciting career paths.

The table above shows the median annual salaries across a variety of different law occupations, and all of the careers shown are above the national average across all occupations. Those who have earned a J.D. degree and have ample experience in the field are typically the top earners in the world of law, and the average salaries for these jobs can easily exceed six-figures per year!

What is a Law Degree?

Those interested in Law typically can earn one of three degree types – a Juris Doctor (J.D.), a Master of Laws, and a Doctor of Judicial Science. When most people consider working in the field of law, they are typically thinking of enrolling in a J.D. program. This graduate degree will provide you with the skills needed to work as an attorney and prepare you to sit for your state’s required Bar Examination to obtain licensure.

A Juris Doctor degree can be pursued after successfully completing a bachelor’s degree program, and it typically takes three full years to complete. In the later years of your J.D. program, you may have the opportunity to specialize within a degree concentration to learn advanced skills in your field of interest.

A few of the topics that you can expect to cover during the course of your J.D. degree program include:

  • Criminal law
  • Civil procedure
  • International law
  • Legal research
  • Business law
  • Family law

For those who want to work directly with clients in the courtroom setting, working towards your J.D. Law degree is an excellent starting point to begin building your professional career!

Are there Law degrees available online?

The vast majority of states require that students graduate from an ABA-accredited school of law in order to sit for the mandatory Bar Examination before working as an attorney. However, if you are interested in practicing within the state of California, there are additional educational options.

California offers a select number of non-ABA accredited online Law degree programs that are recognized by the state’s Bar Association. After graduation from one of these online law schools, you will be eligible to sit for the Bar and obtain licensure to practice within the limits of the state of California.

It is important to note, however, that if you have any intention of relocating or practicing outside of California, your education will likely not be recognized in a new state.

Law Career Outlook

Those who are skilled professionals in the field of law are always in high demand across a variety of industries. Whether you plan on working as an attorney or as a legal assistant, the occupational outlook for those working in law continues to show an upward trend. To find out the specific career outlook and average salary for various law occupations, we suggest taking a look at the website of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to data provided by the BLS, lawyers are expected to see occupational growth of 4% by the year 2029 – about as fast as the national average across all occupations. Additionally, paralegals and legal assistants will see a 10% growth in the same timeframe. These steady growth numbers are good news for those interested in earning a Law degree and will result in the consistent addition of new jobs within the industry.

For those interested in a fast-paced career with lucrative annual wages, a Law degree can open the door to a number of highly-respected job paths. From legal researchers to attorneys and high-level judges, there are a number of ways you can turn your Law degree into a fulfilling, life-long career!

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.