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.

Law Careers

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.

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There are several types of Law degrees available, and in the table below we have highlighted 40 different career ideas 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:

Careers Average Annual Salary
Intellectual Property (IP) Attorney $154,431
Managing Partner, Law Firm $154,364
Senior Counsel $151,638
Patent Attorney $149,984
Law Firm Partner $148,426
Deputy General Counsel $146,669
Judge, Trial Court $144,000
Senior Corporate Counsel $143,152
General Counsel $137,942
Associate General Counsel $135,782
Assistant General Counsel $134,162
Corporate Counsel $126,185
Legal Counsel $124,800
Attorney (Corporate, in-house) $121,181
Litigation Attorney $101,437
Associate Attorney (Law Firm) $97,934
Attorney / Lawyer $96,302
Criminal Defense Lawyer $89,958
Family Law Attorney $83,576
Administrative Law Judge, Adjudicator, or Hearing Officer $81,665
Immigration Attorney $81,206
District Attorney $76,746
Staff Attorney $75,308
Compliance Officer $73,389
Bankruptcy Attorney $72,570
Professor, Postsecondary $69,576
Corporate Paralegal $67,790
Contract Specialist $67,664
Prosecutor $66,707
Senior Paralegal $65,749
Assistant District Attorney $64,968
Magistrate Judge $59,543
Law Librarian $59,003
Entry-Level Attorney $55,481
Litigation Paralegal $54,859
Paralegal $50,769
Legal Administrative Assistant $49,658
Mediator $49,418
Legal Secretary $48,986
Court Reporter $44,652

*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.

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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?

Contract Specialist with a client signing a document

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.

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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

Group of lawyers discussing a case

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!

You can also view our journalism careers and liberal arts careers guides for more options.

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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.