As a Law professional, you could be working in the world of politics to help create new laws and change existing laws; or you could be monitoring compliance with the law in the world of business or in the community; or you could be involved in applying the rule of law in the court system.
Developments in internet, media, technology, science, research, medicine, social and cultural areas often lead to creation of new laws, regulations or areas of specialisation for lawyers and legal professionals.
More about law professionals. What do they do?
Law professionals work in these areas and roles:
Hint: For an alphabetical listing of all legal profession roles go to glossary-law.
Courts and Judicial System
These careers require a law degree of bachelor level or higher.
* For more detail about some of these roles see the Roles in Court page of the Courts Services Victoria website.
Barristers, often seen wearing wigs and robes, advise clients and appear on their behalf in court.
Defence Solicitor / Duty Solicitor
A lawyer who represents an accused person in court. If they have not engaged a solicitor, they may be eligible to be represented by the court's Duty Solicitor.
Judge / Associate Judge*
Judges preside in courts like the Supreme Court and County Court of Victoria. Associate Judges perform some judicial functions in civil cases but do not hear trials.
Magistrates are typically responsible for hearing criminal or civil matters in the Magistrates' and Children's Court.
Solicitors are lawyers who work at a firm or in a partnership on behalf of their clients.
Para-legal, Administrative and Legal support
These legal careers often do not require a law degree, although law graduates do sometimes work in these roles either during or after their degree.
An advocate speaks up on behalf of an individual or a group, or even a cause. Whether an advocate must be a qualified legal professional is determined by the court or tribunal they work in.
Associate / Judge's Associate
Associates work closely with a presiding judicial member across the various levels of courts, tribunals, commissions etc. They perform a range of research and clerical work.
Bench Clerk / Trainee Court Registrar
Assists Magistrates / presiding members with court proceedings and resources.
Works in a law firm. They do research, draft documents for review, and routine administrative tasks.
Provides high level administrative support in legal practices, such as preparing legal documents.
Works to ensure fairness and progress in meetings to help parties resolve disputes.
Support lawyers in servicing their clients - they are often specialised in specific areas of the law.
The manager / administrator of the court.
Business, Government, Politics and Other
A Law qualification gives you the problem solving and analytical skills to understand business, contracts, agreements and partnerships. It will equip you to be a successful business person or a key part of any business.
Consultants with Law qualifications assist businesses and organisations to become more efficient and effective.
Conveyancers and Legal Executives
With appropriate Law qualifications, Conveyancers and Legal Executives can act for and on behalf of their employer or clients in many different areas.
As a diplomat you might represent Australia overseas, in Embassies, Consulates or work in a global institution like the United Nations.
Skill with words and writing, clear thinking, researching and investigating are all skills that apply equally well to law and journalism.
Legal Adviser - Policy & Communications
Law professionals advise many organisations, from governments and politicians to charities, clubs and organisations at all levels about policy, the law, communications and how to advocate for change.
Politicians make the laws that govern our country, state and community. Many are law professionals.
Public servants administer federal, state and local government services. Law professionals are highly sought after for legal specialist roles in many areas of government.
Law professionals may teach law, or write academic articles or books to explain the law or argue for change.
Law professionals and students tell their own stories
View videos and read first-hand accounts from university law graduates about their experiences in their chosen field at Professional profiles...
View videos and read profiles of students telling their own stories about overcoming barriers to study at university. Hear what motivated them to choose their area of study and what they are experiencing at university, at Student stories...
How much can I earn?
The lifetime earnings/ wage gap, between people who graduate from university and those who don't, is significant. Different research measures estimate the higher lifetime earnings by graduates at anywhere from 30% to 75% greater than school leavers1.
Average weekly earnings before tax (2015 data) for law professions range from $1,250 (Court Clerk/ Law Clerk) to $2,000 (Solicitor)2. Check out Law profession snapshot below, for earnings data in other areas of Law.
Law University graduates (Bachelor, newly qualified, under 25) can start on annual incomes of $54k to $60k, (median $55k)3.
Post-graduate study, internships, professional accreditation and experience open up a wide range of careers in legal, para-legal and professional roles offering significantly higher earnings.
1 ABC News Fact Check - see http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-29/pyne- graduate-earnings-and-unemployment-claim-overblown/5446462
2 ABS Characteristics of Employment Survey.
3 Graduate careers Australia - www.graduatecareers.com.au - Graduate Salaries Report 2015.
LEAP Partner Universities - from here, you can follow links to our partner universities' LEAP landing pages, for direct access to info about each university, their courses, scholarships, student support services, pathways options and other useful information.
Law Institute Victoria - the peak body for the Victorian legal profession.
Victoria Law Foundation - - an independent statutory body which conducts programs, including Law Week, to give Victorians the knowledge and confidence to deal with everyday legal issues and seek legal help for problems.
Law Council of Australia - the peak national representative body of the Australian legal profession.
Council of Australian Law Deans - information about studying Law and becoming a lawyer in Australia.
Students - Beyond School has lots relevant information about the world of work, work experience, career planning, pathways and development, and occupations for secondary school students. (Victorian Government site)
Study Assist helps school students and their families understand what support they are eligible for if pursuing higher education, based on a range of study options available to them. (Australian Government site)
My Future has a guide to career development, to education beyond Year 12, videos by professionals and interactive career quizzes. My Future also has a new myfuture forum, a tool allowing you to talk to people working in a range of industries. (Australian Government site)
Bullseye posters - School subjects you like and jobs they can lead to. (Australian Government site)
Job Outlook is a careers and labour market research information site to help individuals decide on their future career. (Australian Government site)
My Skills - Online information about vocational education and training options. (Australian Government site)
Good Universities Guide - online careers guide.
Start building your skills now
If you think a career in law is for you, why not start planning how to get there? Go to Building skills to see what you can do right now. Then remember to review your Career Action Plan with your teacher or careers teacher.