What can you do with a degree in prelaw? Join Pete as he discusses possible career options for students pursuing a prelaw degree in this new installment of, “What can I do with THAT degree?”
So you’re majoring in prelaw, or you’re thinking about it. That’s great! Most schools don’t even offer a degree in prelaw, and so actually majoring in prelaw gives the prospective law student an advantage. Prelaw majors take a bunch of interdisciplinary courses in history, literature, philosophy, psychology and political science. The humanities prelaw degree stresses critical thinking, learning to write well and having an understanding of human society.
But what can you do with a Prelaw BA? Well, I’ll explain! Let’s get to it.
The first thing you’ll need to do is take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). This is a rigorous test that gets you into law school, if you pass. Submit your transcripts and writing samples to LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. This is a service that sends your reports to the law schools that you apply for.
The first option is to advance forward in education and attend law school. Be careful when making your choice of law schools to apply for, because you should make sure that they are approved by the American Bar Association. There are 203 ABA-approved law schools, according to AmericanBar.org.
After law education, there are many careers you could pursue.
The first thing you could possibly pursue, and the most obvious option, is to become an attorney. Attorneys are lawyers that counsel clients on matters of the law, ranging from either transactional work (corporate law and real estate law) to litigation (criminal and civil case law).
You could choose to become a corporate lawyer, or a lawyer who ensures the legality of transactions. Corporate lawyers need to have a firm understanding and extensive knowledge of contact law, tax law, accounting, securities law, bankruptcy, intellectual property rights, licensing, zoning laws and other regulations.
The other option is to become a trial lawyer, or a lawyer that represents clients in criminal and civil cases. This person may either represent the plaintiff or the defendant. In order to succeed, you must be able to persuade an audience and have great communication skills; you also have to pay attention to detail, because you will be sifting through evidence and witnesses’ accounts of what happened.
Doesn’t that sound exciting? But that’s not all that you can do with a degree in prelaw.
You could also become a paralegal, someone who can be either certified or trained on-the-job, depending on the state and the law firm. A paralegal is a legal assistant and is just as important as a lawyer. Although paralegals are prohibited from giving legal advice, trying a case in court and accepting legal fees, they write reports, draft documents for litigation and play an overall integral part of the case process in a firm.
Do you like to live on the wild side? Another related career you could pursue is that of a private investigator. P.I.s are trained to perform physical surveillance for long periods of time, and some of them are permitted to carry a handgun. Many spend days either “in the field,” or in an office making phone calls and performing computer searches. This career involves confrontation at times; your job could range from being hired by a corporate company to perform a background check and investigate something to finding cheating spouses. It’s a high-risk industry, but it is rewarding.
Other job options
Another job you could pursue while young in the field is becoming a labor relations specialist. These people have background knowledge in law or political science, because they negotiate contracts, including compensation rates, benefits, working conditions and rates of advancement between workers and managers. This career is based on reputation and integrity, and you must be able to argue persuasively.
Another option that many people choose to pursue is working in politics: whether you’re the politician that runs for election, the political aide that gives legal advice to potential or current elects or a political campaign worker specializing in winning elections. The field of politics is vast, and many people find it rewarding to be a part of making society’s decisions.
Well, that’s it in a nutshell! That is just a bit of what you could possibly do with a degree in prelaw, and I didn’t even get to go through all of the possible outcomes. With a little more education and hands-on training, a graduate with a prelaw degree can do anything.
Happy job hunting, and good luck out there!
Pete the Panther
Chief Operating Officer