Want to be the next Harvey Specter?
Law careers aren’t just about being a lawyer. Do you want to work in legal aid and help change peoples lives, or be at the forefront of new inventions being brought to the public, or give peace back to a family during the worst of times. Working in the legal sector can offer all of these and more.
Types of Law Careers
profile crimes and courtroom dramas are in the news every day. What you read about is the what, the who and the why but often you don’t hear about the barristers who are defending or prosecuting cases. Barristers represent people, businesses or government organisations in court dealing with complex legal issues and disputes. They conduct negotiations, consult with witnesses and clients, research points of law from similar cases and provide legal opinions. Barristers are usually briefed by solicitors, who instruct them on behalf of their client when specialist expertise or advocacy skills are required. Often barristers specialise in one area such as environmental law or criminal law. Being a barrister requires top marks academically as it’s a very challenging career. It’s also a high pressure role, that requires standing in front of a court explaining technical legal issues. To be a barrister you must have a high standard of ethics and professional conduct. You also get to wear a wig & gown! To become a barrister the first step is to become a lawyer. Depending on where you live in Australia, this involves getting a law degree or a diploma in law and completing practical legal training and applying to and meeting all necessary requirements of the Supreme Court. To then become a barrister requires sitting the Bar exams. Whilst becoming a barrister is a long road, there are good job prospects at the end of it because there is an increasing use of the court system and legal specialists. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/197/barrister
For many people the term conveyancing isn’t one they’ve heard. Being a conveyancer is all about helping people buy and sell property. They are specialists who advise clients on contractual requirements, conduct title and other required searches, and draft sale contracts. Conveyancers liaise with solicitors, real estate agents and mortgage lenders and make sure contracts are appropriately signed and exchanged. In some situations conveyancers may need to investigate the legal ownership of property before a sale can take place. They must be able to explain complex legal terminology to their clients and use good clear communication when dealing with all parties. Conveyancers are skilled researchers who have a keen eye for detail, they are also required to show integrity as part of the legal sector. Some work for law firms, banks and financial institutions or specialist conveyancing businesses, and others are self-employed. Generally the role is a Monday to Friday job but there may be visits to clients at their home in the evening or at weekends. To become a conveyancer you need to complete an accredited course in conveyancing and do practical experience. Depending on which State you live in you may need a licence, or may be required to work under the supervision of a qualified solicitor. Given the nature of the industry there is a constant need for conveyancers, however jobs are relative to the number of properties being bought and sold. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/770/conveyancer
Everyone has a right to legal advice and assistance in Australia, regardless of who they are. Legal aid officers provide free or subsidised advice to people who are socially or economically disadvantaged. They are a special type of lawyer and provide all the same services to clients that lawyers do. They meet with clients, prepare contracts or letters, attend mediation or arbitration on behalf of their clients, calculate compensation or damage claims, and draw up cases ready for court proceedings. Every State has a different legal aid system and organisation so roles differ depending on where you live. Being a legal aid officer requires a strong passion for justice and fairness. You need to be able to explain complex legal terminology to your clients clearly and simply. Legal aid officers are usually handling many clients at one time so you need to work well under pressure and be very organised. You also need to be on top of all the details for each client and retain large amount of information covering a wide range of topics. Legal aid officers tend to work long hours and may be on call during weekends and public holidays. To become a legal aid officer you need either a law degree or a diploma of law depending on which State you live in. Then you need to complete practical legal training and apply to and meet all necessary requirements of the Supreme Court for admission as a lawyer. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/767/legal-aid-officer
Are you a budding web designer, got a side gig creating your own music or are you inventing a new type of clean energy battery? Have you thought who owns the design of what you’ve created, or have you checked to see if someone has already had the idea? Patent attorneys and trade mark lawyers examine new invention designs and intellectual property to see if it’s an original idea, and whether it can be protected on your behalf. Patent attorneys consider the details of the invention and search existing patents for any similar designs. They then write up a detailed patent draft and lodge it with IP Australia. Patent attorneys also act on behalf of clients who’ve had their patent breached or rights broken, which may involve mediation or a court case. Trade mark lawyers protect copyright, domain names or logo designs on behalf of their clients. Both require a thorough understanding of intellectual property law and scientific or technical expertise in their areas. They must be able to explain both legal and highly technical information clearly and simply to all parties. They need a keen eye for detail and strong research skills. To become a patent attorney you must have a degree in a scientific or engineering discipline and then pass exams from the Professional Standards Board for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys and have some experience working within the patent area. For those interested in being a trade mark lawyer, you must first be a practicing lawyer and so need either a law degree or a diploma in law depending on where you live in Australia. The same exams from the Professional Standards Board are required for trade mark lawyers. People are increasingly wanting protection for designs they create or trade marks, particularly with the increase of online media making things global. This creates good opportunities for patent attorneys and trade mark lawyers. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/362/patent-attorney
Whilst being a coroner is not quite like the tv shows, it is a challenging law career that is unlike any other. Coroners investigate deaths, suspected deaths, explosions and fires to determine what caused them. They examine all the evidence, talk to relevant professionals such as the deceased’s doctor or the police and may order a post-mortem examination if there are questions around the cause of death. In some cases they may ask for an inquest to held into the deceased to work out how, when and where they died, and possibly who the deceased is. After receiving all information they make a decision on the death and report their findings to the relevant authorities. Coroners must be open minded about how events occurred and make measured decisions based on the available information. They must understand and be able to piece together the evidence in a logical manner, and explain the complex medical and legal information to all parties involved. They deal with the relatives and loved ones of the deceased and need to be mindful and tactful when discussing the circumstances of their death. Unlike the tv, coroners are lawyers not doctors. To become a coroner you must first be a magistrate. Magistrates are qualified lawyers with many years of experience hearing criminal court cases. To become a lawyer you need either a law degree or a diploma in law depending on where you live in Australia. Coroners are employed by the court system and only appointed by the court in the State they practice in. This means opportunities in this profession are limited for this highly specialised role. For more information check out https://blog.careerhq.com.au/how-to-become-a-coroner/
Whilst these are a few of the more popular law careers, there are also many opportunities working within other major business as in-house legal advice and many other exciting roles.