What Can You Do With A Law Degree

Alyssa Omandac

What Can You Do With A
Law Degree

A Law degree typically refers to a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies, which is the most common precursor to earning a Juris Doctor (JD) graduate degree. The University of Arizona is the only university in the United States to offer a Bachelor of Arts in Law.

Students gain foundational knowledge of legal procedures and laws. Courses tend to cover court proceedings, legal research, trial preparation, investigation, and other related topics.

Earning an undergraduate Law degree or Legal Studies degree is often the first step for students wanting to enroll in a Law school. Students may also use a Law degree to prepare for careers in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice.

Typical employers for Law graduates

Private Law Firms
Court Systems
Universities and Colleges
Nonprofit Organizations

10 Career Options

  1. Paralegal
  2. What they do

    Paralegals directly assist Lawyers with cases. They perform research, draft legal documents, and help compile evidence. Unlike Legal Assistants, Paralegals are also qualified to bill clients.

    Some Paralegals specialize in specific areas of law, such as Criminal Law, Family Law, or Immigration Law. Find out more about what is it like working as a Paralegal.

    How to become one

    The traditional path to becoming a Paralegal includes an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies. However, many employers prefer Paralegals with at least a Bachelor’s Degree. As only a few schools offer Bachelor’s programs in Paralegal Studies, a Law degree or Legal Studies degree is preferred. You may also receive on-the-job training after obtaining employment.

    How much they make


  3. Lawyer
  4. What they do

    Lawyers represent individuals and businesses on legal issues. They conduct research and analyze legal problems for their clients to help deal with various legal matters. This job involves interpreting laws and regulations, presenting facts, and arguing on behalf of clients. Find out more about what is it like working as a Lawyer.

    How to become one

    The path to becoming a Lawyer starts with a Bachelor’s degree. Most aspiring Lawyers major in Pre-Law, Legal Studies, or Criminal Justice. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree, students may enroll in a Juris Doctor (JD) program from a Law School accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

    After earning a JD degree, prospective Lawyers must pass the Bar Exam and register with their state’s admitting board. The requirements vary by state, but you typically need a JD degree, a passing grade on the Bar Exam, and a background check.

    How much they make


  5. Police Officer
  6. What they do

    Police Officers are sworn officers of the law that are devoted to protecting lives and property. They respond to emergencies, patrol assigned neighborhoods, conduct traffic stops, and obtain warrants to arrest suspects. Other job duties include collecting and securing evidence from crime scenes, writing detailed reports, and testifying in court. Find out more about what is it like working as a Police Officer.

    How to become one

    Local and state law enforcement agencies typically require Police Officers to have at least a High School diploma. Prospective Police Officers often complete a training program.

    Federal law enforcement agencies often require a Bachelor’s degree. Common majors include Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Law Enforcement.

    Even if a Bachelor’s degree is not required to participate in a police training program, it can increase your career prospects. A growing number of Police Officers hold undergraduate degrees, which can limit opportunities for those with just a High School diploma.

    How much they make


  7. Criminal Investigator
  8. What they do

    Criminal Investigators work for law enforcement agencies or private investigator firms to investigate criminal acts. They may need to collect forensic evidence, interview witnesses, and maintain detailed records. Other job duties include attending autopsies, preparing investigative reports, and processing crime scenes. Find out more about what is it like working as a Criminal Investigator.

    How to become one

    Criminal Investigators typically need a High School diploma to find entry-level positions at law enforcement agencies. Entry-level positions can provide a path to becoming a Criminal Investigator without requiring additional education.

    Obtaining an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree in Law, Law Enforcement, or Criminal Justice can help lead to advancement and promotions.

    How much they make


  9. Probation Officer
  10. What they do

    Probation Officers supervise offenders after they are released from jail. They help probationers meet the requirements of their probation by arranging access to resources, such as job placement opportunities and substance abuse counseling.

    Probation Officers must maintain case files, schedule appointments with offenders, and may need to occasionally perform house visits. Find out more about what is it like working as a Probation Officer.

    How to become one

    Probation Officers typically need a Bachelor’s degree. Common majors include Criminal Justice, Social Work, Psychology, and Legal Studies. Some Bachelor’s programs may provide internship opportunities, which can provide the work experience needed to become a Federal Probation Officer.

    Advancing in this career typically requires a Master’s degree. There are also professional organizations that offer voluntary membership for increasing your career prospects. Probation Officers may consider joining the American Parole and Probation Association (APPA).

    How much they make


  11. Court Reporter
  12. What they do

    Court Reporters create transcripts during trials, depositions, and other types of legal proceedings. They are responsible for recording every word spoken by the lawyers, judges, witnesses, and defendants.

    Court Reporters may use video and audio recording devices to capture spoken dialogue, provide copies of transcripts to the courts and counsels, and provide real-time translation for the hard-of-hearing. Find out more about what is it like working as a Court Reporter.

    How to become one

    Many Court Reporters earn a certificate in Court Reporting or Transcription through vocational schools or community colleges. Some states may also require licensing through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA).

    While a Bachelor’s degree is not required for this position, a Law degree can increase your employability.

    After finding an entry-level Court Reporter position, you may also need to complete several weeks of on-the-job training.

    How much they make


  13. Court Clerk
  14. What they do

    Court Clerks work for local, state, or federal courts. They are responsible for nonjudicial operations, such as preparing dockets of cases, issuing orders of the court, and examining legal documents that have been submitted to the court.

    Court Clerks may also need to swear in jury members and witnesses, prepare staff schedules, and perform a variety of administrative tasks. Find out more about what is it like working as a Court Clerk.

    How to become one

    There are no educational requirements for becoming a Court Clerk. However, about 60% of employers prefer candidates with at least an Associate’s degree. Majoring in a related field, such as Legal Studies or Criminal Justice, may increase your employability.

    Some Court Clerks also possess graduate degrees, including Juris Doctor (JD) degrees. Obtaining an advanced degree is often necessary for reaching leadership positions in this field.

    How much they make


  15. Compliance Specialist
  16. What they do

    Compliance Specialists ensure that companies comply with laws and regulations related to their industry. While they work in a variety of industries, they are especially common in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and health care.

    Compliance Specialists assess business processes and conduct audits to detect health or safety violations. They may provide written reports and recommendations based on their findings. 

    How to become one

    Compliance Specialists need at least a Bachelor’s degree to enter this field. About 14% of Compliance Specialists have a Master’s degree.

    There is not a specific major that is required for this position. However, a Legal Studies or Law degree provides the background needed to understand complex laws and regulations.

    Some employers may also prefer industry experience. For example, if you work as a Compliance Specialist for a pharmaceutical company, you may need several years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry or a related field.

    How much they make


  17. Legal Secretary
  18. What they do

    A Legal Secretary, which is also sometimes called a Legal Assistant, performs administrative and clerical tasks to support Lawyers. They may retrieve documents, file reports, and perform other basic duties to assist with cases.

    Legal Assistants share many duties with Paralegals. However, unlike Paralegals, Legal Assistants do not have the qualifications needed to write legal documents or bill clients. Find out more about what is it like working as a Legal Secretary.

    How to become one

    Most Lawyers and Law Firms prefer to hire Legal Secretaries that have at least a High School diploma and some secretarial or clerical experience. However, most Legal Secretaries possess at least an Associate’s degree.

    Advancing in this career may involve voluntary certification. The National Association of Legal Secretaries offers the Accredited Legal Professional credential while Legal Secretaries International offers the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist credential.

    How much they make


  19. Law Librarian
  20. What they do

    Law Librarians are information resource specialists that work in Law Firms, Government Legal Libraries, Corporate Law Departments, and other legal organizations that maintain extensive legal documents. They are responsible for collecting and analyzing information, organizing documents, and retrieving documents for clients or employers.

    Law Librarians may also help train Lawyers and students in the use of internet-based legal research programs for finding resources or researching laws.

    How to become one

    Law Librarians typically need a Bachelor’s degree. There is no specific field of study for this career. However, a legal major may increase your employability. Along with a Law degree, Law Librarians may seek degrees in Criminal Justice, English, or Library Science.

    A Master’s degree may be needed for advanced positions. In fact, the majority of Law Librarians have Master’s degrees in Library Science. If you choose to earn a Master’s degree in this field, look for programs that are accredited by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).

    How much they make