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Diverse Pathways into a Law Career: Opening Doors to Opportunity with Ashurst!

The legal profession has long been regarded as a prestigious and sought-after career path. Traditionally, the journey into law was seen as a linear progression: undergraduate degree, law school, and entry into a law firm.

However, the landscape of the legal profession has evolved, embracing a multitude of diverse pathways that cater to individuals’ varied interests, backgrounds, and aspirations.

Whether you’re a current graduate or a student considering a future in law, Ashurst has plenty of opportunities for you to explore and get started!

Pathways For Current Graduates

As a law graduate, you’ll know that gaining experience is essential for helping you grow your skills, practice and understanding of the legal field.

Gaining experience in a few different areas can further help you hone down the area of law you’d like to specialise in.

Here’s a brief look at some of the key pathways to explore to help you do this:

  1. Law Firms and Legal Practices: The traditional route still stands strong. Many graduates secure positions in law firms, specialising in corporate law, litigation, intellectual property, or family law. This path offers hands-on experience and the opportunity to work with experienced attorneys.
  2. In-House Counsel: Corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organisations often have legal departments that require in-house counsel. This avenue allows graduates to focus on specific industries or sectors while working directly with their clients or employers.
  3. Public Interest Law: For those passionate about social justice, public interest law offers a fulfilling career. Organisations focusing on civil rights, environmental advocacy, immigration, or public defence welcome graduates committed to positively impacting society.
  4. Alternative Legal Careers: A law degree can open doors to non-traditional legal roles. Graduates can explore careers in compliance, risk management, legal consulting, mediation, legal technology, or academia. These paths allow individuals to utilise their legal knowledge and skills in different capacities.

Pathways For New Students

Whether you’re just about to head off to university or are in the midst of your studies, there are plenty of diverse ways to start gaining experience and developing your skills.

Below is a look at a few you could explore for starters:

  1. Internships and Clerkships: Gaining practical experience through internships or clerkships during undergraduate studies or law school can be invaluable. These opportunities allow students to work in law firms, government agencies, or legal departments, honing their skills and building professional networks.
  2. Pre-Law Programs and Majors: Some universities offer pre-law programs or majors, providing students with a strong foundation in legal studies before entering law school. These programs often cover legal theory, research skills, and critical thinking, preparing students for the rigours of legal education.
  3. Dual Degrees and Specialisations: Many law schools offer dual degree programs, allowing students to combine their legal education with another field of interest, such as business, public policy, or international relations. Specialising in niche areas, such as environmental law, intellectual property, or healthcare law, can also enhance career prospects.
  4. Legal Clinics and Pro Bono Work: Engaging in legal clinics or pro bono work while in law school provides students with practical experience and a chance to make a difference in their communities. These opportunities allow students to work on real cases under the guidance of experienced attorneys.

Discover the Ashurst Clerkship: Meet Carrick Brough

You don’t have to jump into a law pathway from high school or university. In fact, gaining experience in other industries first can provide you with the kind of life experience that will boost your confidence and skills ready for a career in law!

This is exactly how Carrick Brough approached their pathway – with no regrets!

Keep reading to hear all about Carrick’s career journey and experience with the Ashurst Clerkship:

“After high school, I joined the Air Force, then studied at uni for a while before joining the Queensland Police.  I started as a general duties officer and was eventually promoted to a detective managing serious criminal investigations.

After I left the Police, I worked in other investigative roles across federal, state, and local government. While working in these roles, I started studying law part-time at QUT.

I didn’t intend to be a practising solicitor and initially had no interest in corporate law.  At first, my motivation for studying was to enhance my skills and career prospects as an investigator.  However, once I started studying law, the idea of a career change became more attractive.  Maybe I did want to practice law after all?  I developed an interest in intellectual property law through my studies, so I applied for a clerkship at Ashurst based on its strong IP litigation practice.

The clerkship gave me a taste of commercial law, so I accepted a graduate position, moved to Melbourne, and joined the IP/Media Team.  Several years later, I am a Senior Associate practising IP law at Ashurst in Brisbane.  I am about to leave Ashurst and become a Senior IP lawyer for one of Ashurst’s key clients, Woolworths.  At Woolworths, I will provide legal advice on developing and protecting Woolworths brands, innovative products, and new ways of doing business.”

Find the Right Path for You at Ashurst

It is essential for current graduates and students to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a law career. The legal profession is evolving, embracing diversity, and offering a range of exciting opportunities.

By exploring different pathways and considering their passions and strengths, individuals can find a fulfilling and rewarding legal career.

Whether you choose a traditional path, pursue alternative legal careers, or contribute to public interest causes, Ashurst welcomes your unique perspectives and talents.

Learn more about how you get started with them via their dedicated Explore Careers profile.

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