Career Paths With a Law Degree

Are you interested in a career in the legal world? Becoming a lawyer might be your initial thought, and although this is a popular option, it isn’t the only choice you have. Let’s take a look at all of your legal industry job options so you can find one that is right for you.

Legal Careers

According to government reports, in 2008, there were 759,200 lawyers in the United States, and today, that number is even higher. As a lawyer, you can expect to earn an average salary of around $125,000 annually, which is why so many people choose this career option if they’re interested in law! Another choice you have, however, is to become a paralegal. Paralegals work closely with lawyers to prepare for court, but they don’t need nearly as much education, which means that you can get started in this field much more quickly if you become a paralegal. You can also easily move from a career as a paralegal to becoming a lawyer with additional education, so some students take this route, earning a degree in legal studies initially and completing law school part-time while working. After becoming a lawyer, you also have the option to go on to other careers. Many lawyers later become judges or run for political office. Related careers include law enforcement officer, court reporter, and law clerk.

Legal Specialties

While attending law school, you also have the option to specialize in one area of the law, which plays a big role in the job you’ll do after you graduate. Technically, a lawyer is a lawyer, but someone working in criminal justice will do a much different job than someone working in immigration law or real estate law. Other popular legal specialties include taxation, family/divorce, environmental, civil, bankruptcy, labor and employment, and intellectual property. The type of law you choose will determine where you work, with some specialties being in higher demand than others.


Not all lawyers practice law in the traditional sense, where they research cases and argue them in court. You can also serve as a consultant, where you’ll help people draw up documents, give advice to groups lobbying for new bills to be passed, and more. In addition to consulting, you can also go on to teach law at a college or university.

Online Guide to Law Degrees and Programs

Concord Law School – Concord Law School offers online law degrees: Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Executive J.D. This program is for those seeking to practice law and to develop the greatest range of career opportunities. Students will develop a wide range of skills, including the ability to: analyze a client's legal problems and research applicable cases.
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University of Liverpool – University of Liverpool offers online law degrees: LLM in International Business Law and in International Banking Law. This university is committed to providing a truly modern legal education. The professors are experts in their respective fields of law, and the staff includes six professors of law and seven senior lecturers.
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Kaplan University – Kaplan University offers online law degrees: AAS in Paralegal Studies and BS in Legal Studies. This program takes a unique approach to legal education and is designed to fit students' individual educational and career goals. The professors are practicing experts in their fields and focus on teaching real-world knowledge.
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Walden University – Walden University offers online law degrees: BS in Law & Legal Studies and MPA in Law and Public Policy. This program prepares students for careers in law firms, state and federal courts, and corporate compliance offices. Courses include: Criminal Law, Civil Law, Courts and Judicial Process, and Contemporary Legal Debates.
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Grand Canyon University – Grand Canyon University offers an online MS/CJ in Legal Studies. This program is designed for students hoping to expand their understanding of the law, social order, and justice. Courses include: Organizational Behavior and Leadership in Criminal Justice, Restorative Justice, Forensic Psychology, International Law, and Legal Research.
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George Washington University – George Washington University offers an online degree: MS in Paralegal Studies. In this program students learn legal-research skills and work with law professors, law students and clients. Courses include: Legal Specialty, Government Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Law, Legal Research & Writing, Litigation and Corporate and Contracts Law.
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Boston University – Boston University offers an online program where students earn a Paralegal Certificate. This program can be completed in 14 weeks. The program consists of seven courses. Students will learn to research each of the five primary sources of law: the Constitution, case law, statutory law, regulatory law, and executive orders.
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Strayer University – Strayer University offers an online degree BBA in Legal Studies. This program introduces students to the evolving role of the paralegal or legal assistant in the public and private sectors. Topics of study include: paralegal employment opportunities, regulation, and ethics. Students will also practice the role of the litigation paralegal using a hypothetical case.
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