What Can You Do With A Legal Studies Degree

What is ‘Legal Studies’?

‘Legal Studies’ is a liberal art major that provides students with a thorough understanding of the laws, institutions, and legal practices. They study about the social, cultural, economic, and political factors that influence laws around the world, and vice versa.

In order to better understand and rationalize the legal framework that is in practice, legal studies examine how social policy interacts with the jurisprudence. Some of the concerns that might be addressed include:

  • Social and political inequality
  • Moral obligations of individuals
  • Freedom of speech and action
  • Distribution of resources

Is ‘Legal Studies’ the right degree option for you?

You should consider taking up ‘Legal Studies’ as a college major if:

  • You like keeping up with the latest developments in the field of law, and are concerned with the impact that legal decisions have on the society as a whole.
  • You take parts in arguments and debates regarding controversial issues related to society and the legal system
  • You want to find out how the courts and legal system work
  • You are interested in finding out how laws are formulated and modified over time
Legal consultants and hearing officers are just a few of the jobs you can apply for after getting a legal studies degree.
What Can You Do With A Legal Studies Degree

What courses will you study?

The courses may vary depending on the level and the university that you are enrolled in. Some of the courses that you may find include:

  • Introduction to Legal Studies
  • Law and Personal Freedom
  • Law, Crime, and Society
  • Law and Public Policy
  • Legal Research and Writing
  • Due Process and Criminal Justice
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • The City & Social Justice

What Level of Legal Studies Degrees are Offered?

The programs that you may find are:

  • Masters of Legal Studies
  • Bachelors of Legal Studies
  • Associate of Legal Studies

Whereas the masters and associate degree typically takes around 1 to 2 years to complete, the bachelor’s degree spreads over 3 to 4 years. The duration will also be determined by the route that students take. Some students complete the program in a shorter period of time by taking up accelerated coursework whereas others decide to enroll in a self-paced program which may take longer to complete.

What Careers Can You Pursue With A Legal Studies Degree?

A degree in legal studies will provide students with a variety of skills that may prove to be useful in many different careers.
Whereas some students go on to further their education in legal studies and related discipline like criminal or social justice, others decide to enter the workforce. There are many different positions that they may seek in law firms, law enforcement agencies, banks, insurance companies, and non profit organizations. Some examples include:

Paralegals and Legal Assistants:

What do they do?

  • They are responsible for evaluating evidence and facts and figures of the cases, conducting research on relevant laws and regulations and maintaining paper as well as electronic files.
  • Paralegals assist lawyers and attorneys during the trial
  • They also deal with third parties like witnesses, clients and vendors, and handle day to day activities like scheduling meeting and interviews. 

How much money do they make?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2012, paralegals and legal assistants earned a median annual wage of $46,990.

Employment Outlook:

They are expected to experience a faster than average growth rate of 17 percent during 2012 to 2022.

Postsecondary Law Teachers:

What do they do?

  • They provide instruction in  subjects  related to law and legal studies
  • Postsecondary teachers also undertake scholarly research in their respective fields.
  • They work in collaboration with other professors for developing course plans in accordance with the department and college guidelines

How much money do they make?

BLS reported that in 2012, postsecondary law teachers earned a median annual wage of $105,080.

Employment Outlook:

The job growth rate for postsecondary teacher has been forecasted at 19%, much faster than the average growth rate.

Contract Administrators:

What do they do?

  • They formulate legal business contracts, incorporating details like product description, price, date of payment, date of delivery.

How much money do they make?

According to CNN Money, the median pay for contract administrators was $66,800 in 2012.

Employment Outlook:

The 10 year job growth rate has been forecasted at 19.7%.

Court Reporters:

What do they do?

  • They attend trials and legal proceedings, and create word-to-word transcriptions
  • Whenever needed, they produce a complete, and accurate, legal transcript of proceedings, depositions, and witnesses.
  • They assist judges and lawyers in maintaining up-to-date official records, so that relevant information can be retrieved whenever required.

According to BLS, in 2012, court reporters made $48,160 per year.

Employment Outlook:

From 2012 to 2022, the job growth rate for these professionals is expected to be 10%.
These are just a few examples of the careers you may pursue with a legal studies degree. However, there are many other options that you may explore depending on your level of qualification and interests.

How long does it take to get a degree in Legal Studies?

A bachelor's degree can take you up to 4 years to complete. To develop a base in law, you are advised to take relevant courses while completing your bachelor’s degree.  After a bachelor's, a legal degree will take an additional 3 years to complete. While most degrees have accelerated programs or allow students to study part-time, this is more difficult to do with a legal degree. In most cases, you will be required to complete on-campus hours, in addition to any online hours you are taking.

What are the requirements to get a degree in Legal Studies?

To ensure that you get admitted to a good law school, students must have a high GPA - around 3.5 or more depending on their choice of school. In addition to this, students must perform well in the LSAT's and write an original personal statement. Students will also be required to send letters of recommendation to the university of their choice. These letters can come from their professors at college or any employers they have worked with.

How much can I make with a degree in Legal Studies?

The median annual wage in legal professions in May 2018 was $80,810 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the entry-level education requirement increases, the annual wages of employees working in the sector also increases. For example, the entry-level education requirement to be Judges and Hearing Officers is a Doctoral or Professional degree, and the median annual wage for the profession in 2018 was $117,190.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are the best areas of Paralegal careers?

A:The best Paralegal careers comprise of Private law firms, Government departments, Banking legal departments, Accountancy companies, Corporations and Real estate.

Q:Does a paralegal certification help in boosting a Paralegal Career?

A:Yes, a paralegal certification can help boost a career. Certification is nit necessary in this field, but it is highly recommended. The certification demonstrates the student's skills and knowledge in the field. It portrays mastery and proves a students ability to become a competitive paralegal professional. Many law firms prefer hiring certified paralegals.

Q:What Can You Do With A Legal Studies Degree?

A:If you're wondering what can you do with a legal studies degree then you can seek employment as a legal assistant or a paralegal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2012, paralegals and legal assistants had an annual median pay of $46,990 while their expected job growth is 17% from 2012 to 2022.

Q:Where can paralegals work?

A:A paralegal is responsible for assisting lawyers before, during, and after trials by handling research and relevant paperwork. They also deal with clients, conduct interviews and schedule meetings. They are therefore found working in settings such as law firms, law offices, non-profit organizations, government, and private companies. Paralegals may also freelance and provide their services to firms or companies.

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