APU Business

Defending the Law: Career Paths for a Legal Studies Degree

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By Senna Austin, JD
Fulltime Faculty, Legal Studies Program at American Public University

A degree in legal studies, whether it is at the undergraduate or graduate level, can open the door to a wide variety of careers. Law school is a logical next step for many students with these degrees, but that is certainly not the only option. Graduates of online legal studies programs are attending increasingly prestigious law schools. For those students who plan on pursuing a Juris Doctor (law) degree, there are many factors, including GPA, LSAT score, and work experience which will determine where a student is admitted to law school.

[Next Step: Law School]

Many students use legal studies degrees to enter or improve law enforcement careers including those in the federal government. These individuals deal with legal issues on a daily basis and a degree in this area can greatly improve their employment and promotion opportunities.

Becoming a paralegal is another popular choice, which can be achieved through a paralegal certification program like the one offered by American Public University. Paralegals work in many environments including law firms, government offices, and legal aid organizations. In most states, paralegals perform many of the same functions as attorneys including legal research, drafting documents, and even interviewing clients. The employment outlook for paralegals remains strong.

The discipline and strong writing skills obtained from a legal studies program make graduates ideal candidates for careers in detail-oriented fields including real estate, education, and business. Graduates might find jobs that somehow touch the legal field including administrative positions at a charitable organization or legal aid provider; positions in a local or state court; or a property manager.

Regardless of the field chosen, a degree in legal studies provides many avenues for graduates both within and outside the legal field.


About the Author:

Senna Austin received her B.A. in Philosophy from the College of William and Mary and her Juris Doctor from George Mason University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She has worked in the high-tech world and for the government and does extensive pro bono work in her community.

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