The legal field is one of the foundations of society—ensuring that rights are protected and rules are enforced for various crimes.

Legal professionals help individuals, businesses and corporations understand their rights and the proper conduct and regulations for their activities.

The legal field is typically broken down into areas of specialisation such as criminal law, corporate law, civil law, family law, environmental law, patent law, labour law and tax law. Lawyers spend a great deal of time on research and paperwork for specific cases or knowledge requested by clients. They draft legal documents, offer legal advice, facilitate meetings and negotiations and represent clients in court.

Many law firms employ new law school graduates as assistants and apprentices, but there are other options for legal professionals. Many lawyers work at mid-sized regional law firms, or small private practices. Local law firms mainly take on residential or commercial real estate cases, family law (such as divorce and custody battles), and personal bankruptcies. Lawyers may also be employed by corporations to analyse legal issues and recommend practices. Solicitors in private companies handle activities such as transferring properties, company mergers, dual ventures and corporate taxations. There are also many good opportunities for lawyers to work in the government division. The legal field also provides careers in legal support, court clerks and administrators, jury consultants and many other roles.

While careers in the legal field are esteemed and prosperous, the growing attraction with law and legal activities has led to an increase in law students and the industry is more competitive. In order to practice law, a specialised law degree is required as well as passing an exam in the area one wishes to practice. Other legal professionals such as court clerks and paralegals may need to complete vocational training programs. As with most careers, law students will benefit greatly from internships with law firms or practices in the specialisation of their choice. Legal professionals typically work Mondays to Fridays during regular business hours but may need to work long nights researching and preparing cases.

Related degrees

Related subjects

Professional associations and industry bodies

ACT Law Society 

Australian Law Students Association (ALSA) 

Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology 

International Law Association (Australian Branch) 

Law Council of Australia 

Law Institute of Victoria 

Law Society Northern Territory 

Law Society of South Australia  

Law Society of Western Australia 

National Environmental Law Association 

New South Wales Bar Association 

New South Wales Legal Profession Admission Board 

Queensland Law Society 

The Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia 

The Law Society of Tasmania

Victorian Bar Association 

Western Australian Legal Practice Board

Skills and personality

  • Ability to absorb large amounts of information and communicate in a way that is understandable
  • Ability to process large amounts of paperwork and materials
  • Analytical abilities to evaluate and research client circumstances with legal information
  • Effective coordination and organisation capabilities
  • Excellent persuasion and communication skills, presenting evidence and cases in clear and convincing manner
  • Excellent research skills looking up legal framework for specific cases and purposes
  • Exceptional problem solving and investigative abilities working to identify the situation and find relevant legal material
  • Specialised knowledge of legal statutes, especially in particular field of law
  • Strong writing skills to draft legal documents
  • Work well in a team oriented environment collaborating with other legal professionals