Busselton-Dunsborough Mail

What are areas of law available to lawyers and legal graduates?

When legal students graduate, there is a range of career paths for lawyers to flourish in. Picture Shutterstock
When legal students graduate, there is a range of career paths for lawyers to flourish in. Picture Shutterstock

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The formula is pretty set when it comes to studying law and becoming a qualified and practising lawyer, regardless of whether you are studying for a Juris Doctor degree or a Bachelor of Law. Although when legal students graduate, there is a range of career paths for lawyers to flourish in.

If you have wondered about the different sectors that lawyers work in and the different people and groups they represent, here are some of the roles and fields you can explore. Similarly, if you're looking to understand what category your legal needs fall into, this guide may set you on course to finding the right representation.

Corporate law

In movies and television shows, it's typically the corporate law tropes we see. Corporate lawyers work in offices that service large clients with all their legal needs. Corporate law firms may specialise in a certain type of sector, like finance for example.

Corporate lawyers can enter the field straight out of university, and work with skilled professionals to keep clients performing in an ethical and legal manner for their staff, clients and customers. Corporate lawyers are often found in law firms, but there are also corporate lawyers who work inside an organisation as legal counsel.

Human rights law

A human rights lawyer will have a career almost unfamiliar to a corporate lawyer. The human rights lawyer may work with government bodies or unions to honour and uphold the rights of people in one region all over the world. Human rights lawyers will be well-versed in social and political climates around the world and they have the context to understand what needs to be done and what groups of people require support.

Human rights lawyers work with clients who are incarcerated or may not work with people directly and rather represent them through more official channels. The role of a human rights lawyer is very diverse and depends on social change and strain.

Employment law

If you have ever wondered who protects the rights of employees and represents individuals who have been unfairly dismissed, it is an employment lawyer. An employment lawyer can work for entities like Fair Work, or work in private practice and be approached by the public.

Typically, employee lawyers will have a policy that stipulates that the client does not pay unless the employee end lawyer gets the result they are aiming for. Employment law is particularly important as some employees do not have the means to stand up against large organisations with a whole team of internal legal counsel. Employment lawyers keep businesses accountable to the contracts and policies they have, as well as the law.

Family law

Family law is a complex vocation and one that is surrounded by many misconceptions. Family law is about more than just divorce, it also handles marriages, custody arrangements, wills and estate planning and other specific family legal matters.

A great family lawyer is a professional who acts in the interest of the client, while still considering the impacts on the children and other involved parties. In most family law cases, all parties will have their own representation so family lawyers will also have a lot of communication with other family lawyers and law firms.

Immigration law

Immigration law is one of the most niche sectors of the legal profession and can vary depending on the country they practise in. An immigration lawyer will represent an individual who is seeking residency in a country or someone who is already residing in the country and hoping to acquire citizenship.

There are many factors that influence an individual's chance of obtaining residency, and it's an immigration lawyer's role to explore all avenues and collate all the documentation and evidence to support any application. Immigration lawyers can represent vulnerable groups or they may work with high-profile and wealthy clients who would like the obtain residency in various countries so that they can conduct business there.

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Studying law can lead people to many different roles and disciplines. Internships are commonplace for legal students, and they should feel encouraged to pursue areas that are of interest so they can get a feel for that sector before they work within it as qualified lawyers.