Seven careers for non-lawyers
Events of the past week involving the arrest of former Education Minister Ruel Reid and former president of Caribbean Maritime University Dr Fritz Pinnock, among others, have thrust the legal profession into the spotlight for more reason than one. But there’s more to this field than just being an attorney. Here are five support roles you could consider:
1. Paralegal Specialist
In this job, conducting legal research for the smallest details and speaking with clients are extremely important responsibilities. Organising reports, arranging documents, managing evidence exhibits, and takinge notes in court are among the other major duties.
Median Salary: US$49,500
Education Required: Associate or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies
Relevant High School Courses: Statistics, computer science
2. Legal Technician
Without having to invest the time and money into a traditional law degree, you are able to counsel clients and explain details that might be hard for them to understand. Professionals in this field create documents with graphs, tables, and spreadsheets to help clients better comprehend the complexities of their cases.
Median Salary: US$51,000
Education Required: Associate degree
Relevant High School Courses: Algebra
3. Law Clerk
Of these five law careers, this job is an excellent way to gain experience before becoming an attorney. It is often considered an entry-level legal job or a sort of legal internship for law students. A law clerk within a law firm is usually a law student, recent law grad or experienced paralegal who performs legal research and writing. You answer legal questions and find evidence to support facts for a case. Law clerks might also work as junior apprentice judges, helping them during cases.
Median Salary: US$59,840
Education Required: Juris doctor
Relevant High School Courses: Pre-calculus, calculus
4. Criminal Investigator
One of the more exciting law careers, professionals in this job cover a specific criminal area. Criminal investigators might handle cases of domestic or international terrorism, hate crimes, or identity theft. In addition to using the latest forensic DNA and trace material evidence tactics, you conduct surveillance and issue subpoenas and search warrants.
Median Salary: US$81,490
Education Required: High school diploma and criminal investigator training
Relevant High School Courses: biology, chemistry, pysics
5. Court Runner/Legal Runner
Also known as a law firm messenger, the court runner files documents with the court and performs other errands for law firm lawyers and staff. Court messengers are often law students who work part-time with a law firm to gain legal skills and exposure to the law firm experience.
Median Salary: US$30,940
Education Required: High school diploma
6. Court reporter
Court reporters, also known as stenographers, record court testimony, speeches, statements and legal proceedings to create a verbatim written transcript of the spoken word. Using special stenographic equipment, court reporters transcribe at rates exceeding 200 words per minute. Court reporters also perform broadcast captioning and real-time reporting for webcasts.
Fewer people are entering this profession, creating a court reporter shortage, which boosts salaries. Some court reporters earn over six figures, according to Forbes.com.
Median Salary: US$51,320
Education Required: Associate degree or high school diploma
Relevant high school courses: English language
7. Legal marketer
People who work in legal marketing positions handle media relations, brand awareness, advertising, promotions, and other marketing tasks and events for legal firms. The role also includes recommending community involvement and charitable contributions and sponsorships of firm’s members and employees, as well as identification of professional development opportunities for attorneys and personnel, and ensuring proper client relations and services. In addition to the broad marketing role one has to play a major part for the firm, you may also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with their attorneys and work as their practice development manager.
Median salary: about US$64,148
Education Required: Bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising or journalism, with knowledge of legal practice and process.
Relevant high school courses: English language, sociology, economics,
Working as an attorney is one of the most recognisable law careers. In this field, you might work to help a defendant prove his or her innocence. Other attorneys work with plaintiffs who have a legal problem they want solved. In addition to working with other attorneys and judges, you gather information to support the case in your client’s best interest.
Median Salary: US$118,160
Education Required: Juris doctor (US), Certificate of Legal Education (Jamaica)
Relevant High School Courses: economics, sociology, public speaking, government, history, and mathematics
When preparing for law careers, it is important to keep in mind that the skills learned in these jobs can be applied to other positions. Students who are trained in fields focused on law careers can also use their education to enter careers such as intelligence.
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