Studying law opens many doors across the economy. Some may be drawn to the idea of a legal career based on how it’s portrayed in movies, or high-profile court cases such as the recent Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial, while others might be put off by these representations, especially if they are introverts.
Bronwyn Le Ann Batchelor, Head of Faculty: Law at The Independent Institute of Education, explains the various legal qualifications and careers and advises on how to ensure your chosen study institution will give you the necessary skills to enter the constantly evolving industry competently and confidently.
Batchelor says the legal field is varied and has streams that will appeal to many personality types, with infinitely more career possibilities than just trial law in court.
When considering which qualification to choose, prospective students should be sure to understand the various streams and what these will qualify them for post-graduation.
“There are a few ways in which an LLB degree can be obtained, but not all higher education providers offer the different stream options, so this is also an important consideration,” Batchelor said.
She says options broadly include the following:
- straight LLB (four years)
- a selection of one of the streams (a three-year BA in Law or BCom in Law) followed by an LLB degree (which can often then be completed in two years).
Batchelor says anyone interested in law as a career should ensure they do as well as possible in English in high school, as language is of crucial importance in the legal field, not only to meet admission requirements, but also because of their prospects of being successful in study and work. In general, most admission requirements for law degrees entail a Bachelor’s pass and a specific marks requirement for English. Some (but not all) also have requirements for maths, maths literacy or technical maths marks.
“There are various options in terms of qualifications in the legal field, which provides entry into various careers,” she said.
These include, for example:
BCom in Law – general management, legal adviser, corporate governance
BA in Law – legal advising, paralegal, alternate dispute resolution practitioner, mediator, corporate communications practitioner, legal researcher, court reporter, legal writer, online content manager, criminologist.
LLB – career options in both the public or private sector. You can start your own practice, work for a small organisation (for profit or even an NGO) or even a large company.
“Also, ensure that the institution focuses strongly on work-integrated learning – the golden thread that must be woven throughout the curriculum to ensure graduates have the necessary skills to enter the industry competently and confidently.”