Career Options: Law



Law graduates typically work as barristers, solicitors and in private, corporate or government legal departments. During their careers they can further develop a specialisation in many fields of law such as family law, wills and estate planning, criminal law, corporate law, property and conveyancing law, town planning and environmental law, employment and industrial relations, commercial law, compensation, entertainment law and sporting law.

Tasks lawyers typically perform include:

  • Research
  • Providing legal advice
  • Mediation and negotiation
  • Representing clients at court and tribunal hearings.

All graduates develop valuable transferable skills such as teamwork and interpersonal skills that will appeal to many employers. Law graduates are sought after for their clear and rigorous thinking, highly developed communications skills, ability to present written and verbal cases, strong problem solving, negotiation and ability to synthesise relevant information. Graduates are able to work under pressure, to deadline and with people from diverse backgrounds.

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Professional recognition

See the Bachelor of Laws course page for the most up-to-date information on professional recognition.

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Employment prospects and starting salaries

Weekly average earnings in 2014

Weekly avergage earnings for law graduates in 2014

Job openings in 2014

Job openings in 2014 for law graduates

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Where do SCU Law graduates go?

Below is a sample of recent employers and position titles for our Law graduates. Note that employers and positions are sorted separately in alphabetical order below — they are not matched lists.

Sample of employersSample of position titles
ALC Lawyers Adviser
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Advocate
Australian Government Assistant Case Manager
Baker Love Lawyers Assistant Director Aged Care Quality and Compliance
BHP Billiton Iron Ore Associate
Bickfords Lawyers Assistant Adviser
Buckworth Keady Lawyers Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Graduate
Charter Group Claims Officer
City of Sydney Council Contestable Works Officer
Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Veterans’ Affairs) Finance Manager
Coolamon Shire Council Graduate at Law
DC Legal Pty Ltd Law Clerk
Department of Health And Ageing Lawyer
Department of Attorney-General and Justice Legal Assistant
Elliot Lawyers Legal Secretary
Environmental Defender’s Office Ltd (NSW) Mineral Consultant
Essential Energy National Employee Relations Manager
Fair Work Australia Outreach Officer
Fair Work Building And Construction Paralegal
Family Law Solutions Property Valuer
Ferrier & Co Solicitors Registrar
Fox and Thomas Business Lawyers Senior Policy Officer
Friedlieb Byrne Solicitors Solicitor
Gun Lawyers Student Adviser
Hoy and McCormack Solicitors Tenders and Contract Manager
Johnson and Sendall Solicitors  
Logan Basketball Inc  
Longman Hill Solicitors  
Macgregor O’Reilly Solicitors  
North Shore Hospital  
Northey Legal and Conveyancing  
NSW Health  
QBE Workers Compensation  
Smith & Nephew  
Somerville Laundry Lomax  
Southern Cross University  

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Graduate and vacation programs

Graduate programs are formal programs, usually offered by government departments and large companies. They are designed to attract new graduates and feature structured on-the-job training and development. Graduate program applications often close almost 12 months prior to the job starting. This means you may need to apply for these roles as early as March in your final year of study.

Vacation programs are usually paid, short-term contracts of 6–8 weeks. They are typically offered to students in their penultimate year of study. Peak advertising times are July and August of each year and most vacation programs take place in the summer vacation period (December–February). Undertaking a vacation program may improve your chances of being short-listed for graduate programs or roles.

Bookmark the following sites for centralised listings of vacation, internship and graduate programs.

Also monitor relevant company websites for additional information and opportunities.

You can connect with other students and search for questions and answers on a number of graduate programs at the Graduate Programs Whirlpool Forums.

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Law graduate programs and clerkships

In addition to the above graduate and vacation programs, law students should also look out for specialised law graduate employment and summer clerkship programs which are usually advertised centrally by state law societies. Ensure you are aware of relevant timelines for your preferred state and employers. See specialist job vacancy websites below.

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Targeting potential employers

General and specialist job search websites are listed below. These can be used to source currently advertised roles and can also be used to create your personal database of potential employers and job titles. Being a proactive jobseeker and creating a living database early on in your studies can help you to research potential opportunities and learn more about your preferred industries.

For more job search help, make sure you access the Graduate Careers and Internship Preparation resources on Blackboard in the online SCU Career Development Program (in MySCU select the ‘MyCareer’ link).

Reviewing company websites is the key to ensuring a good ‘job fit’ for you and the potential employer. It can help you identify links between your strengths and qualities (skills, experience, interests and qualifications) and an employer’s needs, which will increase your chances of success in the recruitment process.

It is estimated the majority of jobs (approximately 80 per cent) are filled through word-of-mouth or networking, known as the ‘hidden job market’. Developing your personal and professional networks (professional associations and university memberships, social networking, attending workshops and conferences and undertaking extracurricular activities) are all valuable ways to tap into hidden job opportunities.

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LinkedIn is the largest online professional network with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories; 6 million of those in Australia.

With 60% of LinkedIn revenue coming from talent solutions (recruitment), building your presence and becoming active on LinkedIn can increase the number of job opportunities available to you.

LinkedIn has fast become an effective tool for students and graduates to:

  • Present a professional online image
  • Showcase their skills, qualifications, qualities and achievements
  • Build their network of connections
  • Research potential career paths
  • Follow and engage with targeted companies
  • Connect with fellow professionals in industry and specific interest groups
  • Source national and international job vacancies
  • Be headhunted by recruiters searching for new talent

Find out how to get started and make the use of LinkedIn at LinkedIn Student Jobs 101.

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Specialist job vacancy websites

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SCU Careers & Employability

Don’t forget to visit SCU’s CareerHub for job vacancies, events and resources. Use your MySCU details to log in.

General job vacancy websites

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International job vacancy websites

Worldwide (and Australia) Australian Volunteers International
Worldwide Career Jet (use keyword: graduate)
Worldwide Going Global
Worldwide Monster
Worldwide United Nations Careers
Worldwide The World Bank
Europe European Union job opportunities for graduates
Hong Kong JobStreet Hong Kong
India FreshersHome
Indonesia JobStreet Campus Indonesia
Ireland GradIreland
Malaysia Graduan
Malaysia JobStreet Campus Malaysia
Philippines JobStreet Campus Philippines
Singapore JobStreet Campus Singapore
United Kingdom All About Law
United Kingdom Prospects UK
United Kingdom TARGETjobs
United States Quintessential Careers

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Professional associations

If you are interested in furthering your career, joining a professional association is a good start. There are associations for nearly every profession or area of interest and many have national, state and regional chapters you can join. Students are often eligible for significant membership discounts. Some benefits of joining an association include:

  • Updated information on industry-relevant trends and developments
  • Access to a range of resources, including publications, newsletters, webinars, conferences and training opportunities
  • Enhancing your network

So, whether you are looking to learn about career opportunities in your field, network in your professional community, access current events in your industry sector, or just have some fun while meeting new people, joining a professional association is a step in the right direction!

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