The wide range of jobs in the legal sector

Legal services are delivered through a team of highly trained professionals. Lawyers work together to review contracts, write court filings, draft legislation, represent clients at hearings and negotiate settlements. Legal services are provided in many different ways, including via telephone, in person, online, and by video conference. New technologies have made it possible to offer legal services remotely and automate a number of aspects of the process. For example, electronic filing systems allow lawyers to submit documents electronically instead of printing them out and mailing them. Similarly, virtual assistants can help lawyers conduct research, manage client files and more.

A lawyer generally works to help others navigate through the legal system. A paralegal assists with paperwork and other administrative tasks. These professionals may also be referred to as assistants or legal assistants. Other roles include those of solicitor, arbitrator, barrister, clerk, legal executive, legal manager, legal compliance officer, judge and coroner. Roles can also differ in title from one country or region to another. In the legal sector, jobs tend to be available within a wide selection of organisations.

With so much variety in the industry, the required skill sets can change from one role to the next. As a general rule, however, key competencies are likely to include attention to detail, good communication skills, an ability to work alone and as part of a team, an aptitude for analysis and research, being an exceptional problem-solver and having an organised and methodical approach.

Professional development that comes from working in law

Law degrees cover the foundation subjects that are necessary to enter the legal profession. The understanding of legal implications and the ability to apply this in practice can be valuable in the public, private and volunteer sectors. Skills gained through studying law include research using a range of sources, evaluating and interpreting complex information and making informed decisions.

Reasoning and critical judgement skills can be vital, as is the ability to formulate sound arguments. Writing concisely is also important. There is also a need for confident and persuasive verbal communication skills.

Qualified lawyers can work in various sectors

Candidates who are qualified as solicitors might work in a number of legal practices. High street solicitors cover criminal, family, conveyancing, probate and business matters. They may also get opportunities through local and national government or large organisations, which often have in-house lawyers. Barristers are usually employed by a firm of barristers called a chamber. For those entering the world of legal counsel straight from university, becoming a qualified lawyer typically involves passing a series of professional examinations after gaining experience in the field. 

One of the growing areas in the legal sector is commercial law, a broad term for legal services designed to help companies remain successful. These services include intellectual property rights, contracts, and selling goods and services. IP rights are important for creators and manufacturers to profit from their ideas, contracts are essential for any company to operate, and agencies or distributorships allow clients to sell their products or services to others.

How can legal job candidates stand out to employers?

Getting a foot in the door with a large law firm can be challenging. These firms are often highly selective about who they choose to hire. That means a candidate needs to stand out among many other applicants. To get noticed, they must first demonstrate drive and ambition, and show they possess the skills necessary to succeed in the legal profession. Finally, they should demonstrate that they will fit well within the culture of the firm. 

Working at a big law firm can also be very rewarding for those looking to advance their careers. They will enjoy access to an extensive network of lawyers and legal professionals, and they'll get exposure to many different types of cases and clients. There will also be plenty of opportunities to gain valuable experience and skills, especially if the individual chooses to specialise in roles such as law firm associate, litigation lawyer, employment lawyer and more.

If one is aiming to become a lawyer, barrister, or solicitor in Hong Kong, employers will be looking out for a number of qualifications, for example, a bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate certificate in Laws. They might also prioritise candidates who have completed a training contract or have relevant experience. Successfully applying for admission to the Law Society of Hong Kong will also make candidates stand out in the eyes of employers, especially to bigger law firms. Being able to communicate in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin will also be advantageous for a number of legal sector roles, especially for those wishing to join international law firms. 

Covering legal issues in a variety of sectors

Government lawyers provide advice to governments around the world on all aspects of law. They advise on policies, regulations, laws and other issues related to government. They may also draft legislation and defend actions taken by governments. Government lawyers also assist in interpreting and applying current laws.

Another branch of the legal sector is family law, an area that requires understanding, sympathy, sensitivity and a great deal of legal knowledge. Family law is made up of three general areas of work: matrimonial, finance, estate planning and child law. Many lawyers choose to specialise in one branch or another, while others maintain a mixed clientele. It can also cover domestic violence, guardianship, child abuse and neglect. Other matters might include inheritance law, retirement, pensions and other benefits.

A career in law requires an adaptable approach 

Both trainee and experienced paralegals are a valuable part of any legal team. They assist lawyers in all aspects of the legal system, including research, drafting contracts, preparing court and other legal documents and filing paperwork. Some of those who work as a paralegal specialise in particular areas of law, such as intellectual property, personal injury, employment law, corporate law, family law, criminal law, immigration law, consumer protection, or civil litigation.

Working in law gives the individual a chance to build a strong career and cultivate valuable relationships along the way. Whether working in criminal law, employment law, real estate law or any other branch, there will be a wide variety of interesting and rewarding tasks to be taken on. The bottom line is generally the need to provide the best possible client care, and to focus on the variety of issues that lead to success. This is a career path that has become increasingly popular over the years, and it's easy to see why.

Discover legal and compliance jobs with Michael Page

If you are looking to get started on your journey as a professional in legal services, Michael Page can support you during your job search. Our global recruitment agency can guide you through the process of successfully landing the legal job of your dreams, whether you are looking to become a law firm associate, legal counsel, paralegal, or other related role. Our salary comparison tool can also help you discover how much you should be earning according to industry benchmarks so you can ensure you ask for the amount you are worth when applying for new roles. 

Search legal jobs with us today and create a job alert to make sure you stay updated on new positions available within the legal sector.