Career Pathways

Exploring Potential Legal Careers

Many individuals who enter law school are extremely motivated and goal-driven students who have specific ambitions on what they wish to do with their law degree following graduation, but others seek their legal education with more general ideas about how they wish to employ the skills and knowledge they are attaining. Traditionally, an attorney will seek to join an established law firm and focus on a specialized practice area within that organization, and will prepare for these focuses throughout the course of their law education by taking care to place emphasis on their areas of future interest.

For others, a law education is a basis for a more uncertain career path, and the general knowledge and skills they attain in school is applied to the opportunities that make themselves available after passing the bar. Whatever your goals are for the application of your law education, it can be advantageous to keep in mind the careers which are available to you.

Legal Practices

If you elect to utilize your law degree in the traditional manner of practicing law, your expertise can be applied in any of the following areas:

• Private Practice: The most ubiquitous form of legal practice in which the attorney works alone or with partners to represent the interests of private clients in legal matters.
• Government Counsel: Governing bodies require the services of legal professionals to advise them on the legal implications of all manner of governance, as well as representing the entity when necessary.
• Corporate Counsel: Many corporations elect to retain in-home counsel to advise and act on legal matters pertaining to their business.
• Public Interest: Some attorneys elect to work for organizations which offer legal services to marginalized or disadvantaged individuals who could otherwise not afford them.

In addition to practicing law, many non-traditional students may apply the teachings of their law education to other careers such as business, journalism, insurance, social work, politics, or civil service.


Career Information
Online resources and career-related links covering career/job searches, labor market information, job search skills, graduate school preparation, and other important links (colleges/universities, licensing boards, Oregon Employment Department).