Alternative jobs for law graduates
Not all law graduates choose to practise, but the knowledge and skills gained through a law degree make them highly employable in other areas. Law graduates emerge from university with an ability to analyse, interpret, evaluate, assimilate and synthesise large amounts of information. They are usually good communicators and have well developed problem-solving ability. These are all valuable skills that transfer well. Up to 40 per cent of graduate employers recruit from all disciplines for their graduate management programmes. These can include commercial and investment banks, business and management advisory consultancies, professional services firms and multinational organisations. Some of the most popular alternative career destinations for law graduates are in finance, accountancy and tax.
Most banks recruit from all disciplines. Graduate opportunities extend across different areas. Typical training options include retail banking, capital markets, commercial and corporate banking and accountancy (chartered or management). Banks start their recruitment process early in the year, so getting organised in the first few weeks of final year is essential. You need to have an impressive CV and effective online application skills. Be prepared for assessment centres and interviews before Christmas.
Accountancy is one of the most popular ‘change of direction’ routes for graduates from all disciplines. A qualification in accountancy offers a future full of career development opportunities across all areas of finance, business and industry. There are four main qualification routes within accountancy. Many employers also opt to add a taxation qualification while training or on completion of final accountancy exams. It is possible to gain a qualification while training in a business environment or practice.
The core work of the tax consultant is to ensure that their clients pay their tax and comply with all tax regulations. The work involves combining technical knowledge, business acumen and legal knowledge to inform and advise clients. The work is very varied: clients can include individuals making decisions about pensions, investments, buying or selling a property, or setting up or restructuring a business. Corporate clients could be large multinational firms, banks or even government departments.
Tax consultancy can have a strong European and international element, given the continuing development of European Union legislation and the large international investment in Ireland. There is a considerable overlap between law and tax consultancy, much of the work requiring legal expertise.
Tax consultants can find work with a range of employers: accountancy firms, large financial institutions, big law firms, multinational organisations and the Civil Service. The Irish Tax Institute (ITI) is the training and qualifying body in Ireland (www.taxinstitute.ie). Law graduates apply for an exemption from certain parts of the ITI qualification. ITI-qualified tax consultants can also work in all other EU member states. The professional body for the UK is the Chartered Institute of Taxation, which has a Northern Ireland branch (www.tax.org.uk).
Management training programmes
Many employers recruit new graduates each year, providing intensive training and mentoring designed to equip trainees with the skills for management. Many organisations offer specific graduate management programmes, in areas such as marketing, HR, IT and general management. Many recruiters visit campus during the autumn milkround season, and will also attend recruitment fairs on campus. It's an effective and informal way of finding out what life might be like working for them. While many application deadlines are open, most employers have fixed application deadline dates.
Postgraduate conversion courses
A postgraduate conversion course can help you to move on in a different direction. There is increased mobility across disciplines. Find out more about your postgraduate options at postgradireland.com.