Anyone studying to be a lawyer is doing so at a time of extraordinary demand for legal talent. That’s because there’s been a sharp increase in a wide variety of fields related to the law. From mergers and acquisitions to financial compliance matters, the possibilities are endless. All of it is combining to make earning a JD look like an attractive proposition and a sure-fire path to a thriving career.
The trouble is if you’re set on that career path and you think that you’ve got it made, you’re by no means alone. As more and more students recognize the lucrative opportunities that exist in the legal profession, they’re studying hard to enter the field, too. That means today’s law students may face a far more competitive job market when they complete their degrees. Their success or failure may depend on factors beyond their mastery of the law.
The secret to overcoming this challenge is to make sure to become a well-rounded candidate. You must possess the kinds of skills today’s law firms and corporations are looking for. Continue reading to learn the non-legal skills to supercharge your legal career.
Some of today’s most challenging legal matters relate to intellectual property disputes. This is especially true in Australia. It is moving towards building an information economy that’s no longer rooted in tangible goods. To handle such matters, any up-and-coming legal professional would do well to expand their skill set to include expertise in scientific pursuits or an engineering-related discipline. They also need to remain highly educated in trademark infringement prevention. The Australian government is making STEM education a centerpiece of its forward-looking plans, so this is a trend that’s going to have staying power with respect to its effect on the legal profession. To take advantage of it, a bachelor’s degree in a hard science such as physics or chemistry is well worth the time and expense. You can also choose to pursue an engineering degree to supercharge your legal career.
The modern legal profession is entwined with the latest in technology. From e-discovery to automated research tools, there’s almost no part of the job that doesn’t connect with the latest in digital innovation. In fact, Australia’s fast becoming the epicenter for a new wave of legaltech startups, which are bound to increase that interdependence exponentially in the coming years. The result will be a legal sector where digital skills will be almost as important as legal ones. That means the successful lawyers of tomorrow will need to be fluent in technology and have a deep understanding of how it enables them to do a better job. The options to gain such skills range from online training courses, all the way through full-blown degree programs. Either way, they’ll make a valuable addition to any lawyer’s skill set.
Foreign Language Skills
The nature of the interconnected global economy and Australia’s place within it is driving demand for lawyers who have top-notch skills. They lawyers handle cases involving international law and cross-border economic disputes. In particular, Australia’s position as an economic hub with links to Asia is putting a huge premium on lawyers with the ability to speak Mandarin Chinese. Japanese is a close second. At the moment, the nation as a whole is woefully behind on large-scale efforts to increase the number of multilingual Aussies. So, any aspiring lawyer that adds an Asian language to their skills arsenal will increase the demand for their services. Whether you want to pursue a career in employment law or divorce law, learn foreign languages to increase your value.
It’s important to realize that just as legions of students are waking up to the opportunities that lay in the legal profession, they will also get wise to the need for the additional skills mentioned here. For that reason, the sooner that today’s law students embark on a journey to expand their scholarly horizons, the better off they’ll be. This is a case where those in the know will gain a significant advantage over their peers if they choose to go the extra mile and study a little bit harder than the competition. The bottom line is, even though earning a JD is no easy feat in itself, a little extra work can secure your future. You’ve come this far – now go a little bit farther.