While you are learning to become a lawyer, experiencing the legal process first hand can be a big help. Many legal students make the mistake that they can only be lawyers but there are other options out there. The great thing is that they can help you learn more about the intricacies of the law. Case studies are much easier if you see the law in action. Besides that, earning money can help pay off the expensive tuition for your law degree.
The closest that you can come to practicing law without actually becoming a lawyer is being a paralegal. You will essentially be acting as a lawyer’s assistant and you help free them from the various low-level work that needs doing. This allows lawyers to do what only they can do like appearing in court or give clients legal advice. You will be mainly doing legal research and drafting pleadings. Occasionally, you might assist a client in a minor matter. There will also be a ton of paperwork like filing and discovery for cases.
When it comes to legal paperwork, deadlines are the enemy. Court messengers are the ones that have to deal with that deadline when the paperwork is ready. Usually, firms either hire a third-party company to do this or have a dedicated court messenger. For law students, this is an opportunity to get a closer look at how legal documents and items are transported. This is not a simple courier job. There is an emphasis on security and processes so that the paperwork or evidence arrives in good condition and on time.
Another courier-type job that will allow you to see how the legal process works are being a process server. Various legal cases need a service of a subpoena. This is usually to inform someone or an organization that they are required to testify or present some evidence. Process servers also present court summons and court orders. You will need to find the individuals that need to be served and then have them sign the confirmation that they received it from your hands. Besides that, you will have to keep records of the deliveries and be aware of the various rules involved when serving. A mistake in the serving process might even end with the case being thrown out.
If paralegals are those that assist lawyers, the equivalent that judges have are law clerks. They do the same function of assisting judges in preparing for cases and doing research. It will be up to the judge for the exact details but you can expect to do a lot of writing. As a law student, this is one of the ideal jobs for you. An experienced judge can be a big help in showing you the ropes and it can provide a lot of good experience that you can use later in your law career.
A new legal profession appeared recently. This is mainly because of the proliferation of online and digital content. When involved in a legal case, lawyers need to gather evidence and one potential source is the online postings and other potential forms of digital evidence. Paralegals already do discovery on physical evidence and adding enormous amounts of content to their job would consume all their time. This is where e-discovery professionals come in. If you are a tech-savvy law student, this is the perfect job to break into the legal field. You’ll be learning the basics of discovery while also pioneering techniques that you will likely need in the future as more digital evidence becomes important.
For those who have plans of being lawyers in the commercial field, being a compliance specialist can be a great opportunity. For one, you will be employed by companies and that can allow you to network for future jobs. Additionally, as a compliance specialist, your job would be to go through all the current and upcoming regulations in a particular field. This is to ensure your employer is not violating any legal rules. This experience can help when you finally become a corporate lawyer since you will be mainly dealing with many regulations.
There are many potential professions that a law student can sign up for. They have an advantage since they have a deeper understanding of the law. Getting experience in other aspects of the law can be a big help when it comes to developing skills and abilities. Law students should seriously consider taking a few months of legal work in other legal professions to see how it all comes together.