Careers in law

Law can be studied in most universities in Ireland including University of Galway, Galway ATU, Athlone TUS. University of Galway offers a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL ), law and business, law criminology and justice, as well as a BA in law which is offered through general arts. Athlone TUS offers a Bachelor’s in law and a Bachelor of business and law. All of these courses provide a comprehensive basis in the core law subjects such as company law, criminal law, constitutional law, law of contract, property law, tort and European law. These are the subjects that are required to sit the solicitor and bar exams.

Many of these university degree courses also offer a work placement or study abroad option which provides an enriching learning experience for the student while also making them more employable. Traditionally, many of those who studied law, went on to study for their solicitor (FE exams ) or barrister (Bar entrance ) exams and carved out a career either as a barrister or a solicitor. Nowadays, however, there are a lot more alternative law careers available. Becoming a solicitor can take anywhere from three to seven years, depending on the degree a person studied and how a person progresses through their exams. Becoming a barrister is more costly and also involves a one-year work placement commonly known as ‘devilling’ after you have a completed a one-to-two-year Bar course in King’s Inn, Dublin. More information on these pathways can be found on the Law Society webpage for those considering a career as a solicitor, and for those wanting to purse a career as a barrister, they can check out the King’s Inn website.

Many options for law graduates

Even though the vast majority of law graduates do complete the Bar or solicitor exams, there are also a large number of graduates who go on to work in law related careers in industries such as tax, mediation, insurance, banking, advocacy, diplomacy and third level institutions. There is a wide variety of jobs available for law graduates, and this is partly because of the transferable skills that law graduates acquire throughout their degree. These jobs include: law lecturer, human rights adviser (in the EU ) conveyance officer, mediator, judicial adviser, compliance officer, human resources officer and probation officer.

Research is another area in which many law graduates work. Many Government departments such as the Departments of Health, Justice and Expenditure, the Ombudsman, the National Disability Authority, Legal Aid, the Courts Service and the Oireachtas Library, to name a few. Law graduates who generally pursue a career in research may not have done their Bar or solicitor exams but would have gone on to complete a master's or PhD in specialised areas of law, in most cases. Many Irish universities offer a variety of master's and PhDs in various areas of law.

Even if a law graduate decides not to pursue a career in law, a law degree can equip you with so many transferable skills such as problem solving, research, analytical skills, writing concisely, synthesising large amounts of information, drafting formal tenders and contracts, influencing, and an ability to pay close attention to detail, providing an excellent foundation to pursue a number of different careers other than law.

Claire Murphy obtained her Master's in career guidance and counselling in Trinity College Dublin and has 10 years’ experience working as a guidance counsellor at both second level and third level. Claire is currently working as a consultant career guidance counsellor at Psychmed. To get in touch with Claire, email her at


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