Careers in Legal Studies

View the PDF here

“The life of society is a struggle for law.” ~ Woodrow Wilson

What is Legal Studies

Legal Studies involves the study of Public Law, which encompasses both the entire law school curriculum as well as legal institutional, procedural, historical, and philosophical studies.  Legal Studies is a broad area which can lead to careers in areas such as local, state or federal government, business, human resources management, real estate development, law office management, court administration, corporate governance, and dispute resolution.  Public Law is a foundational subfield within the discipline of Political Science.  At William Paterson University, Legal Studies is a major within the Political Science Department which provides students with the opportunity to become familiar with those aspects of law and politics inherent in the study of legal institutions.  The Legal Studies Program will not only develop the necessary skills for success in law school, but also for graduate studies in government, political science, legal studies, judicial studies, and court administration.

WPUNJ Legal Studies   http://www.wpunj.edu/cohss/departments/pol_sci/legal-studies-requirements.dot


Interests and Skills

  • Analytical ability
  • Critical and creative thinking skills
  • Data evaluation
  • Problem-solving
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to debate and defend opinions

Work Environment

Careers in Legal Studies can be in a variety of settings including local, state, or federal government, human resources management, real estate development, law office management, court administration, corporate governance, and dispute resolution. Dependent upon the area you enter, work hours, benefits, and settings will vary. For example, legal assistants are typically employed in office settings and have a 40-hour work week, but may require overtime or evening and weekend hours.


Possible Job Titles

Court Administrator

Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Court Clerk/Law Clerk

Human Resources Administrator

Affirmative Action Officer

Loan Administrator

Hospital Administrator

Real estate administrator

Trust Officer

Editor/Writer

Elected Official

Police Officer

Lawyer/Attorney

Law Enforcement Official

Social Worker

Probation Officer

Public Relations

Legal Correspondent-TV/Radio

Lobbyist

Arbitrator

Regulation Analyst

Contract Mediator

Professor

Non-Profit


Enhance Your Qualifications

There are many opportunities to enhance your qualifications while still a student. Depending upon the direction you plan to take your degree in legal studies, some suggestions include interning at sites such as a law firm or local government office and becoming a member or leader of an organization on campus such as the Political Science Club or Model United Nations. Students can participate in the American Democracy Project, which seeks to create civic engagement opportunities. There are other ways to gain practical experience such as through job shadowing, informational interviews with those in the field, and working part-time in related areas. If you are interested in the Pre-Law Program, you should be in contact with the pre-law advisor to learn about workshops and how to connect with WPUNJ alumni.


Related Web Sites

Occupational Outlook Handbook    www.bls.gov/oco

The American Political Science Association     http://www.apsanet.org/content_6457.cfm

The American Society for Public Administration   http://www.aspanet.org/public/

PSLawNet   http://www.pslawnet.org/

Law School Admission Council Online    http://www.lsac.org/

William Paterson University, Political Science Department:

http://www.wpunj.edu/cohss/departments/pol_sci/index.dot

Visit agency/organization websites to explore job, internship, and volunteer opportunities.


Other Sources of Information

Please drop by the Career Development and Advisement Center to learn more about careers in the Legal Studies field.  Visiting departments on campus, such as the Political Science department, can also be helpful in addressing some of your questions.