As a bright graduate, there aren't just criminal or corporate law careers open to you. In fact, there are a number of different fields of law which may interest you and utilise you skillset. You just need to discover them.
Here's our bright guides to some of the different types of law you may want to specialise in...
Working as a tax lawyer falls in to two categories – corporate and personal. As a corporate tax lawyer, you will be working for organisations to ensure that the tax they are paying is in line with legal requirements. As a personal tax lawyer, you will be offering advice to individuals, many of whom will be private clients with a large asset management portfolio.
The ideal candidate
A tax lawyer has strong analytical skills and a sharp eye for detail. You will have an enthusiasm to keep up to date with the numerous and complex changes in tax law. Alongside this, you will be a key team player, working across various departments and delivering information in a coherent and digestible way for your colleagues.
Don't worry, you don't have to be a mathematician. Maths is not essential to being a successful tax lawyer because full training will be given to enable you to specialise in tax law.
Which companies offer tax law careers?
Firms specialising in tax law include new legal body, PwC, who see tax practice as a way to help clients find innovative ways to reduce their tax burdens. In keeping track of various tax laws, a career at PwC would involve helping multinationals, UK companies, privately-owned organisations and family businesses to manage their affairs efficiently with regard to tax legislation. Other firms working in tax law include CMS Cameron McKenna, Deloitte and Freshfields. Check out their profiles and opportunities they have currently available.
Admiralty and Shipping Law
About this area
Admiralty and shipping law is one of the longest established areas of commercial law. Despite the global nature of the shipping industry English law, and English courts, remain the home for many of the disputes that arise. Even for business and companies based far from the UK, much arbitration and litigation will still be settled in London.
The work in this area falls into two main areas. ‘Dry’ shipping deals with contract issues, which can range from charter disputes, price, performance or routes, to bills of lading. ‘Wet’ shipping deals with the ships themselves, which can involve their construction, sale, repair, refuelling, insurance, and mortgage. Shipping law also covers other marine craft, such as oil rigs.
Who can do it?
Given the high value of many disputes in this sector, the work can be highly lucrative. This means that the field is an especially competitive one to enter. If considering a career in shipping law, make sure you focus on cases involving shipping when studying contract cases at university, while also seeking out work experience or mini-pupillages with firms and chambers that deal with this area of law, in order to get a better sense of this work.
What is sports law?
The type of work undertaken will depend on what your legal speciality might be; if you specialise in contract law you may find yourself advising a club on the contract with their new hire, a dispute lawyer could be working on litigation dealing with a sponsorship arrangement between a brand and an athlete.
What is the work like and who would suit this field?
Sports law often deals with high-profile cases, involving well-known organisations and public figures, not to mention very large amounts of money. For issues related to seasonal deadlines and large events, such as contracts, lawyers work to tight timescales and the hours can be long at times of high workload.
The sector is niche, and highly lucrative, so the competition for work is very high. While a an appreciation of sport is important in the work, more important is a strong understanding of the sector itself. Lawyers need to be able to offer provide pragmatic, commercial solutions for their clients, and be able to treat sport as a business as well as their passion.
How to get into sports law
The first step to being a sports lawyers is to gain experience and expertise in an applicable field. It is important to bear in mind that, given the competition for work in the field, many lawyers who work in sport do not necessarily do so exclusively. In order to strengthen your position when moving into the sector you could consider pro-bono work for athletes, clubs, governing bodies or representative associations. You could also look for work experience with a local or regional sports law association.
To network and gain tips for this field, join the British Association for Sport and Law (BASL) who host events and seminars.
Law in the media sector
Media is an area of huge growth in today’s society, and so inevitably the law associated with it has grown and developed in order to keep up with the industry. Media Law offers trainees exposure to a range of legal regimes including regulation of all key forms of media content as well as regulating the infrastructures by which such content is delivered. As a constantly evolving sector, it doesn’t come as a surprise that clients are dynamic, young and sociable. As a result, Media Lawyers need to be engaging and characterful.
About the role
Within Media Law, you will find three key areas that you could choose to focus on:
The first is print media, which includes magazines, newspapers and print advertising. Secondly, telecommunications, which includes TV broadcasting and radio. The third field, and probably the biggest in terms of growth, is digital communications, including the internet. As to be expected, all three of these areas are growing at a fast and vibrant pace.
As a Media Lawyer, a lot of the day to day will be about trying to keep up with fast moving developments in the media landscape. You will spend a lot of time on the phone to clients, in meetings and drafting agreements. If you love keeping up to date with the latest legal developments then this could be the role for you.
Which law firms specialise in media law?
Companies like Slaughter and May offer work in this sector, however media law is typically practiced in smaller, boutique law firms. For more information check out Olswang, Wiggin LLP, and Harbottle & Lewis.
Discover commercial law graduate opportunities
If a career in tax law is for you, get a headstart with these commercial law graduate programmes.