Following Your Dreams: A Second Career in Law

Have you recently been feeling dissatisfied with your career? Do you feel compelled to watch legal shows on television and wish it was you in that courtroom? If this sounds like you, it might be time to give these thoughts some serious consideration. You may be thinking that you have reached a plateau in your current occupation, or are simply no longer interested in it. When you are at work, you might find yourself fantasizing about a different line of work. For many, the career of their fantasies is in law, and the same may be true for you.

Thoughts of a second (or even third) career is not uncommon. Especially if you have found that you are stagnating in your current field, or if you do not find it as fulfilling as you had envisioned. The legal field is home to many such career revivals. A popular focus, particularly with more mature professionals entering the field for the first time as a second career, is the legal support world. Age is often an advantage in the legal world as your maturity will add credence to your words and you can bring a wealth of lived experience to your cases. Clients are also much more likely to choose an attorney or legal aide who looks like they have seen life and can commiserate with their troubles.

If you want to enter the legal field because of a strong desire to help people, working in legal support services can be a dream come true. It guarantees that you will have the means to help people who may have been wronged or taken advantage of to get the justice that they deserve. Depending on where your heart lies, you may find meaning in working in children’s and family services. This means adoption cases or child endangerment. Perhaps you want to seek justice from people who have endangered others with negligence in the workplace or similar.

However, a career in legal services is not just limited to lawyers. The roles within legal support also extend to legal assistants or paralegals who are paramount to legal work in the research they undertake. Court reporters are tasked with keeping records of not only the events of court, but other witness testimonies like video deposition services.

So how do you transition from your current career into these legal roles?

Legal assistants  

Oftentimes, for first-time careers as legal assistants, the most straightforward path is to acquire a bachelor’s or an associate degree. Then they can apply for internship positions at law firms of their choice. But for those with experience and qualifications in other fields, a certificate course that covers the foundations of legal studies should suffice. These cover theory, ethics, researching, general law procedures, as well as office management. This is usually expected in order to acquire an internship position in a legal office.  

Title Examiners  

Where there is land, housing, and other types of real estate involved, a title examiner is at the center doing the essential research. They learn about zoning regulations, writing property descriptions, compiling tax information, and more. It may be possible to acquire a title examiner or an abstractor position as a high school graduate. But you will need several years’ experience in the legal field. But if you are coming to law for your second career and have no relevant experience or prior foundation, you will need to return to school. You may benefit from an associate’s degree or certificate program in paralegal services. This is because it serves as an excellent base to build many types of legal careers on.  

Court Reporters  

Court reporting involves keeping records of live legal proceedings such as trials and depositions. These records serve as the official transcripts, and are made using specialized equipment. They require editing and preparation by the court reporter for read back at future proceedings. Due to the highly skilled nature of the job, in order to become a court reporter, especially without having worked in the field prior, an associate’s degree is vital. This will provide you with training for shorthand, transcription, and general legal knowledge. You may also be required to obtain a court reporter’s license.    

If you truly feel that your current career is unfit for you, and you find legal support services exciting, a second career in this field is not only a possibility, but an achievable one. With the proper training to provide you with your legal foundation, you could be on your way to a professional adventure. The experience that you have gathered from your current or previous career can often result in transferable skills that will aid in your newfound legal career.  

Many colleges offer tuition waivers and bursaries to adult students and there are several loan schemes you can explore as well. As a well-paid field, any investment you make in yourself to pursue a career in law can reap great rewards once you start working.

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