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VIC Criminal Law and Family Law - Other Related Career Options?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Sapphire, 16 August 2015.

  1. Sapphire

    Sapphire Active Member

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    I am a third year student studying Law/Arts (major: crime & legal studies). I love studying law, but I don't know if I want to be a lawyer anymore. I first visited a court at 16 and I believed then that I wanted to be a solicitor. The 'idea' of being a lawyer intrigued me, I suppose. However, my ignorance meant I knew nothing about what being a lawyer (or studying law) actually entails.

    It's hard for me to deal with this because I feel I have some emotional attachment to law. I've learnt so much about it over the years and it have been interested in it as a potential career for so long. Yet, as the years have passed by, I've realised I'm far more passionate about my Arts subjects that relate to criminology. This makes sense to me, as the only law subjects I'm interested in (and love) are criminal law and family law. If I could study these two areas alone I would be so happy!

    You see, next year we are 'supposed' to be applying for clerkships with various law firms. I am so terrified. The process for applying (not to mention interviews) sounds absolutely daunting. I don't even know if I want to do that. I'm trying to convince myself that I would make a good lawyer, but deep down I think I know it's not suited to me.

    Further, I am an introverted, quiet person. I'm terrible at 'thinking on my feet' or coming up with arguments when put on the spot. I've always despised public speaking and giving presentations with a passion. Many of my classmates/peers are confident, talkative and sociable and most of them want to do commercial law or work in top-tier firms. I'm not like that. I love helping others, and I want to genuinely help people. Perhaps this is why I am drawn to criminal/family law. I've been told I'm a great listener. From my own experience, I've noticed I am able to be objective/impartial without letting my emotions take over. But I don't want to work in a top-tier firm. I want a work/life balance. I don't want to do something that makes me feel terrified, or that adds to the generalised and social anxiety I already struggle with.

    Thus - what are some careers outside of practicing law in the criminal justice area that I could think about pursuing? Would I even have a chance? I was thinking, perhaps, a position with the government in a crime unit. I still want to graduate with my law degree, of course, but I just don't know if I should practice law. If I am hesitant about it, does it mean I shouldn't do it? What do you think?

    All opinions, advice and anecdotal stories would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
  2. African Daisy

    African Daisy Member

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    I practiced law for 5 years then switched to being a legal policy officer in the state public service. Best thing I ever did. Like you I'm an introvert, wanted work life balance and wanted to make a difference. Ive worked at legal aid, legal practice board, dept human services. Lots of variety available in the policy field. Best wishes for your future career.
     
    Sapphire and John R like this.
  3. Sapphire

    Sapphire Active Member

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    Thank you for your answer. Would you mind elaborating on your experience practicing law, and could you explain what a legal policy officer is? What's the best thing about your job? Hope you don't mind me asking :)
     
  4. African Daisy

    African Daisy Member

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    I did my articles and then stayed on for four years at a big city law firm, doing commercial litigation. I didnt enjoy the adversarial nature of litigation and I didnt get much job satisfaction from acting for big wealthy corporate clients. Most of all, I found the long hours required were incompatible with being a single Mum. A legal policy officer generally works for federal & state government bodies. Some are government departments ( eg Dept of Justice) but some are independent authorities (eg. Legal Aid). You generally do research , analysis, advice and drafting documents about a range of issues related to the legislation that affects your employer organisation & its clients. This means there is a huge variety & you can work in a field that interests you. I did criminal& family law policy at legal aid, I did housing policy at DHS and I policy about the regulation of lawyers at the practice board. To get an idea of the roles, I suggest you look up job ads for legal policy officers & look at the job descriptions. For example Legal Policy Officer | Carlton - Melbourne - CBD | Vacancies - Careers.vic.gov.au Hope this helps.
     

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