What Are Some Popular Law Careers?

Popular law careers include those as a judge, lawyer, police officer, paralegal, forensic analyst or private investigator. Read on to learn more about these careers and their job duties. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Important Facts About Law Careers

Judges Lawyers Police Officers Legal Assistants/Law Clerks Forensic Analysts Private Investigators
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 1% growth 10% growth 5% growth 17% growth 6% growth 11% growth
Median Annual Salary (2014) $115,140 $114,970 $56,810 $38,390 $55,360 (for forensic science technicians $44,570
Similar Occupations Arbitrator, Mediator, Conciliator Judge, Hearing Officer Correctional Officer, Firefighter, EMT, Paramedic Claims Adjuster, Appraiser, Examiner Biological Technician, Chemical Technician, Epidemiologist Accountant, Auditor, Financial Examiner
Key Skills Critical-thinking, decision-making, listening Problem-solving, research, interpersonal Judgement, communication, physical strength and stamina Organizational, research, interpersonal Detail oriented, calmness, critical-thinking Patience, resourcefulness

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics


Judges are responsible for overseeing the legal process in the courtroom. They impartially preside over every case under their jurisdiction. Judges are typically required to have a bachelor's degree, a Juris Doctorate and relevant work experience. Trial judges preside over initial criminal or civil actions that establish the facts of a case and rule accordingly. Appellate judges review trial decisions for compliance with statute, procedure and case law, or they may resolve constitutional questions on appeal.


Lawyers are articulate quick-thinkers who argue on behalf of their clients in a courtroom. Some work for large corporations, while others run their own private practice. Lawyers work in general practice or specialize in bankruptcy, employment, probate, criminal or other law. Lawyers hold a bachelor's degree as well as a law degree and may work well over 40 hours per week.

Police Officers and Detectives

Police officers help to protect everyone in society. They respond to emergency calls, investigate crime and pursue anyone breaking the law. Police officers also write reports documenting their citations and work varying hours. Some police officers hold degrees in criminology or criminal justice, while others have no formal education.

Paralegals, Legal Assistants and Law Clerks

Paralegals help lawyers build cases by performing research, sorting through evidence and writing briefs. Paralegals usually have an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor's degree and a certificate in paralegal studies.

Forensic Analysts

Forensic analysts are also known as forensic scientists. They analyze evidence at a crime scene, including blood, fingerprints, photos, explosive residue and other materials. This evidence is used to build criminal cases. Forensic analysts present their findings through written analysis, reports or testimony in a courtroom. Forensic scientists hold a bachelor's degree in a scientific field.

Private Investigators and Detectives

Private investigators and detectives are independent contractors who help individuals, businesses and lawyers locate and analyze information and evidence. Most private investigators offer a variety of services, such as protecting executives or celebrities, investigating computer crimes or assisting with missing person cases. Private investigators' work is very dangerous, and the work hours are odd and irregular. Most private investigators have work experience in law enforcement, the military or government intelligence, and they are required to be licensed by their state.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »