Finding your career passion

by Joshua Harrison

During the early years of law school, life once you leave law school can often seem like it is in the distinct future and thus should not warrant much attention. However, as the degree progresses the reality eventually hits: What on earth am I going to do once I leave university? Often the dichotomy for law students is presented as enter into a large commercial firm or pursuing a career in criminal law, or a more human rights-orientated pursuit. Challengingly, as these career paths are quite broad, necessarily so, students fail to generate much direction from these broad career options.

Now, the question inevitably is: so, how do I find my career passion? The best initial step to take is to think about what you are interested in. Although an obvious step, when doing this it is important to consider this holistically. Consider where your interests lie both inside and outside of the law. Often your interests outside of the law can coincide with various legal paths, therefore, opening up a potential career avenue. For example, if you have a passion for international relations, pursuing a degree in international law, such as maritime law, maybe a potential option. 

As the common saying goes, when deciding if you want to change your career, do not look at what work you are doing, but rather look at the work your boss, and your boss’s boss, are doing. If you have the opportunity to work in a legal position at university, such as a law clerk or paralegal role, consider the type of work that the senior associate or partner at your firm undertakes. If their daily work does not interest you, there is not much point in pursuing that area. It is important to note, however, that you must avoid rash decisions when making significant career options.

While finding a career option that interests you is a key aspect of finding your passion, it is also valuable to consider what you are good at. Try to reflect on your legal skills and your wider skills and discern what area would be best suited to this. For example, if you have a passion for advocacy, and are a skilled public speaker, a career in litigation may be advisable.

Also, it is important to remember that when starting in your career you may be unable to secure a job in your desired field initially, however, this does not preclude you from moving into this area at a later date.