In Australia, the legal profession remains one of the many careers that can promise high salary potential, as well as a breadth and depth of opportunity. For those looking to complete a Juris Doctor or other legal qualification in Australia, it can be difficult to understand the potential salary options on the table.
Let’s dive into some of the potential roles available upon completion of a Juris doctor salary in Australia, and how they can offer professional rewards in a highly-sought-after industry.
Legal Qualifications to Expand Your Horizons
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to enter the legal profession. Typically, these are contingent on your academic level of experience – as a result, some options are available to high school graduates, whereas others are restricted to those with an existing bachelor’s degree, and some industry exposure.
A Bachelor of Laws qualification is typically taken by high school graduates and is considered an entry point for students to jump into law, straight from high school
A Juris Doctor qualification has a different entry path- in this case, entrants must demonstrate that they hold an undergraduate degree. They may also have domain expertise in a particular field.
Both a Bachelor of Laws and a Juris Doctor cover courses related to a vast spectrum of legal fields. Some of the areas covered include specific legal sectors such as law, administrative and criminal law. As well as this, legal qualifications expose students to additional elements, such as the role of professional ethics and legal responsibility.
Outside of the core subjects, students also have the opportunity to take on electives and expose themselves to further legal fields, such as workplace law, or policy and social change. In some cases, students may also dive into legal studies at overseas institutions, while receiving credits towards their degree.
Are you unsure about some of the roles that are available upon graduation? It can be quite difficult to interpret some of the roles available to legal graduates, without a keen eye for the details. Let’s explore some of the potential career outcomes available to legal graduates, and how they may appeal to you.
The Role of In-House Lawyers
For those that are looking to pursue a legal career, there are a vast array of public and private opportunities available. One such pursuit in the private sector is the role of an in-house lawyer, typically for a large corporation.
An in-house lawyer is employed by a corporation and is typically responsible for meeting the legal requirements of a single employer. This normally involves understanding how the legal frameworks that a business is bound to interact with the obligations that lawyers must meet, for example, to shareholders, and regulators.
A bank is a classic example of an organisation that may have in-house lawyers on hand. These can be vital in understanding how areas such as home loans interface with the legal obligations of a bank to regulators such as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
A qualified and experienced in-house lawyer can typically earn many times the median household salary in Australia. In December 2022, in-house lawyers had a typical salary of $245,000 per annum, according to job site Seek.
Representing the Judiciary – from Magistrate to Judge
If you’re looking to get involved in public legal careers, there is a vast range of options available. For example, beginner roles such as legal and policy clerks allow those with legal qualifications to gain experience within the walls of our legal and judicial systems.
Upon graduation, a learned legal professional may wish to advance their career in the public sector. This may involve working as legal counsel for government agencies such as the CSIRO or working towards a role as a barrister within the court system.
For those that strive to be the best representative of the judiciary for the community, with time, dedication and practice, opportunities may arise for individuals to jump to the other side of the bench, and become a justice or magistrate. This can be of great financial reward for those that are selected – some magistrates can earn upwards of $450,000 annually in Australia.
No matter your chosen legal path, a variety of high-value, high-quality jobs are available for the right graduate. Keep your eyes open for the opportunities that arise – you never know where you might end up.