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There are a variety of career paths within Law & Legal Services, including law firms, public interest, government agencies, and academia, and within each of these there are multiple legal specialties. Below provides a brief introduction to legal career paths and students are encouraged to visit the prelaw portal built by the National Association for Law Placement and the many law career guides offered through OCS’ subscription to the Firsthand Law Guide.

When thinking about a legal career, it is important to realize that most of a lawyer’s work involves research and writing. In order to practice law in the U.S., (for those individuals who attend law school in the U.S.) a J.D. degree is required as well as passing the relevant State Bar exam. For students interested in pursuing a law degree, visit the OCS Law School Resources.

Private Practice

Includes positions with private law firms, such as a solo practitioner, associate, law clerk, paralegal and legal support staff.  Law firms may specialize in one practice area or may represent clients across multiple practice areas. Examples of specialty areas are Appellate Law, Bankruptcy Law, Civil Rights Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Environmental Law, Labor and Employment, Intellectual Property Law, Products Liability, Securities Law, Tax Law, to name just a few.

Public Interest

Lawyers in the public interest include positions funded by legal services, as well as positions with non-profit advocacy or cause-related organizations. Direct client work may include child advocacy, community development, education, public housing, government benefits, and immigration issues. Lawyers working at private firms may also engage in public interest work through pro-bono projects coordinated through their employer or professional association.

Judicial Clerkships

Clerkships are one- or two-year appointments clerking for a judge on the federal, state or local level, usually immediately out of law school. In some cases, clerkships may be more permanent positions at the state and level. Clerkships are often competitive and coveted opportunities, which expose new lawyers to a wide range of legal issues while directly contributing to the judicial decision-making process.

Legal In-House Practice

Many organizations, from large Fortune 500 corporations to mid-size non-profits, employ a small group of in-house lawyers to work on the day-to-day legal activities of the organization. In these cases, there is one client, and the legal work is done on behalf of the employer. Typically, these positions are available to attorneys with at least 3-5 years of prior experience in a private or public setting. 

Academia

There are many opportunities for lawyers within academia. While legal faculty often teach law classes, they may also run legal clinics where students gain valuable experience. Also, within an academic setting there are positions practicing law within the Office of General Counsel, and positions providing legal advice such as in the Risk Management Group. Additionally, many administrative positions value the law degree including admissions, career services, financial aid, and student affairs.

Job Search Resources

Contact recent Yale College graduates to discuss their post-graduate roles. Yale College students can access the lists below by logging …

The Office of Career Strategy collects information about Yale College graduates. This is a great resource tool that allows users …

Explore Job Market InsightsIn partnership withLightcast logo

Search continually updated U.S. market trends to learn about job types (job functions), growth trends, and desired skills. The results will include general information about each job (functional area), employment trends from the past two years and projections for the next 10 years, employers that have that role, desired education level, skills for the position, and more!

TWO WAYS TO SEARCH:

  1. Find Career Data by Selecting Keywords: Enter keywords of various job titles and choose a state or search nationwide to learn more about that job.
  2. Filter by Industry and Occupation: Search by industry and choose among popular occupations/job titles within that industry.

First, choose an industry of interest, then filter for occupation. (If you'd like to see data for a specific location only, filter by state.)

Type in a keyword to select a relevant occupation. (If you'd like to see data for a specific location only, filter by state.)

YC Career Outcomes

The Office of Career Strategy collects information about Yale College graduates. This tool allows users to search outcomes by year and major. Please visit Statistics & Reports for more information on our data collection.

Helpful Tips for the Interactive Tool:

  • There is no Enter or Submit Button, results will appear automatically with your selections
  • Choose ‘All Years’ or ‘All Majors’ for results across years and majors, or check one for more granular results.
  • The tool will return results with at least five responses, for small majors, choosing ‘All Years’ is more likely to show results
  • Default results will show the most recent Class Year.
  • Uncheck the selected major(s) to reset your search.
  • To ensure confidentiality, results are reported in the aggregate and more granular data is not available through this tool.
  • First Destination Summaries are based on the knowledge rate of graduate outcomes six months after graduation according to National Association of Colleges and Employers guidelines.
  • If you require additional information contact the Office of Career Strategy

Most Recent Class Overview

Knowledge Rate Success Rate Mean Starting Salary Top Five Industries
90.3% of those graduating between July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023 94.0% employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation $89,622 among graduates employed full-time in the United States Education, Financial Services, Technology, Consulting, and Healthcare

 

  • First Destination
  • Top Employers
  • Employment Industry and Function
  • Size of the Organization
  • Starting Salary
  • Time of Year Offer Received
  • Internships, Research, and Study Abroad Experiences
  • First Destination Locations
  • Top Universities
  • Advanced Degrees Pursued

First Destination

First Destination refers to the postgraduate plans of Yale College graduates six months after graduation. The pursuits of Yale graduates include employment, graduate school, independent research, military service, and more.

CONTACT & LOCATION

Phone
(203) 432-0803
Address

55 Whitney Avenue, 3rd Fl.
New Haven, CT 06510

SERVICE HOURS

Day of the week
Academic Year Summer Hours
Monday 8:30am - 5pm 8:30am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 8:30am - 5pm 8:30am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 5pm 8:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday 8:30am - 5pm 8:30am - 4:30pm
Friday 8:30am - 5pm 8:30am - 4:30pm

The office is closed weekends, holidays, and recess days.