Why study law
A law degree opens up a wide range of career opportunities in a myriad of fields.
At UNSW Law, we prepare our students for careers in business, media, the arts, science, education, engineering and government. We number among our Alumni, judges, barristers, partners and solicitors in leading law firms, politicians, entertainers, academics and some of the most dedicated public sector and community sector lawyers in Australia.
But there is far more to studying law than just considering career opportunities.
Understanding levers of power in society
Studying law develops one’s understanding of the levers of power in our society in a way that is even more effective than that of political science. This is because law is directly concerned with power and reaches into every part of life. For that very reason law is extraordinarily important to the way of life of any people.
Understanding the ‘rule of law’
Lawyers refer to ‘the rule of law’ because a society which is governed without law leaves ordinary people at the mercy of the arbitrary abuse of power by those who are simply powerful. In some countries the rule of law is absent – think of Cambodia during the rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, for example – and when that happens, life is very difficult for ordinary people who have no way of protecting themselves from the powerful.
In societies where the rule of law exists, people may even be relatively unaware of it, because their life is not interfered with by corruption and abuse of power. Australia is a country where the rule of law mostly exists, and although its legal system is not perfect in every respect, it does restrain unfettered power in many respects. Lawyers can use the law to hold governments accountable.
Making a difference through law reform
Studying law allows a person who has a strong sense of justice to see where there are defects in the system and to work constructively and effectively to change it. In this sense, studying law offers the idealistic person a realistic way to make a difference in the world. Many lawyers work in policy and law reform in this way.
An intellectual challenge
Studying law offers a wonderful intellectual challenge in that it develops the ability to argue from a basis of evidence in a way which can be very hard for non-lawyers to counter. Studying law will equip you with intellectual skills which will give you a decisive advantage in whichever profession you choose.