As the complexity of American society increases, public and private employers have greater need for attorneys and legal assistants. People educated in law serve in a variety of settings: in private practice, as partners or employees of law firms, in private industry, with government agencies, in judicial capacities, and as teachers.
Luther alumni have earned law degrees from Drake University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Hamline University, Harvard University, New York University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Valparaiso University, Vanderbilt University, among others.
Practicing attorneys are common jobs in the legal world. Some graduates find themselves drawn to large firms in such cities as New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Des Moines where they gradually develop expertise in a specific area of the law. Others work in smaller firms or even solo practices in both small and mid-range cities; they, too, may develop special expertise or do general law.
Governmental work is another area where many law school graduates find themselves working. The range of possibilities includes: prosecutorial offices, public defenders, federal agencies (Luther students currently work in the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, and Department of Transportation), or state agencies. Luther graduates also serve as sitting judges (trial courts in Wisconsin and Iowa, appellate court in Minnesota, U.S. District Court). Many law school graduates also begin their career clerking for judges; sometimes this can be a permanent job, but usually it is a one or two year appointment.
Non-profit organizations frequently hire persons with legal training.
Commercial enterprises often hire lawyers do in-house legal work. Some enter the world of commerce directly form law school, but it is not unusual for lawyers to work in a firm early in their career and then move to the legal division of a company.
Politicians often regard a law degree as good preparation for a career in electoral politics.
Paralegals also play a large role in the production of law firms. Paralegal education can also serve as an intermediate step toward a law degree. Opportunities for trained legal assistants are growing rapidly in law firms, banks, and corporations. Paralegals work with lawyers, not as legal secretaries, but as colleagues assisting clients with their legal problems. Under attorney supervision, they work in areas such as research and estate transactions. They may also gain experience in corporation formation and trial evidence summarization.
Paralegal programs, approved by the American Bar Association and developed with the National Center of Paralegal Training in New York, are available at a number of colleges and universities. A baccalaureate degree is required for admission to high-quality paralegal courses; these programs are about three months long.