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Can you combine a career in law with wanderlust?

Criminal law expert SONIA HICKEY outlines six law careers that can allow you to mix travel with work.

If you’re studying, or in the early stages of your career and wondering if there’s a way to combine your love of the law with a love of travel, then, the good news is that there are a number of rewarding careers you can consider. Here we outline six of the law careers to aim for if you want travel to be a component of your job.



Foreign diplomat 

Working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is certainly a job which will take you overseas, and ensure that you get actively engaged with a range of international issues such as peace and security, aid and development, trade or any one of innumerable global policy issues – from climate change to people trafficking to managing health pandemics

While a law degree is not mandatory, it will hold you in good stead, because diplomatic roles are highly sought after and the competition to secure one can be exceptionally tough.

So, if you’re considering a career in the foreign service, certainly take an interest in global current affairs and world-wide politics. The ability to speak and comprehend a foreign language or two will also hold you in good stead, and you must be personable with an ability to relate to all people, no matter their creed, colour, religion, economic or political status.  

Representing your country abroad is a big responsibility, but the role has plenty of perks too, not the least of which is the chance to experience other cultures. 


Human Rights Lawyer

Human rights lawyers are specialists in the area of human rights law. They focus on protecting the rights and freedoms of people, both nationally and internationally. They can work within a private firm or for a government agency such as the United Nations 

Human Rights lawyers can be exposed to some horrendous atrocities, so it’s not a job for the feint-hearted, and it takes a lot of passion and drive. Most human rights lawyers a fuelled by a strong sense of social justice. 

Human rights lawyers interact with a range of people – from victims, to politicians and the world-wide media. Being comfortable in this position is a must, and advocacy and investigative abilities are also essential. Human rights lawyers get the opportunity to travel extensively, both in their home country and internationally. 


Corporate Lawyer

Corporate lawyers advise companies on business transactions including contracts particularly in association with mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; they also advise on corporate governance and strategic and operational issues such as the rights and responsibilities of directors, and generally oversee all legal aspects of the company’s activities

However, many businesses are increasing their in-house legal capacity, and that is, employing corporate lawyers as an internal resource, to advise on a range of business and legal issues, including employment intellectual property issues, contracts, and liability. 

Both careers, whether as a lawyer working for a firm, or a lawyer employed as in-house counsel tend to involve a lot of travel, particularly if you find work with a large national or multi-national corporation.  



International Trade Lawyer

International trade lawyers represent businesses as they attempt to sell goods and services across national boundaries. In an increasingly interconnected world in which the global marketplace continually grows and changes, international trade lawyers are in significant demand. 

International trade law covers a broad spectrum of law including imports and exports, anti-competition, labour and tax, and capital raising,just for starters. It is not dissimilar to corporate law, but in an international setting, so the focus of the work is more specialised and a deep understanding of understanding of import and export laws, customs law, and trade and compliance regulations is required. There is a lot of potential for travel


Litigation lawyers

Litigation lawyers represent people in civil suits, managing all phases of the litigation from the investigation, pleadings, pre-trial, trial, settlement, and appeal processes. While the nature of the work depends very much upon the case at hand, and the nature of the dispute, litigation lawyers do also get the opportunity to travel with work. 


Taming the travel bug 

However, even if none of these particular specialties interest you, then don’t despair. Lawyers consistently rate in the top occupations with the highest prevalence of mental health problems and   law firms are exceptionally aware of this.

There is high potential for burn out– hours can be demanding no matter which field you are in, and the daily stresses and strains can be tough mentally and sometimes emotionally too. This is why so many law firms offer flexible work opportunities that encourage lawyers to find healthy work-life balance.  

As such, even if you take a job that tends to be locally focused, most firms offer ample opportunity to schedule leavearound client commitmentsand to take time off in between cases which will allow you to tame your travel bug and come back to the office refreshed and recharged.


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Written by: Sonia Hickey, Sydney Criminal Lawyers for Traveltalk
Published: 22 July 2019

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