Forensic psychology and law are not necessarily two careers you would group together. However, both share similar skills and goals. Studying law provides an array of transferable skills from attention to detail to strong research abilities. We spoke with professionals from our psychology department and legal pro-bono team to hear from both perspectives how these two subjects can complement one another.
Thinking outside of the box
Both lawyers and forensic psychologists must possess the ability to think big. This means thinking outside of the box and being able to identify patterns to build a bigger picture. The ability to build this bigger picture helps professionals in both industries to make accurate predictions and assumptions, making the most of the information at their disposal. This is just one of the ways that a law degree sets students up well for further study and a career in forensic psychology, as they are already hardwired to think in a highly pragmatic way.
Adding to this, our Pro Bono co-ordinator and Employability Group Manager, Amanda Crutchley, said: “Forensic psychologists work within the Criminal Justice System and a trained lawyer is ideally placed for a career in the sector, bringing insight and a practical slant to the role.”
Knowledge of the legal and justice system
Our tutors highlighted how law graduates are well-equipped for a career in forensic psychology due to their solid understanding of the legal and justice system. Forensic psychologists use their knowledge of psychology to build criminal profiles, working closely with the police to identify suspects. This element of the role is enhanced by an existing knowledge of the justice system and criminal behaviour. Forensic psychologists also help to provide therapy to current and existing criminals, supporting them in adjusting to life in prison, re-adjusting to life once they come out, as well as advising parole boards and working closely with courts.
Lecturer in Psychology, Jonny Dudley, noted that MSc Psychology graduates might also wish to go into academia, contributing to the valuable research that develops the therapies and knowledge utilised in application-based forensic psychology. Law graduates interested in switching to a career in forensic psychology can fast-track this by undertaking a conversion course.
Passion for justice
Perhaps the most notable element tying these two subject areas together is their collective goal of restoring justice. Forensic psychologists and lawyers alike share a passion for helping the community, using their introspection and knowledge to ascertain acts of injustice. For example, family solicitors must provide legal advice in matters such as divorce, neglect, and other sensitive situations. Therefore, trained solicitors must uphold strong interpersonal skills and empathy to deal with these types of complex and emotional issues. All trained barristers and solicitors have a high level of emotional awareness and a sensitivity for dealing with many different types of people and situations.
Students who opt to pursue our MSc in Psychology have a range of career opportunities in the field of psychology more widely, as the course teaches all the core foundations of the subject. This might include anything from counselling and psychotherapy to working as a clinical psychologist. Those who have completed their undergraduate course with us can also benefit from our Alumni discount.
Amanda concluded by saying: “A law degree is the gateway to endless possibilities for a varied and exciting career. Forensic psychology, a career with the police, working within music, film; the options are vast. The transferable skills gained for great employability are acknowledged and we offer our students full support in the Careers and Pro Bono team to find a stimulating career that is right for you.”
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