Be a Litigation Consultant
With your Psychology degree you might decide to take a career path to be a Litigation Consultant (also known as a jury consultant or trial consultant). Litigation consultants conduct research (e.g., focus groups), prepare witnesses to testify, develop trial strategy, and assist with jury selection. It is interesting that there are no specific requirements or qualifications to be a litigation consultant. It may make things easier for you to start off your career if you have an advanced degree, but in the end your knowledge, experience and connections are much more important than advanced degrees.
Given what was just said, what are some things you can as a student, to prepare yourself for a career in Litigation Consulting. Here goes:
1. Get immersed in the field of litigation.
This can include something that is very simple--go to court to watch and listen. As you sit there, you will get a feel for the job and learn how the legal process works. Another advantage of this approach is that by being in court you are guaranteed of making contact with potential clients (i.e., attorneys).
2. Make sure to join relevant professional organizations
You need to join the American Society of Trial Consultants and other groups. These organizations typically provide networking functions at conferences, internship opportunities with the larger consulting firms, and access to listservs, etc.
3. Get experience speaking in public
Especially true if you plan to be self-employed is the importance of being comfortable with public speaking. You can gain this experience by speaking (for free initially) at law firms on various topics (e.g., jury selection). Besides getting speaking experience, this is a "foot-in-the-door_, a way for you to start relationships and ultimately get hired.
4. Think beyond Psychology in your course selections
Being your own boss will require you to know something about how to run a business. Therefore, consider taking one or more business classes or classes related to the law.
Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.
About the Author:
Brad Bradshaw has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Kentucky. He is the principal at Bradshaw Litigation Consulting, LLC, which is a national consulting firm based in Austin,Texas.
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