The Legal Profession
About one-third of our graduates opts for a work placement at the bar. This is a three-year work placement. At the bar, our graduates receive additional training of specific professional knowledge, and knowhow of entrepreneurship, communication and negotiation. You can opt for this work placement as an additional study period, offering you further legal training. It is an experience that may prove itself useful in the further course of your career beyond the bar, or it may even inspire you to start your own legal practice. We see that many graduates decide to go and work elsewhere after finishing the work placement at the bar.
In recent years, our politicians have realized that the court backlogs are mainly due to a shortage of magistrates. For that reason, the magistracy has been significantly expanded. Candidates must first successfully pass a selective and comparative written and oral government exam. After passing the exam, candidates take on a legal work placement, the duration of which depends on the position you wish apply for: member of the public prosecutor’s office (‘standing magistrates’) or a judgeship (‘sitting magistrates’). After completing the work placement you can apply for a vacancy among the standing resp. sitting magistrates.
There is a specific Master’s programme that prepares legal experts for the position of candidate-notary public and the profession of notary public. The curriculum contains 60 ECTS but the way that it is structured at the same time allows for a part-time job or work placement. A notary public is appointed by the King after successfully completing a comparative exam. Those who want to qualify as a notary public or recognized candidate-notary public have to take on a three-year work placement (mandatory by law) with a recognized notary public. The Notarial Law programme can also be an interesting preparation for a career in the banking or insurance sector, the real estate sector or public service. The additional legal knowledge and skills you acquire in the programme are highly appreciated in those sectors.
Our government services employ many legal experts. In addition to the federal Justice Department and Foreign Office, many other federal and Flemish ministerial departments employ legal experts. The same is true for municipal and provincial governments. And then there are many other government positions not specifically targeted at legal experts, but for which legal experts easily pass the exams nonetheless.
Nowadays the majority of our graduates find their way into the private sector: banking and finance institutions, commercial and industrial enterprises, insurances, real estate, consumer protection organizations, unions, nongovernmental organizations, etc. Most of them are all-round legal advisors who are involved in policy decisions or disputed affairs. In addition, our graduates end up in positions that are not legal in nature but require basic legal knowledge due to their complexity.
Take a look at our faculty website for career testimonials by legal experts (in Dutch). Other interesting testimonials can be found at www.durfdenken.be (in Dutch).