Breaking Free from Tradition Read These Leading Career Alternatives for Lawyers Seeking Change
Ben Thomson* An increasing number of law graduates are seeking careers outside of the law – and with good reason. As law firm profits and hiring slow with the oncoming recession and with the pressures of law practise, why not use your law degree in a way that provides a great income and a more relaxed lifestyle?
Law school graduates may find themselves wondering what to do with their degree if they decide not to pursue a career as a lawyer. Fortunately, there are many non-law jobs that can benefit from the skills and knowledge gained during law school without all that ‘trial’ – or trials – and tribulation of filling time sheets and seeing whether you make partner or not (in one of the ‘prestige law firms’ that I recently wrote about and which include lawyers working every hour God sends them.)
We wrote about some of these developing ‘non-law’ careers three years ago in LawFuel, and one of those career paths has continued to provide a major opportunity for ‘lawyers’ who do not wish to practise law (see number 1, below).
While a law degree can be useful in many fields, some non-law jobs are particularly well-suited to those with a legal background. From finance to education, there are a variety of career paths that can provide fulfilling and lucrative opportunities for law school graduates.
In this article, we will explore the 12 best non-law jobs for anyone with a law degree. Whether you are looking for a change of pace or simply want to explore your options, these jobs offer a chance to put your legal skills to use in a new and exciting way.
Jobs in Legal Field
If you have a law degree, you may want to consider a job in the legal field that is not practicing law. There are several jobs in the legal field that require a law degree and offer a range of opportunities.
1 Selling LegalTech Tools
The growth of AI and the buzz around ChatGPT has accelerated the inevitable, rapid growth of legaltech developments for lawyers and for anyone with any sort of tech interest or involvement, this opens major opportunities.
Having a law degree when selling or developing legaltech tools adds to the credibility of the developer/sales person and can only continue to open new, lucrative opportunities for those seeking alternative-to-law careers.
2 Legal Consultant
Legal consultants provide expert advice to clients on legal matters. They work in a variety of industries, including finance, healthcare, and technology. Legal consultants may also work for law firms, providing assistance on specific cases. They typically have a deep understanding of legal processes and regulations, and they use this knowledge to help clients navigate complex legal issues.
3 Legal Writer
Legal writers create content for legal publications, including books, journals, and online resources. They may also write legal documents, such as contracts and briefs. Legal writers must have excellent writing skills and a strong understanding of legal concepts.
They may work for law firms, publishing companies, or government agencies.
Remember you don’t need to be Hemingway. But organisations like ours at LawFuel are always keen to have written content relevant to our law audience and there are marketing, recruitment, business, and other groups who would love writers with legal experience.
4 Legal Recruiter
Legal recruiters help law firms and companies find and hire legal talent. They may work for recruiting firms or in-house at a law firm or company. Legal recruiters must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as well as a deep understanding of the legal industry and the skills required for different legal roles.
5 Legal Analyst
Legal analysts work for law firms or companies, providing research and analysis on legal issues. As legal issues continue to evolve and develop – be it through family law, employment and labor law, competition and banking – the need for thorough analysis of what is occurring continues to develop.
They may also assist with drafting legal documents and preparing for trials. Legal analysts must have strong analytical skills and a deep understanding of legal concepts and regulations.
6 Jury Consultant
Jury consultants work with attorneys to select juries and develop trial strategies. They may conduct research on potential jurors and provide advice on how to present evidence and arguments in court.
The field of jury consulting is specialized, comprised of social scientists, communication experts, psychologists, linguistics, and former trial attorneys.
Jury consultants will usually have at least a Bachelor’s Degree although most will have a Masters, Ph.D or Juris Doctor (or equivalent) before working as consultants, which is a field that includes experts in linguistics, psychology, communication and – of course – law.
Jobs in Business and Finance
If you have a law degree, you have a solid foundation in legal and analytical skills that can be applied to a variety of business and finance roles. Here are some of the best non-law jobs in this field which continue to offer some major opportunities for lawyers seeking alternative careers.
7 Real Estate
Much of the law involves property and real estate issues and questions and a large number of lawyers, former lawyers and legally-qualified professionals enter the property market as realty or real estate agents, developers, manager and in a range of other property-related roles.
Lawyers are often well suited to this area of commerce because of both their legal background, but also the heavy emphasis in legal study upon property rights, subdivision and development issues, property finance and so forth.
The number of lawyers involved in property will doubtless continue to grow as opportunities continue to arise for them in these areas and notwithstand economic uncertainty, the property market in modern economies continue to provide both challenge and opportunity.
8 Compliance Officer
As a compliance officer, you would ensure that a company is following all relevant laws and regulations. This job requires a strong understanding of legal requirements and the ability to analyze complex information. You would also need to be able to communicate effectively with employees at all levels of the organization.
9 Risk Manager
In this role, you would identify and analyze potential risks to a company’s operations, finances, and reputation. You would then develop strategies to mitigate those risks. A law degree can be particularly useful in this field, as it provides a strong foundation in risk assessment and analysis.
10 Investment Banker
Okay it’s been having a tough time of late, with the collapse of the SV Bank and other near-miss or actual-hit moments in banking, but there are a slew of lawyers populating the banking scene and the opportunities to work in the industry remain strong.
Investment banking is a highly competitive field that requires strong analytical and communication skills. As an investment banker, you would help companies raise capital by issuing stocks and bonds or by arranging mergers and acquisitions. A law degree can be particularly useful in this field, as it provides a strong foundation in corporate finance and securities law.
11 Contract Administrator of Contract Manager
There are two distinct roles here, but both offer those with a law degree a major leg up into the world of management or consultancy. As a contract administrator, you would be responsible for reviewing and negotiating contracts between a company and its customers, suppliers, and partners. A contract manager handles that contract flow and implementation – so both involve a strong involvement in the contracting process – ideal of the ‘lawyer’.
This job requires a strong understanding of legal terms and concepts, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders. A law degree can be particularly useful in this field, as it provides a strong foundation in contract law.
Overall, a law degree can be a valuable asset in the business and finance world. These are just a few of the many non-law jobs that can be a good fit for someone with a legal background.
Jobs in Government and Politics
12 Policy Analyst
Policy analysts are responsible for researching and analyzing public policies and their effects. They evaluate the potential outcomes of proposed policies and make recommendations to policymakers. With a law degree, you have the necessary skills to excel in this role. You can use your legal knowledge to analyze the legal implications of policies and their impact on society.
13 Legislative Analyst
Legislative analysts provide support to legislators by analyzing proposed bills and their potential impact. They also help draft bills and provide legal advice on legislative matters. With your legal background, you can provide valuable insights into the legal implications of proposed legislation.
14 Intelligence Analyst
Intelligence analysts work for government agencies and are responsible for analyzing and interpreting intelligence data to identify potential threats to national security.
These jobs abound as intelligence and other issues play an increasingly important role in our lives with tensions between the Western governments and China, Russia and others.
For instance in the UK, the MI5, MI5 and GCHQ provide a huge number of opportunities across the board for those with tertiary qualifications, including lawyers.
In the US, the CIA provide equally large opportunities, quite apart from the range of other intelligence agencies in Central Government.
With your legal training, you can analyze legal documents and provide insights into the legal implications of intelligence activities.
15 Paralegal Specialist
Paralegal specialists work for government agencies and provide legal support to attorneys. They conduct legal research, draft legal documents, and assist with litigation. With your law degree, you have the knowledge and skills to excel in this role and provide valuable legal support to government agencies.
Working in government and politics can be a rewarding career for anyone with a law degree. These roles allow you to use your legal knowledge to make a difference in society and contribute to the development of public policy. Consider exploring these career options if you are interested in pursuing a career in government or politics.
Jobs in Education
For those with a law degree and a passion for teaching and education, there are several non-law jobs in the education sector that could be a good fit. Here are a couple of options:
One of the most popular non-law jobs for lawyers is becoming a law or business professor, depending upon your major and your interest. Law professors teach legal principles to college and university students, but they can specialize in some of the more esoteric and interesting areas of law or commerce.
They also develop syllabi, deliver lectures and lead classroom discussions.
You would typically need to have a Juris Doctor degree and a strong record of academic achievement to become a professor. According to Indeed, the national average salary for a law professor is $4,083 per month.
17 Academic Advisor
Another non-law job in education is becoming an academic advisor who help students navigate their academic journey, from choosing courses to applying for graduate programs.
For lawyers, their knowledge of the education system, their communication and writing skills and other attributes provide significant assets in the assessment of how others too should be addressing their career options.
They also provide guidance on career paths and other important decisions. To become an academic advisor, you typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as education or counseling.
According to Indeed, the national average salary for an academic advisor is $47,237 per year.
The Alternative Law Job Options
Having a law degree can open up a wide range of career opportunities beyond traditional legal practice. And as we reported in a survey of lawyers in Singapore last year, fewer than half of the lawyers surveyed said they would recommend that their children enter the legal profession.
But major opportunities still abound. By leveraging your legal knowledge and skills, you can excel in various industries, including business, finance, government, and more.
In this article, we have explored the 12 best non-law jobs for anyone with a law degree. These jobs offer competitive salaries, excellent growth prospects, and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in your chosen field.
Whether you are a recent law school graduate or an experienced legal professional looking to transition into a new career, these jobs can provide you with the challenge, satisfaction, and rewards you seek.
Remember, the key to success in any career is to leverage your strengths, develop new skills, and stay abreast of industry trends and best practices. With your legal background and a willingness to learn and adapt, you can achieve great success in any of these non-law jobs.
So, if you are ready to explore new career opportunities and take your legal career to the next level, consider pursuing one of these 17 best non-law jobs for anyone with a law degree. With hard work, dedication, and a passion for excellence, you can achieve your professional goals and make a difference in the world.
So what jobs have I missed? Let me know and what your experiences are with them.
Ben Thomson has written extensively about law firm business and marketing. His last major article for LawFuel was the 30 Most Prestigious Law Firms. He has written other pieces for LawFuel and other mediaand may be contacted at [email protected].