Career Paths: Non-Traditional/Alternative Legal Employment

Some law students graduate from law school with the unsettling feeling that the traditional practice of law is not the perfect career they had imagined when they began law school.  Luckily, there are many options available today to those who decide to shy away from the mainstream of practice.  You may wish to use your experience in a career that requires knowledge of the law and frequent contact with lawyers or their needs, for example.  You may decide, after any length of time, to leave practice and use your training and skills in other fields.  You may have enrolled in law school so that you could be more effective, acquire greater responsibility and earn more in the field in which you intend to remain.

Hiring officials have become increasingly aware of the value of hiring lawyers to fill various positions within their organizations.  Because of the basic skills that lawyers acquire in law school, attorneys have the qualifications to prosper in many different fields.  You acquire basic skills in law school not provided by any other part of our educational system.  These skills can lead to a competitive advantage in many fields.  These skills include the ability to analyze facts and frame issues, legislative and regulatory analysis, and oral and written advocacy, to name just a few.  These skills are not only basic to your value in a non-legal position, but are also essential to success in the business world.                                                                                                         

Alternative law-related positions are found in every employment sector and in virtually every industry and economic endeavor, including corporations, trade associations, professional associations, every level of government, advocacy organizations, foundations, colleges and universities, accounting firms, hospitals, museums, banks, insurance companies, and even law firms.  For specific suggestions and a list of hundreds of alternative legal careers, please refer to Federal Reports Inc.'s "600+ Things You Can Do with a Law Degree (Other Than Practice Law)."  In addition, the Career Planning Office has several resources dealing with alternative career options and how to go about finding one of these jobs.