Getting a law degree is a big deal, or it can be a big deal. What really matters is how you use the degree. There’s a couple of ways you can use your law degree. The first way is to treat your degree like a status symbol. The second way is to actually use the skills and knowledge you picked up in law school. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a lawyer. So, read on for ten jobs you can do with a law degree.
1. Public Sector
I’m thinking specifically about working in the District attorneys office, or the public defender’s office. There are lots of different ways you can get involved here. You can work on the city level, the county level, the state level, and even the federal level. You can specifically deal with only professional athletes, maybe only prosecute large white-collar crimes, and even deal only with kids cases. There are lots of different jobs in this area for people with law degrees.
2. Private Sector
Here you can work in a small, medium, or large law firm. The practice areas are limitless, almost. You could work as a general practitioner, real estate, divorce, bankruptcy, immigration, civil litigation, secured transactions, negotiated instruments, corporate law, international law. It just depends on your interests.
3. In-House Counsel
Another option is to be an attorney for a corporation. In this job, you’ll essentially be the “legal department” for the company, answering legal questions that range from employment and contract disputes, to intellectual property law. You’ll normally get to deal with a bunch of different kinds of issues, so you won’t have to worry too much about getting bored with doing only one are of law.
In litigation, most jurisdictions require the parties to attend some form of mediation before proceeding to trial. This means there is a bunch of demand for competent mediators, who attempt to help adverse parties come to an agreement on one or all of the potential issues that could come up in a trial. If you become a mediator, it’s your job to try and help people get along and come to agreements.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Scott Turow. It’s possible you saw “The Paper Chase,” which was based on his book titled “1L.” He writes fiction when he’s not practicing law. There’s a bunch of people out there that went to law school and ended up writing instead. Terry Brooks, Nick Stephensen, and numerous others with law degrees ended up being authors.
Your legal education will help you to analyze issues, and see things in ways that most people don’t. This puts you in the unique position to be able to help others in their own problems, whether they are personal or business. If you combine your legal education with your life experience, you’ll find that people will come to you for advice, and they’ll listen to it as well.
Your law degree will also open up avenues to teach in undergraduate, community college, and post-graduate work. There is always a need for people with legal experience to teach students in these school about legal issues that are relevant to their areas of study. Whether it’s business law, public interest law, medical law, or even copyright issues, you can be sure that most colleges have the need to bring in professor who can address these issues.
8. Upper Level Management
You might also find that jobs like CEO, CFO, and COO are suddenly open to you because of your law degree. Granted getting a position like one of these is probably not going to happen immediately, having your law degree will definitely be another reason for one of these opportunities to come your way.
Running for political office is another way you can use your law degree. Not only is it a resume booster, but being able to read and write a statute comes in very handy.
10. Non-Profit Work
Finally, you can work in the non-profit world, as a member of the board, as a founder, or even as retained legal counsel. You’ll be in the unique position to understand the legal issues that face both the non-profit you work for, and the clientelle you serve. You’ll also be able to help the leadership in the non-profit navigate whatever regulatory waters that it’s wading through.
So, if you find that you don’t want to practice law, remember this: your legal education will help you in the long run, whatever area you choose to practice in.