A law degree opens up career opportunities beyond just practicing law. The analytical, communication and management skills developed during the course of a law degree can be applied to many alternative career paths.
Exploring the different options available can help you find a career that aligns with your interests. This article presents alternative careers with a law degree in hand, to aid you in the process of discovering the right path.
Before you jump ship in terms of a career as a lawyer, be aware that many career options exist within the broad field of legal practice. Dozens of practice areas offer varying kinds of work for law graduates.
Business, Corporate Law
Business and corporate law refers to the legal aspects of business operations, finance, and mergers and acquisitions.
Here are a few examples of how a law degree can be used in the field of business and corporate law. But there are many other possibilities as well. Law degrees provide a strong foundation for understanding the legal aspects of business and finance, and can be a valuable asset for professionals working in these fields.
Corporate counsel are legal professionals who work in-house for a corporation or business. They provide legal advice to the company’s management and employees on a wide range of issues, such as compliance with laws and regulations, contract negotiations, and employment law. Corporate counsel also work closely with other departments such as finance, human resources, and operations to ensure that the company’s activities comply with the law.
Investment bankers help companies and governments to raise money by issuing and selling securities. They also advise companies on mergers and acquisitions, and they work on complex financial transactions. An investment banker typically has a background in finance, economics, or business and may have a law degree. They use knowledge of securities laws, corporate finance, and economics to help clients raise capital, restructure their operations and make strategic decisions.
Financial analysts advise businesses and individuals making investment decisions. Analysts apply knowledge of financial markets and industries to analyze securities and make recommendations about buying, selling, or holding them. Part of the job is to examine the financial performance of companies. Employers include banks, insurance companies, and investment firms. A financial analyst may also have a law degree, especially when working in a regulated industry such as banking or finance.
An entrepreneur is a person who starts and runs a business, taking on financial risks in the hope of making a profit. Some entrepreneurs have a background in business or finance, but others have law degrees and use their legal knowledge to start and run a business. They may use their legal background to navigate the legal aspects of starting and running a business, such as incorporation, contract negotiation, and intellectual property protection.
Journalism or Writing
Writing and journalism are fields where a law degree can be a valuable asset. Legal professionals with strong writing skills and knowledge of the law can excel in these fields, providing valuable insights and analysis on legal matters to the general public.
A legal journalist covers legal news and issues for newspapers, magazines, websites, and other publications. Topics include legal decisions, legislation, court cases, and other legal matters. These journalists also analyze and interpret legal developments, and report on the impact of legal decisions and legislation on society. They may also interview legal experts and write feature articles on legal topics.
Legal bloggers write about legal topics on their own website or for a larger publication. The job could be to blog about legal developments, offer analysis, or provide commentary on legal issues. The focus could be on a specific area of law or industry. A blogger may also provide resources and information for people to understand legal matters.
Legal copywriters write legal documents such as contracts, agreements, and legal briefs. Employers include law firms, legal departments, and legal technology companies. Copywriters may also produce marketing materials and website content for legal services providers. They use their knowledge of legal language and concepts to write clear and concise legal documents that are easy for non-lawyers to understand.
Legal academia refers to the field of teaching law at a university or law school.
Law professors, legal scholars and law school teachers play a crucial role in legal education and in shaping the next generation of legal professionals and policymakers. Academics provide students with a deeper understanding of the law and its role in society, and help to develop the analytical and critical thinking skills that underpin success in the legal profession.
A law professor teaches courses in law, conducts research, and publishes scholarly articles. Courses may be in a specific area of law such as criminal law, contract law or international law. Professors also mentor students, advise them on career choices, and provide guidance on how to succeed in law school. They also serve on committees or boards within the law school, and may be involved in developing new programs and initiatives.
Legal scholars are similar to law professors, but focus more on conducting research and publishing scholarly work. A legal scholar may conduct research on a specific area of law and may be considered experts in their field. They may also be invited to speak at conferences, teach courses as a visiting professor, and be involved in public policy discussions and debates.
Law school teachers instruct courses in law to students in law school. Courses are usually in a specific area of law such as criminal law, contract law or international law. The job is also to mentor students, advise them on career choices, and guide them on how to succeed in law school. Teachers may also help develop new programs and initiatives in the law school.
Compliance officers ensure that a company or organization is following all relevant laws and regulations. They create and implement compliance programs, monitoring and reporting on compliance activities, and identifying and mitigating compliance risks. They may specialize in a particular area of compliance such as anti-money laundering, data privacy, or health and safety.
A compliance analyst monitors and analyzes a company’s compliance with laws and regulations. They conduct compliance reviews and audits, identify compliance risks, and recommend remedial actions. They also help the company to develop and implement compliance policies and procedures, and to ensure that all employees are trained on them.
A compliance manager manages and oversees a company’s compliance program. They work closely with the compliance officer and other managers to ensure that the company is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. They also guid and support other departments and employees on compliance matters.
A compliance director leads and directs the compliance program of a company. They develop and implement compliance policies, procedures and standards. They also ensure that the company has the necessary resources and processes in place to meet its compliance obligations and they are in charge of ensuring that the company’s compliance program is effective and efficient. They also report regularly to the board and senior management on the company’s compliance status.
A legal consultant provides expert advice and guidance to businesses, organizations, and individuals on a wide range of legal matters. They specialize in particular areas of law such as intellectual property, corporate law, or labor law, or they may have a broader practice.
Legal consultants may be hired on a short-term or long-term basis to provide strategic advice, conduct legal research, review and draft contracts and agreements, and help clients navigate complex legal issues. Some legal consultants are self-employed and work as independent contractors, while others work for consulting firms or in-house at a company.
A legal advisor is similar to legal consultants, but is more focused on providing ongoing advice to a specific company or organization. They are considered internal experts and they work closely with management and other departments to ensure a company is complying with all relevant laws and regulations. They also advise on legal issues related to the company’s operations and help to mitigate legal risks.
A legal strategist is a legal consultant who focuses on strategic legal advice and identifying potential legal risks for a company or an individual. They often work closely with the management of the company to develop and implement legal strategies that align with the company’s overall goals and objectives.
A legal analyst is a legal consultant who specializes in analyzing and interpreting the law and providing expert advice on legal issues. They often work in specialized areas such as legal research, legislative analysis, or regulatory affairs. They conduct legal research, analyze legislation and case law, and provide expert opinions on complex legal issues.
Legal recruiters are professionals who help law firms and legal departments find and hire qualified attorneys. They typically have a deep understanding of the legal industry and the job market for attorneys. The work may be on a retained or contingency basis, meaning payment is contingent on successfully placing a candidate in a position.
A legal recruiter works closely with hiring managers to understand their specific needs and preferences Part of the role is match the qualifications of the candidates they represent with the requirements of the job. They also conduct interviews with candidates, and provide feedback to both candidates and hiring managers. Other tasks are to guide candidates on salary negotiation, resume preparation and interview techniques.
A legal staffing professional is similar to a legal recruiter, but they often focus on placing temporary or contract attorneys with law firms and legal departments. The aim is to fill short-term needs for legal talent, such as during busy seasons or when a permanent employee is on leave. They may also help to identify potential long-term hires for the company among the candidates they place.
A legal talent acquisition manager coordinates the entire process of recruiting and hiring attorneys for a law firm or legal department. They develop and implement recruiting strategies, build relationships with law schools and other organizations, and work with hiring managers to understand the specific needs. These managers also oversee legal recruiters and legal staffing professionals, guiding and supporting their work.
Legal technology is an important and growing field that offers a wide range of career opportunities for individuals with a law degree. Legal tech professionals develop, implement, and manage technology solutions that help the legal industry operate more efficiently and effectively.
Legal tech developers design, develop and implement technology solutions for the legal industry. Employers include legal technology startups, law firms, or in-house legal departments. Developers develop software and applications that automate legal processes, improve document management, and provide online legal services. They may also have experience in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing which can be used to analyze legal data and make predictions.
A legal project manager manages and coordinates the delivery of legal services using technology. They’re hired by law firms, legal departments or legal technology companies. Project managers work with clients to identify their legal needs and develop technology solutions to meet those needs. They also oversee the development and implementation of technology solutions, ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget.
Legal data analysts specialize in analyzing legal data to provide insights and improve decision-making. They work for law firms, legal departments, or legal technology companies. The role involves using data analysis techniques such as data visualization, machine learning and natural language processing to analyze legal data. Analysts also work with legal teams to identify patterns, trends, and insights in the data and provide recommendations on how to use that information to improve legal services.
An e-discovery specialist collects, processes, and reviews electronic data in the context of litigation or an investigation. They use specialized software and tools to identify, preserve, collect and analyze electronically stored information (ESI) such as emails, documents, and social media data. They also work with legal teams to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements for the collection and review of electronic data.
Government lawyers are attorneys who work for federal, state, or local government agencies, providing legal advice and representation on a wide range of issues. They specialize in areas such as criminal law, environmental law, or tax law. The job often involves drafting and reviewing legislation and regulations, representing the government in court proceedings, and providing legal advice to government officials
A government lawyer may also work on cases involving government regulation, public policy, or administrative law. Relevant issues include national security, immigration, and international relations.
A government lawyer is considered to not practice law in the traditional sense because he or she works for the government rather than for private clients or corporations. The traditional practice of law involves representing individuals or businesses in court, negotiating deals, or drafting contracts. Government lawyers are more focused on the legal aspect of public administration and policy making,
A legislative analyst analyzes and interprets legislation and provides expert advice on legal and policy issues. Employers include government agencies, legislative bodies, or organizations involved in developing legislation. These professionals conduct research, analyze legislation and case law, and provide expert opinions on complex legal and policy issues. They may also assist in drafting legislation and regulations, and participate in legislative hearings and meetings.
A regulatory affairs specialist understands and navigates the complex web of laws and regulations governing a particular industry. Employers include companies, trade associations, or government agencies in need of help to comply with laws and regulations. Regulatory affairs specialists may advocate for changes in the law when necessary. They also help organizations to submit petitions, applications, and other types of filings to regulatory agencies, and to communicate with regulators. These pseudo lawyers are also involved in the development and implementation of compliance programs, and may assist in preparing legal documents such as contracts and agreements.
Mediators facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties without the need for a trial. They help parties to reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable, by helping them to identify the issues in dispute, explore options for resolution and negotiate a settlement.
A mediator may specialize in a particular area of law such as family law, employment law or commercial disputes. Mediators typically have training in conflict resolution and negotiation, and they may be certified by a professional organization.
Mediators work to create a safe and neutral space to have difficult conversations and help parties to communicate effectively with each other. They also help them identify their underlying interests and needs, and to generate options for resolving the dispute.
An arbitrator is similar to a judge in that they hear evidence and make decisions in a dispute. However, unlike judges, the parties choose arbitrators and agree in advance to be bound by their decisions.
Arbitrators may be chosen for their expertise in a particular area of law or industry. They conduct hearings, consider evidence and testimony, and make decisions on disputes presented to them. The process must be fair and impartial, with ample opportunity for each party to be heard. The decisions of an arbitrator are usually final and binding and are less appealable.
A dispute resolution specialist helps parties resolve disputes via methods such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. They may specialize in a particular area of law or industry and have skills in conflict resolution, communication and negotiation. Part of the job is to design and implement dispute resolution processes, and work directly with the people involved.
Non-profit and advocacy organizations promote and protect the public interest. Individuals with a law degree can play a critical role in these organizations, with interesting alternative jobs available.
A policy analyst conducts research and analyzes laws, regulations, and policies to inform the development of proposals for legislative or regulatory changes. They also evaluate the potential impact of proposed changes and communicate recommendations to policymakers.
A program coordinator works to design, implement and manage programs aimed at addressing social issues such as poverty, education, and public health. They may also develop and manage partnerships with other organizations, and develop and manage budgets.
An advocacy coordinator promotes and protects the interests of their organization, and the communities they serve, by developing and implementing advocacy campaigns and initiatives. They may also lobby government officials, and develop and maintain relationships with community leaders and other stakeholders.
A community organizer works to build power and effect change in low-income and marginalized communities. The job is often to identify and mobilize community members, and build alliances with other organizations. You may also educate and empower community members to take action on issues that affect them.