Categories
Legislation

10 Alternative Careers With a Law Degree

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 colleagues looking at computer screen

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

Woman typing on laptop

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

College class instructor

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.

Legal Compliance

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.

Legal Consultancy

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 Recruitment

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

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.

Legislation

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.

Mediation

Man and woman signing documents with help of mediator

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, Advocacy

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.

Categories
Child Custody

Co-Parenting Agreements Put Kids’ Best Interests First

Taking care of your kids after your divorce

Co-parenting is your single most important right as well as your single most important responsibility with your ex-spouse post-divorce. If you can co-parent amicably (and no doubt that’s a challenge), your children gain stability and the chance to maintain close relationships with both parents.

But just how can you deal with or even avoid the stress that comes from trying to co-parent when your relationship with that other parent is broken? It is easy enough to say it requires maturity and intent on both sides, but that doesn’t tell you how to do this.

One solution: A co-parenting agreement that spells out respective responsibilities and limitations, enabling each of you to avoid unnecessary conflict with the other.

From Spouses to Co-Parents: Redefining your relationship around your child

Creating a joint custody and parenting arrangement, especially after a hostile split, can be exhausting and infuriating. How will you get past the painful history you shared with your ex and conquer the resentment?

Decision making, interacting at drop-offs, or just speaking to a person you’d rather forget all about can seem agonizing. So it’s not easy.

But it is the best way to guarantee that your children’s needs are met, enabling them to rightfully retain close relationships with both parents.

Consider redefining your relationship with your ex as one focused entirely around the well-being of your children, rather than about either of you. Your marriage is over, but your family still exists. Once your relationship with your ex becomes centered on your kids, you can both move on from your pasts.

The first step to being a mature, responsible co-parent is to always consider your children’s needs first and, in doing so, you’ll find that you’re actually serving your own needs, too.

What is a Co-Parenting Agreement?

A co-parenting agreement (or plan) is a contract that you and your ex-spouse create and agree to. It sets forth the guidelines you will follow as post-divorce parents. This plan specifies how your children will be cared for, who will care for them, and where and when they will live or spend their time.

A parenting plan, also called a “Custody and Visitation Agreement”, not only lays out time shares (the schedule for when the children will be with each parent) but also for decision making (how parents will make shared decisions about major issues such as your children’s health, education and welfare plans and contingencies).

A solid plan should cover more than just the details of pick-up and drop-off and homework time; it should also explain the parenting philosophy, overall goals and shared commitments to which have each and/or both committed.

Specifically, the plan should:

  • Cover how the parents will meet basic needs for guidance, love, protection, healthy diet, medical care and sufficient rest.
  • Consider each child’s unique abilities, personalities, and special needs. Your plan should adjust to each child instead of forcing the child to adjust to it.
  • Provide secure and stable routines.
  • Cover consistent and fair times for vacations, day-to-day care, management and choice of homework and school activities, and holiday times/locations.
  • Prepare for key contingencies such as how a new partner of an ex-spouse will impact parenting and college tuition, as well as how far apart parents may reside in the event of a move, etc.

The age of each child dictates how detailed and flexible you need to be. Young children have an overwhelmingly strong need for consistency between homes. Older children are more adaptable but may require more rules since they are beginning to develop their own lives and have their own associated responsibilities and activities. This means that eventually your own kids will have more say in how they spend their time.

Establishing Parenting Plans can actually help future relationships by enabling new romantic partners to read what you and your ex agreed on and to understand, objectively, your intentions and commitments to your children.

Co-Parenting Schedule and Plan Making Tools

A great tool for developing a parenting plan is the AI software at timtab.com. Just by entering basic details about your parenting situation — such as child ages and school travel times — Timtab generates a set of parenting schedules, a summer schedule and a draft parenting plan.

A useful guide to co-parenting that includes The Legal Agreement; What Is Co-Parenting and Why Do It?; Communicating With The Other Parent; Talking to Your Kids; When Your Kids Visit The Other Parent; Consistency; How Children at Different Ages May Be Affected; and Conflict With the Other Parent is available here.  Review the guide carefully, since co-parenting involves many things that go beyond what can be put to paper — such as how you should speak to your kids about the other parent and how to interact with your ex and your children to put the priority in order to maximize your kids’ consistent and healthy development.

Co-Parenting Tips

Kids will adjust more quickly and easily to divorce and have better self-esteem when they:

  • Feel secure about and are confident of both parents’ love
  • See both households are consistent, so they know what to expect and what is expected of them.
  • Observe their parents working together, which also helps them understand and model positive problem solving and conflict resolution skills
  • Have a healthy example to follow as they grow into their own futures
  • Are not put in the middle of their parents’ conflicts and unresolved issues
  • Are never used as messengers between parents, and are not exposed to their parents’ conflicts about their past relationship.
  • Are never told negative things about one parent by the other or are made to choose one parent over another.

Co-Parenting agreements are valuable in a number of different respects. They help focus parents on what is important—the welfare and interests of their kids. They reduce conflict by establishing clear guidelines for everything from financial responsibilities and shared expenses to birthdays and holidays — as well as religious upbringings. Further, they help establish consistency and foster a sense of security in children just as those kids are adjusting to the divorce of their parents.

The result is that co-parenting agreements help exes parent as a team, making them more effective parents, period. You want your kids to be less able to manipulate you or to play you against each other; and agreements enable you to do this by presenting a clear and united front, especially in terms of discipline and expectations.

Divorced parents who enter into an honest conversation about co-parenting and commit to developing and following a comprehensive co-parenting plan have everything to gain.

Parenting is a challenge, albeit a rewarding and loving one,  even under the best of circumstances. When you add dual households, residual relationship issues between parents, and the tremendous stressors that arise out of divorce, complications increase exponentially. Even so, this needn’t negatively impact children’s upbringing and development.

Successful co-parenting between exes is very possible. It’s up to you as a mother or father to decide how successful you will be and to ensure you are doing what a good dad does best: putting the best interests of your children first.

Categories
Child Custody

Custody in Best Interests of the Child

Courts in New Hampshire decide custody by considering the “best interests of the child”. The principle serves as a constant reference point in awarding custody and visitation time, creating custody schedules, and deciding which provisions to include in parenting plans.

Let’s explore the idea of a child’s best interests, what factors are considered and the implications for custody cases.

Parenting Schedules and Plans

A parenting schedule indicates which parent has care of a child at any given time. It forms part of a parenting plan, which is a broader document detailing the responsibilities of each parent.

Parenting schedules and plans are best worked out by parents together, possibly with the help of mediation (where a neutral third-party assists parents to agree). Where an impasse occurs, judges will develop a plan using the best interests of the child principle. Often, the court’s plan will draw on plans proposed by one or both parents.

The best parenting plans balance specificity with flexibility. Plans should be clear about exactly what is meant to happen but without limiting the ability of parents to adapt to the circumstances (which tend to change over time).

Matters that may be included in a parenting plan include:

  1. the decision-making responsibility of each parent and joint decision-making responsibilities
  2. conditions on a parent’s decision to move homes, such as geographic restrictions
  3. the child’s custody schedule, including a vacation schedule and arrangements for holidays and other special days
  4. who is responsible for transport at each changeover
  5. a dispute resolution mechanism.

A parenting plan and custody schedule may be based on joint physical custody, which is also known as shared parenting. Joint custody means each parents has a minimum of 35% visitation time and should normally be preferred by judges — provided that the parents are both considered competent and able to cooperate.

Other, less-equal parenting timetables are also possible, such as 70/30 custody schedules. As explained by Child Custody Solutions, a 70/30 schedule means a child has an average 4 overnights with the non-custodial parent per fortnight.

New Hampshire Parenting Laws

When separated parents arrive at court for a ruling on parenting plans, New Hampshire judges anchor decisions using the principle that the best interests of the child must be served.

Although each case is assessed individually, New Hampshire legislation acknowledges that children benefit by having “frequent and continuing contact” with both their parents. In addition, children are considered to benefit by having parents who “share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children.”

Judges may consider any factor they consider relevant to a custody decision. But they are also guided by several factors explicitly identified by New Hampshire’s laws. Here are the main factors judges are asked to factor into custody decisions.

Child Health and Safety

Judges consider any issues that may affect the physical well-being of a child. A central concern is the ability and willingness of each parent to provide basic necessities, such as shelter, proper clothing, healthy food and medical care as required. The respect financial resources of the parents are a consideration, along with individual competency and care-giving qualities.

Safety can be an issue also. For example, a parent with a domestic violence record might be granted visitation only under the condition that the visits be supervised. Contact may be prohibited in cases where serious risk of physical or sexual abuse exists.

Emotional Needs and Child Maturity

Custody decisions need to account for the emotional impact on the child, both in the present and future, from ordering certain care arrangements. Existing bonds with caregivers need to be respected while also recognizing that children can be adaptable over time. Judges are inclined to make decisions that keep siblings together.

The maturity or age of the child is obviously an important consideration. Younger children, for example, have limited ability to cope with time away from their main caregiver(s). Often, judges make orders for graduated increases in visitation time with non-custodial parents to reflect the growing maturity of a child.

Co-Parenting Relationship

New Hampshire legislation emphasizes the willingness of each parent to nurture and maintain an effective co-parenting relationship. The law requires parents to encourage and promote frequent contact — unless there is good reason to conclude that such contact may be harmful to the child.

Communication skills in particular are assessed when a court contemplates making an order for joint legal custody or joint physical custody. For joint custody and a co-parenting plan to be appropriate, parents should be able to communicate and cooperate to make agreed decisions. Otherwise, a decision to award one parent sole custody may be reached.

Legal and Physical Custody Options

Legal custody refers to a parent’s responsibility for making major decisions concerning a child’s health, education or welfare generally.

On the other hand, physical custody refers to the child’s time spent in the care of each parent.

Joint legal custody is preferred unless domestic violence is an issue or other evidence indicates the parents will likely fail at working cooperatively for the benefit of the child.

A judge ordering joint legal custody may also decide that the child should spend similar amounts of time with each parent. Alternatively, a judge may find that, in the child’s best interests, he or she will have a primary physical residence while also spending significant time with the other parent.