Those who are in the process of pursuing a law degree can sometimes feel overwhelmed with the prospect of being pigeonholed into one career choice after graduation. Earning a law degree takes intense dedication and a high level of intelligence, and employers across all fields recognize the benefits of hiring a law school graduate. This means that there are countless opportunities regarding how you may use your law degree. Whether you are working toward an L.L.M. (Master of Law) or you are already a lawyer looking to switch careers, there are many options for how you can use your degree. As you pursue your educational goals and search for your ideal vocation, consider one of the following lawyer-friendly careers.
There are many parallels between entrepreneurship and practicing law, as both career paths require the ability to negotiate contracts as well as an understanding of complex laws and regulations. Through appearing in court and representing a variety of clients, lawyers learn how to market themselves in a way that translates well in the business world. Law school and subsequent employment as a lawyer also promotes a high level of skill in communication, which is essential to being a great entrepreneur. Additionally, just as you must work well with a law partner, owning your own business requires teamwork and the ability to choose compatible business partners. According to Forbes, many former lawyers have found a great deal of satisfaction in starting their own businesses, and the skills they learned in law school have proven to be extremely helpful. They have also discovered that starting a business is a great way to use a law degree while having the added benefit of being their own bosses.
Anyone who has gotten a law degree has experience with writing about the law, and lawyers today have more writing experience than ever, as many cases are decided based on written motions and briefs. You can use your writing skills and knowledge of the law to write for publications geared toward lawyers, or apply your expertise to become a legal analyst and write about your findings. If you have a knack for writing fiction, try writing a legal thriller. Law fiction is highly popular, and television shows, movies, and novels about legal action are in high demand. If you are not ready to write a full-blown book, test the waters by doing some freelance writing for legal magazines, newsletters or blogs.
Your extensive knowledge and experience with the law will likely motivate you to make important changes that impact the lives of others. Use this knowledge to support public interest groups working to change existing laws. Many non-profit organizations assisting disadvantaged citizens could use your legal expertise to help make policy changes and lobby for improvements in the law.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the recent changes in healthcare laws have led to an increase in job openings for lawyers at a variety of medical facilities. Nursing homes, hospitals and various government agencies are in need of assistance when it comes to implementing the increasingly complex health laws. Those with a law degree have much to offer the many healthcare organizations that are in desperate need of an in-house legal staff. Healthcare law executives review licensure requirements, assist with mergers into other healthcare organizations and help create health insurance plans.
If you have a passion for the environment, consider using your law degree to work for an organization such as the Environmental Protection Agency. These kinds of organizations are always looking for law-savvy employees to help enforce environmental regulations, provide legal advice on policy changes and conduct vital research. You can work to develop strategies and policies to protect the environment from pollutants and measure the environmental impact of certain chemicals. Pursuing a career in environmental protection is a great way to use the skills you learned in law school such as writing and problem solving and interpersonal communication.
If you have an interest in business and management, consider using your law degree to land a job as a management consultant. Consultants help companies improve productivity through careful analysis and implementation of new policies. There are many parallels between being a lawyer and being a consultant, and thus, many skills learned in law school are valuable in the world of consulting. Problem solving, analyzing complex data and interpersonal communication are all law-related skills that are highly conducive to a consulting career.
No matter what career path you choose, there are many ways you can use your law degree to land an exciting job. Consider these options as you work to obtain your law degree or explore how you might move on from your current work as a lawyer.
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About the Author: Dana Bryan is a contributing writer and law professor. She studied tax law and owned her own firm for 15 years.