When some students consider law school, they envision themselves working tirelessly at a desk and going to court a few times a week. While many people go to law school in order to later become a lawyer, this profession isn’t for everyone. You can use law school as a springboard for a career in several industries with varying positions beyond being a lawyer in a law firm. If you are considering law school, read on to learn about some alternative legal careers that you can pursue with a law degree:
Legal Counsel for a Non-profit OrganizationWorking as counsel for a non-profit gives you the added satisfaction of championing a cause you believe in and support. This is also a great way to get legal experience after graduating when you are first starting out. For a job like this, you’ll want to start by spreading word to people you know in relevant organizations, or contacting organizations in your area. From there, consider professional networking tools to connect with and advertise your skills to organizations seeking to hire counsel.
Salary: $76,000/year average
County or City AttorneyGovernment bodies frequently require representation and may maintain an attorney on staff for this purpose. A job like this would give you the opportunity to work with all types of people, and give you a “behind the scenes” pass for some historic and interesting changes in local government. These positions tend to be widely advertised; however, small cities and counties may only advertise locally. You’ll also need prior experience for a position like this, and some familiarity with local government legal issues and policies.
Salary: $50,000 - $90,000/year, entry-level, variable
JudgeWhile not a job open to most people just out of law school, it is a possibility to consider for the future, especially given the breadth and scope of the US judicial system. Many judgeships are available only through election, but others are by-appointment from another political body, such as a governor—this varies by jurisdiction. To become a judge, community connections are paramount. People have become judges without a law degree, but without savvy networking, options are limited.
Salary: $100,000 - $150,000/year
Law LibrarianMany of these positions are affiliated with universities, government institutions, or large corporate firms. These positions are great for people who love performing research or have advanced organization skills. To become a law librarian, you must obtain a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree in order to qualify for the work that is required. Law librarian positions are frequently listed online through library job lists.
Salary: $65,000 - $85,000/year average
Healthcare Legal RepresentationThose who attend law school can use their skills and expertise to represent a myriad of clients—hospitals, clinics, individuals, pharmaceutical companies, etc. Law students can complete a Juris Doctor program with an emphasis in health, which will qualify them for a position like this. Additionally, it is possible for those who already work in healthcare to get a master of science in health law, and then combine their knowledge of law and healthcare to help individuals and organizations with health issues that cross into legal territory.
Salary: $131,990 (for legal professionals), $101,340 (for healthcare professionals)
University Professor in a Juris Doctor ProgramRemember, your law professors had to start somewhere. If you want to follow in their footsteps and teach, becoming a university professor through a Juris Doctor program is your simplest route to doing so. If this is something that interests you, higher education job boards are one great place to start—especially if you want to teach at a university in your area, or even your alma mater. Some teaching experience may be required, depending on the position you want.
Salary: $100,000+ per year
If you are worried that law school will tie you down in your career, and limit your choices, think again. Not only are there plenty of different kinds of lawyers, but there are countless legal positions that span across varying industries. View law school as a springboard for any number of exciting careers that will match your skills and personality—not as a one-way road that only leads to being a lawyer.