There are many skills students develop while attending law school. Some of these skills include analytical thinking, public speaking, persuasive writing, negotiating, simplifying and synthesizing complex ideas, and of course, research. Some students enter law school with the intention of pursuing an alternate career to practicing law, while some students later discover that they have little interest in practicing law. It is encouraging to know the skills developed in law school can transfer to other careers. Listed below are a few alternative career options for lawyers.
- Law librarians – If you loved legal research while in law school, then a career as a law librarian may be the right fit for you. Law librarians are often employed in higher education, but there are some law firms and government organizations who employ law librarians. Their job duties typically include providing reference assistance to attorneys and faculty, teaching and training, procuring and organizing library materials, conducting in-depth research, and managing the law library operations.
- Politician – One of the more recognized alternative career paths for lawyers is politics. Though a law degree is not required to become a politician, it can be very helpful because lawyers have mastered the skill of reading and understanding laws and regulation. Lawyers also possess the soft skills needed to be an effective politician such as public speaking and working with people. However, pursuing a career in politics can be very expensive and requires a lot of travel. Nonetheless, if you are interested in government—politics is a suitable option for you.
- Government Relations/Lobbyist – If you have an interest in government and the legislative process but do not wish to run for office, then lobbying may be the career choice for you. Lobbyists represent the interests of their clients before the legislature. Lobbyists also monitor and analyze legislation, attend congressional hearings, and influence public opinion through the media. Lawyers are trained negotiators and persuasive writers which are critical skills for lobbying.
- Sports Agent – Becoming a sports agent is another alternative career option, especially if you have an interest in contracts and, of course, sports! Sports agents represent the interests of professional athletes. An essential part of their job is to negotiate and secure contracts on behalf of their client. Law school teaches you the law of contracts and negotiations which will help in becoming a successful sports agent.
- Human Resources (HR) Manager – A career in HR is a great option if you’re interested in business or employment law. Many of the issues HR managers encounter relate to employment law. HR managers are largely employed by businesses which how the course business associations can be so helpful. HR managers oversee an organization’s recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding processes, consult with the organization’s leaders for strategic planning, and essentially serves as a liaison between the company and its employees.
Other alternative career choices include FBI agent, legal journalist, mediator, and many more! If you’re considering an alternative career to practicing law, the library and Career Services would be great resources for you. I’d also suggest taking a look at the texts Turning Points: New Paths and Second Careers for Lawyers and Nonlegal Careers for Lawyers.