What Else Can You Do with a Law Degree? Five Career Alternatives for JDs

Marc LuberWe receive lots of questions from law students asking about alternative legal career options. Conveniently, there are jobs you can do as a law school graduate that don’t involve lawyering!

Today, we’re excited to have Marc Luber, author of 99 Things You Can Do With A Law Degree and founder of JD Careers Out There (JDCOT), here to talk about five alternative legal careers. Welcome, Marc!

As you’re probably already too aware, the economy has caused the legal employment market to significantly shrink. Law school has been getting more expensive while job opportunities and salaries have been going down.

Even in a good economy, career planning takes more than just making it through graduation, collecting a JD, and then expecting everything to fall into place. Taking a proactive approach to your career can help you find the right fit after graduation.

Five Creative Career Alternatives for JDs

Practicing law isn’t for everyone, and since skills learned in law school are highly specialized, that can make career alternatives for lawyers seem limited or non-existent.

JD Careers Out There was created to help lawyers and lawyers-to-be learn about different career paths directly from JDs in those fields, get career mentoring from those JDs, and be steered toward success.

With that in mind, here are five alternative career paths from ex-lawyers who’ve used their skills to be happy and successful in other ventures.

#1. Compliance

Compliance professionals can be found working in industries like health care, technology, insurance, and financial services as well as for the government. Their main role is to make sure that business flows in accordance with all laws and regulations. This may involve a focus on issues including privacy-related regulations, international regulations, and assessing emerging risks.

Lawyers are often hired for these roles due to their strengths in areas like attention to detail, assessing and mitigating risk, communications, and leadership. This is an area of growth for law grads — but you’ll want to bring some experience in the industry you’re looking to join.

#2. Lobbying

Lobbying jobs, particularly in government relations, are explored in this career video with Martha Pellegrino, a law school grad and Director of the Office of Government Relations for the City of Portland, Oregon. She says that people in her role are advocates in the legislative process for their clients.

As someone who went to law school and has a law degree, Martha isn’t practicing law but she is applying the legal skills of a lawyer in the day-to-day of her lobbying career.

#3. Wireless Site Acquisition

In this video on wireless site acquisition roles, entrepreneur Michael Jackson, co-founder of Cortel LLC in San Francisco, gives an overview of wireless jobs and explains that legal skills play a big role in these careers thanks to the land use law, zoning law, and real estate leasing involved in site acquisitions.

If looking for alternative jobs for lawyers, Michael suggests considering this path, even though the law degree isn’t necessary to do the work.

#4. Non-Profit Founder

Tiger Woods Foundation President & CEO Greg McLaughlin chose to use his law degree to pursue the world of non-profit careers and run a non-profit organization.

In this interview, Greg talks about the mission of the non-profit organization and its focus on education. He explains his role as president and the activities he oversees to generate funding for the education non-profit. Before going to law school, Greg started his career in sales. He then transitioned to business development and running events in the golf industry.

#5. Sports Agent

A former Big Law associate, Brian Samuels chose to pursue his passion by becoming a sports agent.

In this video, Brian talks about how it’s one of the great alternative careers for lawyers, giving insights into what sports agents do, how relationships drive his business, and how his legal background comes in handy, especially in the area of procuring and negotiating endorsement deals. Brian’s company, Evolution Management & Marketing, is headquartered in Los Angeles.

This should give you a small taste of some of the JD career options out there. If you want other examples, visit JDCOT for a much more in-depth look at career paths, great mentoring from our experts, and our eBook, 99 Things You Can Do with a Law Degree.

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Thanks, Marc, for these useful suggestions!

Got questions for Marc? Leave them in the comments…

More about Marc:

Marc Luber is the author of 99 Things You Can Do With A Law Degree and the founder of JD Careers Out There (JDCOT), an online video resource helping lawyers find — and succeed in — a fulfilling career path using a law degree. He interviews professionals from a wide variety of careers both in and out of law so that viewers can learn what different paths are really like, who makes the right fit, how to break in and how to succeed. 

Marc is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A., English), the IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, and is a member of the Illinois Bar. He spent the better part of the 2000s as an attorney recruiter in Los Angeles after a first career in the music industry.

You’ll find him on Twitter at @JD_COT and on Facebook. Say hello!

Read On:

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  1. […] women might want to turn to Girls Guide to Law School, where Marc wrote a guest post highlighting alternative careers for […]

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