(Originally published April 2017)
Perhaps you’ve been practicing law for quite a while and are looking for a change of pace. Or, maybe you’ve just taken the bar exam and aren’t sure of your next move. Keep reading to learn about different ways you can put your law degree to work. There are plenty of alternative careers with a law degree—so browse the list below to learn about more career paths than just that of a lawyer.
Alternative Careers With a Law Degree
1. Political Work
If you’re itching to move beyond lots of the writing and reading involved in being a lawyer and work with people, jobs in politics might be something to pursue. As a politician, you get to interact with others and have the true potential to affect change. These things may have been stagnated for you as a lawyer. Political work is vast and comprehensive, and your law degree will likely help to further any avenue of political work you choose.
Just how helpful is a law degree in politics? Well, nearly half the members of Congress and the Senate have a law degree. In the House, this number is about 37%. So, understanding fundamental legal groundwork will give you a leg up!
2. Law Professor
If you’re passionate about the research and writing involved in law, you might enjoy being a law professor. While your primary job is to teach law students, law professors do plenty of research and writing about law behind the scenes. Beyond this, if you enjoy public speaking and thought-provoking discussions, you may find genuine enjoyment in teaching law students. This is a sensible avenue for those who wish to share their in-depth, firsthand experience in the legal field with students working toward a career in law.
3. Government Work
Similar to work in politics, there is a wide array of jobs available working for the government. Having a law degree coupled with legal experience lends you a distinct advantage. You can work for the secretary of state, work in departments about health or law, or complete administrative, secretarial, financial, or human resources tasks. Government roles can offer some of the most rewarding alternative careers with a law degree.
4. Policy or Legal Analyst
Conversely, if you take interest in legality and public policy, but don’t want to stay in the spotlight with political or governmental work, you can put your law degree and skills to work as a policy or legal analyst. You can potentially work to raise public awareness of the issues, for instance, education and constitutional principles. However, your main focus would be compounding facts and doing research for policy research firms or nonprofit organizations. Then, you’ll give these facts as data that works to the benefit of politicians looking to bring new laws into effect. Some of the best companies to work for, like GoDaddy and USAA, offer roles as an analyst.
5. HR Director
Working as an HR director, you manage the human resources team for any given company or organization. HR directors have to maintain the policies and organizational goals for the company extremely competently. They also must craft further goals and implement them. In this, your knack for law and ability to “read” people will help you keep a business well-staffed with a workforce fit for the company’s overall goals. Some of the 100 Best Arizona Companies offer HR roles that prove both rewarding and mentally stimulating for those formerly in the legal field. If you’re on the job hunt, check out the best jobs in Arizona to find your next big career move. Organizations such as Charles Schwab offer similar people-facing roles that would jive nicely with someone who holds a law degree.
6. Legal Recruiter
Similar to an HR manager, as they often conduct employee recruitment, orientation, and training programs, legal recruiters are the HR professional directors of the strictly legal world. Do you enjoy helping people find jobs? Do you want to help lawyers succeed in a difficult market? If so, consider becoming a legal recruiter for a firm or corporation looking to improve their recruitment strategy and bring more lawyers on board. You’ll need to learn how to recruit clients, how to interact with firms, and how to work well with employees. You could work with a wide variety of companies, ranging from individual practices to large recruitment companies.
Holding a JD doesn’t mean you must remain locked to litigation or legal paperwork. Keep searching for novel and flexible ways you can employ your degree and hopefully find yourself satisfied with your career. Those who pursue law degrees generally tend to enjoy meaningful, mentally stimulating work — so check out our Best Careers page to find the perfect fit.