What can you do with your law degree and practice experience besides practicing law?

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A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes
What can you do with your law degree and practice experience besides practicing law? The options are astonishingly wide. Here are just a few of the most common nontraditional ways lawyers and recent graduates make use of their legal background without practicing law.






Servicing the Legal Profession. Let's start with law firms themselves. Former practitioners happily serve as firm managers or administrators, or as directors of practice development, client services, professional development and associate recruiting.


You can also work for one of the thousands of service providers to the profession, many of which were founded by former practicing lawyers. Any edition of The National Law Journal or ABA Journal will offer dozens of examples: computer software vendors, contract lawyer placement agencies, litigation management and legal research services, and jury, marketing or management consultants.


And don't forget the publishers of legal books, magazines, newsletters and newspapers, as well as the increasing number of online services. All of them hire law school graduates in departments as diverse as editorial, sales, management, acquisitions and training.


Regulation or Enforcement Specialist. In general, corporations and government agencies are interested in lawyers with knowledge relevant to compliance and enforcement functions. Examples include ADA, affirmative action, the environment, employee benefits, internal ethics, labor relations and legislative or community affairs. Purchasing agent and contract administration positions are also prevalent.


Educational Administration. Most law schools these days prefer to hire law school graduates for positions in career services, alumni relations, fundraising, and CLE. Colleges and universities also hire lawyers as ADA and EEO investigators, to monitor risk management, human resources, or technology transfer, or to work in contract negotiation and administration.


Nonprofit Management. Every bar association and function provides opportunities for law school graduates to manage or supervise operations. Lawyers frequently handle discipline, CLE, attorney assistance, mentoring, public affairs and lobbying functions.


Nonprofit organizations outside the legal profession often look to their volunteers – many of whom are lawyers – to fill new positions as directors or project managers, or specialists in development or planned giving.




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