Many law students are looking at today’s economic landscape and thinking that they might be unable to find work as an attorney after passing the bar exam. In fact, an April 2015 report published in the New York Times asserts that approximately 20 percent of law school graduates from 2010 work in positions that don’t require a law license, while a separate piece in August 2015 claims that “only 60 percent of the law school class of 2014 had found full-time long-term jobs that required them to pass the bar exam.”
Indeed, a career practicing law is not guaranteed for contemporary law students, even those who perform well in school. However, there does exist a host of other alternative careers that, while often not requiring a law degree, can prove rewarding, both emotionally and financially.
Take a moment to consider the following non-traditional legal careers.
Legal Content Writer
With so much experience crafting legal briefs during three years of school, many law graduates may immediately excel in a career as a legal content writer. Content writing is not synonymous with crafting briefs; instead, content writers are expected to create compelling content that is easily readable, informational, and often contains a marketing twist. Furthermore, content writers must also be able to translate difficult legal concepts for those without any experience in the law. And the pay can be attractive, as well; data from PayScale shows that content writers on the upper end of the spectrum can earn well over $70,000 per year, including salary and bonuses.
Although they will likely require additional education to obtain a teaching certificate, law school graduates may be able to find teaching positions at the high school and college level. A background in law will allow the graduate to teach on legal concepts at various levels, or will simply provide him or her with additional knowledge that can be highly beneficial when instructing other courses.
Many law school graduates who understand the plight of their peers may enjoy working as a legal recruiter. Legal recruiters help search for the best and brightest minds in the field of law, and assist various firms and companies in attracting these individuals to their cause. And the compensation is certainly a perk; one source posits that the average legal recruiter salary is over $84,000 annually.
Of course, a career as a business owner requires the individual to have a marketable idea and the personality to thrive as an entrepreneur. For those who do retain these characteristics, however, such a career can be extremely fulfilling. And, experience in the law will only benefit a future entrepreneur, as this may help him or her choose a business entity, operate within government regulations, and otherwise stay abreast of any legal issues that are pertinent to the company.
Law Enforcement Officer
Not all law school graduates will possess a desire to work in the field of law enforcement. However, there are many positions available to those with extensive legal training, ranging from police officers, to positions with the FBI, and even work with various clandestine agencies. While a law degree is certainly not a prerequisite for these, it can assist the individual in understanding the details and objectives of his or her work.
In this case, the pay will vary based on the position and agency; that being said, many such positions provide attractive benefits associated with government work.
Exploring Non-Traditional Legal Careers? Consider These Five Options
Every year there are a few law school graduates who purposefully choose not to practice law. Others are forced to find alternative careers when the lawyer job search doesn’t go as expected. But all is not lost if this is the case. I’ve listed 5 viable non-traditional careers, but this article merely scratches the surface of career possibilities for law school graduates.
Ernesto Sigmon is a lawyer practicing in Houston, Tx. He is a graduate of The Cumberland School of Law, and received his LLM in International Law from George Washington University Law School. You can find him on the web at www.SigmonLawPLLC.com and on Tumblr.