We hear you: more on alternative careers for JDs

by Vault Law Editors | November 29, 2010

We were taken aback by the comments on our recent Thanksgiving blog post. Some readers felt that it was both unfunny and unfairly mocking. Certainly it wasn’t our intention to lob cheap shots at those looking for work—we have both been there and know how tough it is—although in hindsight we can see how some readers might have interpreted the piece that way, and for that we apologize.

That said, we assume that the current bleak job situation comes as no surprise to anyone and, even if it wasn’t as wittily done as it might have been, what our previous post suggests is that law school graduates who don’t land their jobs of choice may need to explore less conventional options.

Note that at least two of the jobs mentioned represent legitimate career directions for those with law degrees. However mundane it may seem, document review is in fact what thousands of lawyers do every day, as associates, as contract attorneys and as workers employed at legal process outsourcing companies. And as more litigation support services are turned over to external providers, LPOs are becoming—for good or ill—a real repository for such skills.

Similarly, legal publishing remains a potentially rewarding choice for those with editorial skills and a legal background. Will you make as much money as an editor as you would have as a BigLaw associate? No. But might you enjoy more variety in your work, more free time outside the office and an alternative way to make use of your hard-earned law degree? Yes.

And while it’s hard to see housecleaning as the best use of a JD, many of the most satisfying career choices of law graduates and ex-lawyers in fact lie in creative arenas having nothing (or very little) to do with the practice of law, from painter to wine maven to publishing entrepreneurs.

Whether you set your sights on a BigLaw, small law or non-lawyer career, we at Vault try to offer suggestions, insights and information to help you achieve your goals. In the past our focus has been primarily on law firms, but we understand that, in this economy especially, many graduates are looking for alternatives to private practice, so, going forward, we will provide more information on non-traditional careers.

Filed Under: Law


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