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Career Choices After Law School

3L, University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law

When I went to law school I was told that I would make a great lawyer. Initially that’s exactly what I wanted to hear but as I continued through my law school career, I wondered what other options there were for me. This is a question most law students ask themselves at some point during the three plus years we spend in that dark window-less building. With the once booming legal market being virtually non-existent for this generation of lawyers, determining the legal fields that will see the most growth over the next 10 plus years and finding out-of-the-box opportunities are critical.  With that begin said, this blog lays out a number of growing legal fields and quasi-legal options soon-to-be lawyers can take advantage of once they graduate.

Growing Legal Fields: Law students looking to follow a more traditional route after they graduate will be more likely to find a job if they go into a legal field that is currently growing. Most of the legal fields that are currently on the rise are those where the laws are always changing. Not only do these areas offer jobs but they also offer the unique opportunity for those coming in to help form the future landscape.

Family Law: Although this can be a rather touchy field, there is high turnover due to frequent divorces, which means jobs for new grads. Additionally, the overall landscape is changing in this area with same-sex marriages and divorces currently being debated heavily. For those interested in constitutional questions, this could be the place to practice for the next 10 plus years.[i]

Business Law: New businesses are starting every day, and old businesses are selling every day. Each time one of these events happens, lawyers are needed. In addition, lawyers also help with everything in between such as drafting operating agreements and employment agreements.[ii]

Health Law: The healthcare industry is always growing and with recent legislative reform, the legal landscape is rapidly changing bringing many new opportunities for new grads and law students in related areas like malpractice, insurance, and compliance.[iii]

Intellectual Property Law: With new technology development on the rise especially in the information sector, many new disputes have developed in this area of the law.[iv]

Alternative Careers: Many law school grads and attorneys are pursuing non-traditional careers. The reason one might choose an alternative career could be because the hours are better, the stress is lower, there is no need to pass the bar, or the fact that the market for traditional legal jobs is currently on a downward slope. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that a J.D. is much more than just a law degree. The skills you learn while in law school can be invaluable in many different careers.

Law School Positions: Law schools might be struggling right now but the fact is, they will always be around and that means they need various personnel. Positions in a law school for new grads and those with some experience could include working in the library, with IT, or being a professor. [v]

Business Personnel: Opportunities in the business world are endless. These opportunities can include venture capitalism, consulting, performance improvement, compliance, risk, marketing and many others. In addition to these general business positions, more and more lawyers are becoming executive officers. The skills one learns in law school are invaluable in leadership.

Political Positions: The public sector always needs lawyers for everything from staff counsel positions to politicians to lobbyists. These positions are available not only in Washington D.C. but also in each state and major cities.[vi]

This blog only skims the surface of the many opportunities available to law students, recent grads, and current attorneys. But the main take-a-way is that your degree can take you much further than you might realize so explore the possibilities.




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Great overview of the emerging fields and other opportunities to keep in mind! There's information here for everyone from a 1L to recent grads to older attorneys looking for something different. Thanks!


Jessica, this is a great post and very informative! I recently completed a presentation on “Alternative Legal Careers” for a seminar class and you hit on nearly everything I found. There are only a few options I would add to this wonderful list. Legal information providers, e.g. West, Lexis, and bar prep companies, offer a wealth of opportunities for law grads. Furthermore, there is an expansive list of jobs under the alternative option, frequently called “JD Advantage” jobs. NALP and ABA statistics highlight the growing prominence of these law-related careers, and they provide a wider range of positions demanding the skills we acquire through law school. Thank you for writing on this topic. Thinking outside the box, beyond traditional law employment, is more important today considering, as you mentioned, the profession’s downward slope of available jobs.


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