Non-Lawyer Jobs For Those With A Law Degree
By Brooke Faulkner • October 17, 2016•Careers, Other Career Issues
Not everyone who goes to law school intends to become a lawyer. Some have other aspirations, like becoming a judge or a professor, while others are simply interested in learning about law. There are also plenty of students who discover throughout law school or internships that being a lawyer might not be the right job for them. Others still may pass the bar and go on to practice law, only to discover down the road that it’s not their ideal career.
Everyone deserves a career that makes them happy while also utilizing their knowledge and talents. Having a law degree does not default you to a life of being a lawyer, and us ladies in particular are good at finding new ways to showcase our strengths. For those of you who might not be on the path to practicing law, here are several other careers where you can utilize your law degree:
If you enjoy math or have always had a knack for numbers, accounting might be the career for you. Forensic accounting is a highly specialized field that will utilize many of the skills you learned throughout law school, including researching, evidence gathering, and having an eye for the slightest details that are often overlooked. If you’ve always thought accounting sounded boring, add a law degree to it and it suddenly becomes an exciting job worthy of its own suspense ridden television drama.
Unlike traditional accountants, forensic accountants don’t sit around crunching numbers all day. They spend most of their time examining books to make sure that everything is on the up-and-up, legally speaking. They might be employed by a large company or corporation as a fail-safe to ensure that they don’t accidentally break the law and to protect the company’s assets by weeding out any fraud, theft, or embezzlement its employees attempt. Forensic accountants can also work for both private and government agencies investigating individuals or businesses who might be involved in criminal activity. Either way, your knowledge of the law will be indispensible in this career.
For you overachievers who could never decide whether you wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, healthcare administration is the best of both worlds. Both careers are ideal for those who want to help people every day, but they both require it to be done in a very hands-on capacity. Healthcare administrators help people on a much larger scale by constantly working to improve the field of medicine. They are typically in charge of keeping an eye on new trends, new technology, and the ever-changing demands the industry faces and then implementing new strategies, equipment, and systems to provide better patient care.
You will also find your knowledge of the law very useful to this job, as healthcare administrators need to understand all of the intricate laws and regulations that govern the medical practice, including HIPAA, malpractice laws, and government regulations to make sure all of the facility’s patients and employees are protected. This job also pays really well compared to to other healthcare workers who don’t practice medicine. The average annual salary for healthcare administrators is $90,970: not quite six figures, but it sure isn’t bad for such a rewarding career.
Special Agent For The FBI
If you’re the kind of gal who can’t sit still all day and needs an active job that provides constant thrills and challenges, this elite title will fit you well. A bachelor’s degree is all that’s required to apply for the FBI in general, but they are much more selective about their special agents. One of the few specializations they look for is a law degree, so you’re already well on your way to being qualified for this exclusive program.
No matter what area of the law you studied, there is probably a place for you in the FBI. They need people who specialize in all different areas, from criminal law to tax law, even domestic law and foreign trade. The best part: because it’s been a male-dominated field for so long, the FBI is actively seeking to increase its female quota. The application process generally takes several months, but if you go for it, your law degree is more likely than not to land you a career as a special agent.
Human Resources Director
If you’re oozing people skills and you’re looking for a job title that garners (slightly) less negative connotations than “lawyer,” you should consider a job in human resources. The demand for HR directors is high as almost every medium to large-scale company has a human resources department. Once a business steps out of the realm of “small” or “startup,” it’s imperative for them to protect their employees as well as their brand reputation, and that’s where the HR department comes in.
A Human Resources director will be in charge of all aspects of employee relations, from assessing new applicants to writing and implementing employee policies to coordinating benefits and employee appreciation endeavors. Your law degree will come in handy as HR directors are also in charge of ensuring the company’s legal compliance. While they work very personally with employees every day, they are also the neutral third party that steps in whenever a policy or law is potentially being broken to cease the problem and educate everyone on the particulars.
Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many different fields you can enter with your law degree, and new arenas are popping up all the time. The sky's the limit, JDs!
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beyondbillables July 31, 2017
It’s so good to read a list of alternative careers for lawyers that’s actually realistic! I wrote a blog post on this too - readers of this article might find it worthwhile too: https://beyondbillables.com/leaving-law-alternative-careers-for-lawyers/