(Closed) Advicee: Know any non-traditional legal careers?

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

being from dc, i have a bunch of friends who have gotten law degrees and now work for the government in various capacities. one of my friends had the exact same background as you – worked on capitol hill pre-law school, worked in civil litigation during law school, got his law degree, didn’t want to practice law. he now works for a health care non-profit, helping them draft legislation and lobby for health care reform. he found a lot of non-profits and lobbying firms looking for people with law degrees. it doesn’t pay what a big orporate firm pays a first year, but he still does very well and doesn’t have to work 80 hours a week. i know he’s really happy with his decision.

Post # 4
Member
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I know of a program that is looking for JDs to teach legal writing and English as a second language to foreign-trained attorneys who are in the US pursuing an LLM degree. Have you done any teaching or do you have a linguistics background? You can PM me if you’re interested.

Post # 6
Member
439 posts
Helper bee

Hello Fellow 3L Bee!

I’m taking the Colorado bar.  I sometimes feel that way about practicing law.  I really want to do estate planning, but that seems to be everyone’s fall back (like if I can’t find another job, I can always write wills).  I actually want to do it full time.

Have you thought about being a law librarian?  If I didn’t already have an MA, I would go back to library school (it was a toss up between library school and law school when I decided to go back).

What about being a law clerk for a judge?  I’m interning with a judge right now, and I love it.

They do an “alternative” career panel at our school every year, and usually the whole panel is filled with our librarians.  Last year, they had a guy who became a priest after law school (which seemed like a really strange person to put on the panel…I mean, you kind of have to have a calling for that kind of work).  One that really interested me was a woman who worked for an adoption agency.

I’m actually hoping to work for a Legal Aid type place for a few years so I can be exposed to a bunch of different areas of law to find something that clicks for me.

I know what I don’t want to do…Tort law.  I spent all summer doing tort law, and I hated every second of it.

I definitely know where you’re coming from, though!

Post # 8
Member
439 posts
Helper bee

@LeahP:  My name is Leah, too!  That’s so funny that we’re both 3Ls, both hate tort law, and we are both named Leah.

I definitely had most of my thoughts about not wanting to actually practice law this summer while I was working at that firm.  Don’t get me wrong, my bosses were amazing, but I just can’t picture myself doing it.  It’s not for me.  I bet if you find a good fit for you, you won’t mind actually practicing law.

I’d love to go work for the EPA and do environmental law, but I don’t have a science background.

I imagine that I’ll end up teaching legal writing some day.  I have an MA in English, and I wanted to be a English professor.  That fell through, so I went to law school.

Post # 10
Member
439 posts
Helper bee

I’m in Florida for school, but I’m from Michigan.  We decided on Colorado because FI is a chef, and Denver/Boulder are hot cities for up and comers in the restaurant world.  I didn’t really care where we went as long as it wasn’t South Dakota.

Post # 11
Member
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2018

I graduated from law school last year took/passed the bar and am now a wedding photographer 🙂

I started the business on the side while in law school and while studying for the bar realized that’s what I really wanted to do.  The economy was in such a terrible state when we graduated that finding a legal job was really hard for me, even with really good summer job experience.

I decided to follow my passion and have never looked back!

The upside of government work is that (in most cases) you have fairly set hours and great benefits.  There’s also the option of repaying loans that’s attractive 🙂

Post # 12
Member
32 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2011

If you have any interest in the government, apply for the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) program.  You can find information here: https://www.pmf.opm.gov/ and the application (open until Oct 15th) here: http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?OPMControl=2051884

I decided that I didn’t want to practice law, but still wanted to use my law degree to develop policy for the government.  The PMF program is a great way to get into the government, and offeres a lot of advantages that the typical position does not.  It is really competitive, but def worth looking into.  It’s especially great if you’re not completely sure what you want to do as it lets you do two rotations outside of your office.

Good luck!

Post # 14
Member
32 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@LeahP – Great!  Feel free to message me if you have any questions about the program at any point.  I just started my 2nd year of the PMF program and love it!

Post # 15
Member
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I graduated from law school in June, and am waiting for bar results.  This is all great advice – I’m currently on the hunt for a job and the market is TOUGH right now.  Ugh.

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