Four years of undergrad, three years of law school, and however many years you’ve invested into your career. You’ve poured a lot into your path to being a lawyer, but what do you do when you realize it’s not what you want to do anymore?
Leaving the law can be scary, but there are lots of career options that use your legal training. Read on to discover the top alternative careers for lawyers and how you can get into them.
Non-Law Career Options
Just because your career started in the legal field doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. There are lots of careers that use the skills you learned in law school without you having to be a practicing lawyer.
One of the most popular alternative careers for lawyers is running a business. Many lawyers have experience running their own firms, which means they have experience with marketing, hiring, and managing business financials. You can take those same skills into any other business you’d like to run.
Even if you’re not still practicing law, your legal expertise can open job opportunities for you. Many companies are looking for content writers who have legal experience. You may be able to work on a freelance basis if you prefer or to find a full-time role in this area.
If you like writing but you don’t want to focus only on writing blog posts and articles, you might consider pursuing work as an author. You can write fiction, but you may also prefer to stick to the nonfiction side. You can write books with advice for students going through law school or for young lawyers just starting out.
Unsurprisingly, when you’ve studied laws, you may be interested in making them. Many former lawyers choose to go into politics, and some even wind up earning very high offices. Start considering if there are any local positions you might be interested in and whether you’re ready for a life in the public eye.
If you’re interested in the political world but you don’t want to live in the spotlight, you might enjoy a job as a policy advisor. Policy advisors analyze information to help develop policies and provide recommendations to the politicians proposing the laws.
If you’d like to stay involved with the legal field without actually practicing as a lawyer, being a teacher might be a good path for you. You may be able to get a job as a professor at a law school. Or if you want a full change of pace, you could teach some of the subjects you enjoyed most during your education in the lower education sector.
As a lawyer, you learn how to structure arguments and connect with people based on common ground. Those skills can also translate to mediation roles. You can help facilitate healthy, productive conversations between divorcing couples, companies going through a merger, or employers looking to foster a healthier workplace.
Your law school training also likely gave you a lot of experience with contracts and how they work. This expertise can be incredibly valuable to companies that deal in contracts on a daily basis. You could look for a job as a contract manager, handling all those documents for your company.
Many large companies, especially in highly regulated industries, have a lot of standards they have to follow. They often employ compliance officers responsible for making sure they adhere to all those regulations. Your background as a lawyer could make you a perfect fit for the role.
Why Are You Leaving the Law?
When you start considering an alternative career, the first question to ask yourself is why you’re leaving the law. The legal profession can be incredibly demanding and stressful, and you may have decided that it’s just not the world for you. If this is the case, finding an alternate career path may be the right move for you.
But if you’re considering leaving law because your firm is struggling, there are other options you can try to bring in more clients. Working with a new marketing firm can help give you the boost you need. LawRank provides legal marketing that works.
Can You Leave the Law?
Often, attorneys looking at leaving the legal field are worried about if they can afford to do so. As counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s a good idea to sit down and think through the worst-case scenario if you quit your law job. Knowing the worst that could happen can help you to make contingency plans and feel more confident in taking this leap.
Think through the absolute worst way things might reasonably go after you leave your job – you can’t find another one, your old firm won’t take you back, and you have bills to pay. Think about what you’ll do in each of these scenarios and what your plans will be. If you can’t find a job in your first pick field, have a second and a third; if your firm won’t take you back, think about which professional connections you could tap for job opportunities.
Picking a New Career Field
The next thing you’ll need to do is decide which career field you’d like to go into. This process is similar to the one you went through when you first decided to go to law school, but this time you’ll have the benefit of more life experience!
Start by asking yourself what you enjoy learning about and what you’d like to become an expert in. Think about what you’d like your life to look like every day and what’s going to offer you the kind of income you need to support the lifestyle you’d like to lead. It may also be helpful to think about your overall life goals and what you would like your legacy to be when you retire.
How to Find These Jobs
Once you’ve decided which of these alternate careers you’d like to pursue, it’s time to start the job hunt. Of course, sites like Indeed and LinkedIn are excellent places to start looking for opportunities. But taking advantage of your existing network can make the job hunt an easier process.
Talk to any professional connections you may have in the new field you plan to pursue. Let them know you’re looking at a career change and ask if they know about any opportunities opening soon. Just make sure to use any necessary discretion until you let your old firm know about your planned departure.
Give Your Firm a Refresh
The legal industry can be demanding, exhausting, and overwhelming. If you decide to leave it, there are a lot of career options available that use the skills you learned in law school. Just make sure you’ve thought through your decision and worked out contingency plans for the worst-case scenario.
If your law firm needs a boost, LawRank wants to help. Reach out to us today to start getting transparency and results from your digital marketing firm.