All law students are aware that they can become lawyers a couple of different ways. You can work hard and take the risk, tolerable or not, of setting up your own practice. You can work hard and compete for law jobs with private law practices or corporate law departments. But there are some other law career choices, too.
For those fresh out of law school, the government publishes their Occupational Outlook Handbook each year, and this year has some interesting options for legal careers.
1. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators — professionals who help resolve conflicts outside the courts. Many contracts, in almost all fields, now specify that arbitration must be the first step to solving disputes. You can enter this lucrative and interesting field with as little as a bachelor’s degree, but your JD positions you to command higher fees. Median pay is around $65K. Career growth looks like about 10% through 2022, about as much as most occupations.
2. Court reporter may not be everyone’s cup of tea, as the work is arduous, sometimes tedious. Your job is to create word-for-word transcripts of legal proceedings like depositions or trials. median pay is about $50K. You’ll probably need post-secondary certification. This law Job’s outlook is good, with the government forecasting a 10% growth rate in the next eight years.
3. Interestingly, you could become a judge. While most judges have legal degrees along with law experience, there are some magistrates, hearing officers, and administrative law judges whose positions only require a bachelor’s degree. Pay is in the neighborhood of $89K to $120K, depending on the type of position and the qualifications. Unfortunately, the growth rate for such positions will likely remain pretty flat.
4. Legal technology is a brilliant option If you have a passion for geekdom. You might parlay your degree into a lucrative career as a legal technology consultant and command just about as much of an hourly rate as an attorney might get. The job? Use your software proficiency and hardware knowledge to train law staffs, assist lawyers to set up their computer system, consult on e-billing and e-consulting. You’ll need to be totally knowledgeable about spreadsheets, computers, telecommunications, databases, research software, and so forth.
If you yearn for the full-time attorney gig, then, by all means, polish up your credentials and go for it. But clicking a few of the links above might give you a creative path to your new career alternative.