BY Hillary Mantis, Esq.
Lawyers have always been curious about alternative legal career paths, both in good economic times, and bad times. Recently, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on that topic for the New York State Bar Association, which was attended by a whopping 350 people remotely, and about 40 in person.
What are some of the hot alternative legal careers right now? And how do you find them? These questions were addressed by the panelists, lawyers who are successful in nontraditional legal careers.
Compliance: “Compliance is a really burgeoning area right now,” according to Deena Novick, CCO of Calypso Capital Management. “There’s a need for compliance professionals.” She discussed the government’s current focus on compliance issues. Novick, a college Economics major, has found that compliance has turned out to be a “good combination” of her long term interests. While it’s not an absolute requirement to have a J.D., “it helps to have a legal background,” she said. She found her first position in compliance on her law school’s job site.
Legal Information Providers: The Big Three; Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law, provide alternative legal career paths for lawyers. The two main tracks are the editor/analyst track, where you would write and edit legal content, and the marketing track, where you might train lawyers on the products, and serve as a sales representative to law firms or law schools. Adi Hermoni, COO of Sales at Bloomberg Law, found the position after graduating from law school, through networking. She started as a Sales Representative, and after holding several positions at Bloomberg, and initiating their 24-7 customer support, and “getting it off the ground,” moved up to her current position.
Business and Legal Affairs: Corporations frequently have Business and Legal Affairs departments, in which lawyers often work. Marisa Schirrick, who is in that department at MTV, in a much coveted job, found that it was a good combination of her legal background, and long-time passion for music. “I work very closely with our creative team,” she said, as well as with attorneys, publicists, and talent.
Government Affairs: George Lence, President of Nicholas & Lence Communications in New York, spoke about starting his law related career out of St. John’s law school, in a government counsel position in Albany. After holding several positions in government, as well as the private sector, he started his own communications company, where he specializes in media relations, brand development, and government and community relations.
Hillary Mantis is the author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers, and a consultant to law students and lawyers. You can write to Hillary at firstname.lastname@example.org. (To listen to the full NYSBA Alternative Legal Careers program webinar, go to www.nysba.org/LITArchivedWebcasts)