Where to look for alternative legal jobs

By Hillary Mantis

You can do just about anything with a law degree. So where do you start? If the possibilities are endless, how do you narrow them down?

While finding an alternative legal career path takes some work — self assessment to figure out your interests, resume retooling to make your credentials credible, interview practice to sound knowledgeable — there are some fields in which J.D.’s tend to flock. The key is to find web sites which specialize in the careers you are interested in, and then look for jobs in which a J.D. and legal education could be a potential asset. Here are some websites to get you started:

Education

There are many J.D.s working in the administration of law schools, in departments such as Career Services, Admissions, and Alumni Relations. Not to mention all of the J.D.’s who are teaching. I recommend checking out www.higheredjobs.com for an overview of all of the possibilities, nationwide. You will be amazed at all of the types of administrative jobs that exist in academia. Especially if you are a lawyer, applying to work in a law school (especially if it’s the school that you graduated from) can be a good fit for those seeking alternative legal careers.

Finance

Fields such as compliance are predicted to be growth industries, and many lawyers are heading towards careers in that area. While you don’t need a J.D., it can be an asset, especially if you have regulatory experience or have done internships relating to FINRA, or have taken coursework in that area. Check out web sites that are intended for business majors or MBA’s to find job listings in finance, including compliance. One that I like is www.efinancialcareers.com. A recent check of their site included several jobs in compliance. Many J.D.s have gone into other finance related career paths traditionally held by M.B.A.’s as well, so check them out.

Technology/Legal Information Providers

Like most industries, law has become increasingly reliant on technology, both to provide information and to save costs. Legal information providers such as Lexis-Nexis have provided alternative careers paths to J.D.’s looking to combine their law degrees with an interest in this field. Check out LexisNexis’s job board, jobs.lexisnexis.com, for examples of these types of jobs. I know graduates who found editorial-like positions where they are writing content, and others have found marketing or technology training positions. Does your law school have someone who comes in from an outside company and teaches students to do online legal research? Talk to them, they might be a good source of ideas and information. I also have heard from several J.D.’s that AngelList, https://angel.co/jobs is a good source of information and potential jobs at start ups.  

Although it’s fun to look at websites for alternative legal careers, don’t forget to make sure that your resume and cover letter are a good match for the job posting before you actually apply — there has to be a credible reason for an employer to call you in for an interview.

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Hillary Mantis consults with law students, pre-law students and lawyers. She is the author of Alternative Legal Careers and a Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University. You can write to Hillary at altcareer@aol.com.