J.D.-advantage careers in growth Industries

By Hillary Mantis

A lot of my students are curious about J.D.-advantage careers — but not exactly sure what they are.

What is a J.D.-advantage career? It’s a position that does not require bar admission, but where a law degree would be considered an asset and beneficial to the position. So, it’s an “advantage” to have a J.D., but not absolutely necessary.

For several years, J.D.-advantage jobs have been a solid alternative to more traditional positions practicing law. For example, law graduates work as legal recruiters, as personnel in the administration of law firms, in accounting firms, consulting firms and in academic administration in colleges and law schools throughout the country.

J.D.-advantage positions have become more popular in recent years. Why are these jobs so appealing? They often provide an opportunity to use legally related skills but in a totally different type of setting. For those having trouble landing a legal job, or for those why did not especially like law school, they also provide additional career options.

Some J.D.-advantage careers are also in high growth areas. One top area is in compliance. Many lawyers go into compliance. Although you do not necessarily need a law degree to go into the field, it can certainly be an advantage.

Compliance is considered an area where there has been much hiring in recent years. A background including regulatory courses or internships could be helpful in landing a post-graduate compliance job.

Legal tech is also a big growth area right now. In fact, one panelist at a bar association program who I recently heard speak on this topic, said that there are currently more J.D.-advantage types of jobs available in legal tech than people to fill them.

The intersection of law and technology is huge — as is the intersection of technology and just about every field.  Privacy law, in particular, and e-discovery are growing by necessity as our culture becomes more and more technology based.

If you like technology and are in law school, there may be ways to combine the two. Look for related courses, clinics, journals, internships, alumni functions and other opportunities, so you can get skills on your resume and hopefully make some connections before you graduate. It’s great to see new developments in law related careers, and all of the new possible career paths that come with them.

Hillary Mantis works with pre-law students, law students, and lawyers. She is director of the pre-law program at Fordham University, and author of career books, including “Alternative Careers for Lawyers.” You can reach Hillary at altcareer@aol.com