What is a J.D. advantage career?

In recent years, the number of recent law graduates taking J.D. advantage jobs is considered to have grown. There are probably two reasons for this: a competitive job market in which J.D. grads have had trouble finding traditional legal jobs, and the long term desire of many recent law grads to go into alternative legal careers.

In fact, almost 15 percent of the Class of 2014 accepted a J.D. Advantage job, according to NALP.

So, what is a J.D. advantage career?

Typically, a J.D. advantage career is a position in which the employer is seeking an individual who has a J.D., but the position itself does not  require admission to the bar or a law license. These are law related positions in which knowledge of the law is part of the job, but the job itself does not require bar admission. In other words, your J.D. would provide a strong advantage in performing the duties of the job. If it would be unusual for a person holding a J.D. to work in the field, it would not generally fall into the J.D. advantage category

Given the uptick in J.D. advantage jobs, what are some of the positions typically open to recent law school graduates? There are many possibilities.

Here are a few, to get you started:

  • Contracts Administrator (often seen in corporations or government)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist (such as a Mediator or Arbitrator)
  • Regulatory Analyst (often in government)
  • Compliance Analyst (often in banks, or in government)
  • Law firm Administrator (typically in the Legal Recruitment or Professional Development departments)
  • Law School Administrator (often in the Career Services, Student Affairs or Admissions offices)
  • Legal Editor or Legal Writer
  • Management Consultant

J.D. advantage careers, as you can see, can be found throughout the business sector, government, and the public interest arena. Once you start to look, you will find more possibilities. There are definitely plusses and minuses involved in taking a J.D. Advantage position, so do your research before making a decision.


Hillary Mantis consults with law students, lawyers and pre-law students. She is a Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University, and the author of career books, including Alternative Careers for Lawyers. For more information, you can contact Hillary at altcareer@aol.com.